Bloomberg slams the brakes on the Apple TV rumor train

September 6, 2012, 11:40 AM UTC

FORTUNE — Apple (AAPL) analysts who had been counting on a new revenue stream in 2012 from sales of an Apple-branded TV set — and believe it or not, there were some — have two reasons to take another look at their spreadsheets.

1. Bloomberg on Thursday joined the Wall Street Journal in reporting that Apple’s talks with the cable companies and content providers have hit an impasse. Steve Jobs often said that access to live television and the movies and TV shows that viewers most want to see are key to developing a disruptive TV product. Those things aren’t coming any time soon, and without them, according to Bloomberg’s unnamed “person familiar with the company’s plans… Apple won’t be releasing a new TV product this year.”

2. Like the Journal — and most of the analysts we’ve been quoting for more than a year (see below) — the product Bloomberg’s source is talking about isn’t a television set at all. Rather, it’s a successor to the $99 Apple TV whose praises Tim Cook keeps singing. Could it be, as Asymco‘s Horace Dediu wondered aloud in a Critical Path podcast last spring, that Apple’s disruptive TV product is already here, right under our noses, “hiding in plain sight?”

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