Edgar Allen Poe wrote a fairly entertaining story back in December 1844 called The Purloined Letter. In the story, a stolen letter is sought after by the Police and they search a room belonging to the suspect for the letter, looking behind every picture frame, underneath every object. The thief, knowing that the Police would be searching for something hidden, left the letter in plain sight because he knew they would be blind to it in their search.
If we look at Apple's recent product update event, we saw two things of particular interest.
The first is that they brought forward the typical iPad refresh forward from the Spring when it has historically happened, into the Fall. On the historical Apple event calendar this now creates a gap in the release cycle next year, as according to previous events, the next typical Apple product update is OSX in the summer.
The second item of interest is that the iMac received a very dramatic update:
The iMac has been made ultra-thin; apparently by as much as 80% thinner. It's a beautiful piece of engineering and design; something worthy of hanging on a wall perhaps? While that is a dramatic engineering feat of its own right, the secondary thing of interest to note is that the Thunderbolt display which would seem to share much of the component and chassis characteristics of the iMac did not receive an update.
The Thunderbolt display, essentially a fancy monitor, could be redundant in a post Apple Television world. It happens to already be the most TV-like device Apple makes. Choosing not to update it, then, would make sense - if you intended to do something dramatic in the Spring, something dramatic that you just happened to have created room for by bringing the iPad refresh forward in the update cycle.
I believe that the new iMac chassis could well be a pre-cursor to the design and shape of an Apple Television, which will be released in the Spring of 2013. I believe it contains, at the very least, the DNA of this new Apple endeavour.
Time will tell if Apple have hidden their next direction in plain sight.