Apple Inc. (AAPL) Turning iDevices into TV Remotes?

Apple Inc.Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has been aggressive in developing a full fleet, or platoon, of devices  that puts the power of computers in people’s hands – or even pockets. And there has been a lot of speculation that Apple Inc. (AAPL) was going to upgrade its current Apple TV set-top box into full-fledged television. Was it going to be a TV set of its own or a service working through cable providers (talks with cable companies have been going in earnest for a few months now, though there seem to be no results forthcoming)?

How about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) developing a TV remote control? There is one analyst who tries to establish the case that Apple Inc. (AAPL) may already have the devices and tools in place that a remote control … might just be that device that rings in a pocket.

Ben Reitzes of Barclays writes, “We believe Apple has more control to expand the total addressable market for its iPhones and iPads than its competitors given its vertically integrated business model. For example, the company can easily add new features and capabilities to its touch screen devices through software updates – and leverage Apps made by others – to expand the utility of its devices.”

One way Reitzes suggests this is to use Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones and some apps to turn a device into a digital credit card for secure payments. But what about something easier – perhaps using the upcoming iPad Mini?

“We believe the big secret about Apple’s TV strategy is not the TV itself – it’s about selling the remotes,” Reitzes wrote. “Currently, the new iPad can send content to a TV wirelessly via AirPlay if that TV has an Apple TV attached. … We believe Apple (AAPL) should really evolve this vision further with iPads acting as a ‘central command’ for the digital home.”

The first step could be easy – current owners of an Apple TV could soon use the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad as a remote control for the device while also being a chief computing and communicating device. If every U.S. home needed to have an iPad to use as a ‘command center’ or TV remote, one could argue that Apple could add hundreds of millions of units to [the] TAM,” Reitzes wrote.

Something to think about for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and for investors like billionaire fund manager David Einhorn of Greenlight Capital.