For a device like this, I believe Apple might change their policy and attend CES, but they're not going to CES until they know exactly what they're going to sell. And they would do their own usual announcement first. So, IMO, there is no way Apple attends January 2013 CES. The reason why I think Apple would attend CES is because they sell through every retailer they can find today in spite of the success of the Apple Stores and the amount of business Apple does online.
While there's nothing wrong with 46" and 55" as part of a lineup, those are too small to constitute a complete lineup. Especially as bezel sizes decrease, consumers are moving towards larger and larger sets. Although priced at $25K, Sony just released an 84" 4K display. 65" is becoming a very standard size from all manufacturers.
I agree with others who feel that Apple has to release something totally different than what's in the market today. In fact, in spite of the good quality of their computer and portable device displays, I think Apple should not release anything until they can move to the next generation of technology. Therefore, they should skip LCD completely and wait for new display tech.
IMO, an Apple set would have to include the following:
- a groundbreaking new UI that includes all media sources, including OTA, cable, satellite, Apple's content competitors on the net, Apple TV, etc. Part of that might be a live visual display of what's playing on different channels.
- 4K support (even though there's no content yet, except for the box that Sony is supplying with their 84" set)
- automatic customized picture calibration of the display based on the home environment
- easy control of external devices that goes beyond the confusing HDMI control of today (Recievers, Blu-ray players, etc.)
- can be controlled by virtually any wireless device.
- easier searching for content on YouTube, etc.
- built-in Apple Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- easy, built-in program recording
- No bezel whatsoever (or the most minimum bezel they can manage)
- Easy wall mounting, preferably with an Apple designed mount that's far thinner than existing mounts.
- high-quality built-in sound (although this is generally an Apple weakness across their current product line)
- None of the artifacts associated with current tech: no burn-in, dead pixels, dirty screen syndrome, horizontal or vertical blocks or lines, inconsistent screen brightness, blooming, etc.
And even if they included all of the above, I'm not sure that would be enough for consumers to switch to an Apple device from a relatively low priced Samsung and the like. Also, if Sony and Panasonic lose money on every TV they sell, how is Apple going to keep their usual large margins and make a better TV at the same time?
My fear is that the Apple TV is going to be a middle-of-the-line generic TV wrapped in a really nice case with Apple TV embedded and nothing more. IMO, aside from the usual Apple fanboys, such a set would be a failure in the marketplace unless it was priced lower than the equivalent Samsung.