UPDATE: My theory (see below) was discussed on CNet's Buzz Out Loud Podcast on Friday, September 29th. You can download the entire podcast here or you can use Podzinger to jump to the section that discusses the iTV/iPhone combo. Click the link and then click on the section that says "0:25:34" to start playing at that point.
I think I cracked the code:
So Apple will release the iTV in January 2007 with this mysterious 802.11, which will most likely be N, but they'll include a clause buried in the Terms of Service (because nobody pays attention to those) that says they have the right to transmit wireless data to the internet connection and back out. The clause won't seem that interesting at the time and they'll sell millions of these things (especially since the $299 price includes a hard drive). This will be a big incentive for people to upgrade to N and will create a network of Apple brand, high speed wireless nodes throughout residential areas.
THEN, in Q3 or Q4 they will release the long awaited iPhone, except they'll bypass the whole question of having to partner with a cellular carrier and create the iChat phone that uses wireless nodes. Urban and commercial districts tend to already have a decent amount of WiFi, and now they will have access to your internet connection through the millions of iTVs in residential areas, which could actually make the service broad enough (especially in densely populated areas, always the beachheads for this type of service) for early adopters to make calls.
Granted this is all speculation and I have no evidence except the presentation of iTV including 802.11 and the perpetual rumors of an iPhone combined with the fact that Apple likes to move into emerging markets, rather than established ones (think of the MP3 player market when they introduced the first iPod). However, the real question to ask yourself when evaluating this theory is: Would you buy one? I would.