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Apple testing 'a few' TV designs, but may not move ahead

updated 09:41 am EST, Wed December 12, 2012

Sources say product is still in 'early stage of testing'

Apple is testing a few designs for a large-sized TV set, according to supply chain sources reached by the Wall Street Journal. Unlike many similar reports, though, one source warns that Apple may or may not put a TV into production. "It isn't a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing," the person says.

The Journal indicates that Apple's recent efforts have concentrated on collaborating with Sharp. The latter company has been struggling financially in the past couple of years, but at least partly because of this has become closely tied to Hon Hai (a.k.a. Foxconn), Apple's main manufacturing partner. Foxconn has a 37.6 percent stake in the operator of Sharp's Sakai LCD plant. Apple itself, meanwhile, is rumored to have invested as much as $2.3 billion to keep Sharp going, though the short-term interest is believed to be maintaining a supply of panels for iOS devices.

Perhaps signaling that Apple is serious about a TV is a recent comment by CEO Tim Cook. "When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years," he told NBC. "It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."

by MacNN Staff




  1. Zanziboy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-27-08

    Apple and Hon Hai's investment in Sharp may be only a secondary indicator of Apple TV development. Sharp stock has proven to be a great value considering the products manufactured by Hon Hai and Apple. While Apple sees high LCD demand for its current iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Macintosh product lines, Hon Hai also needs LCD's for a wide range of products including Vizio televisions.

    According to a Taiwanese newspaper, market surveys released in October report that Vizio-brand 60-inch LED TV is out-selling other brands in its class. The new TV is assembled by Hon Hai and is equipped with a flat panel manufactured by Sakai Display Product (a recent Hon Hai-funded, Japan-based joint venture with Sharp). Thanks to the investment in Sharp, Vizio has replaced Samsung as the top selling brand in the 60-inch class of televisions.

  1. SockRolid

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 01-21-10

    Don't hold your breath waiting for an Apple-branded TV set. Content providers are looking at the music industry and saying "That must never happen to us." The movie and TV studios are still in a position of power: they own the content, and pirating simply isn't hurting them enough to force them to do whatever Apple wants them to do. (Not yet anyway.)

    Also, Apple won't go through existing cable / satellite / over-the-air networks. I doubt they'd want to just become "The Apple Channel" on DirecTV, for example. I'd expect Apple to leapfrog the traditional delivery methods and go all-iCloud, with no DVR-style recording at home. And that means users will need tons of bandwidth. Both wired and wireless. Wired bandwidth is almost there, at least in major urban areas. Wireless not so much.

    The cell carriers will do at least two things to try and maximize profits: 1. charge by usage, and 2. obscure the fact that "real 4G" will combine voice and data into a single internet packet stream. They'll charge big users more (not a new tactic) and try to charge users for separate voice and data plans even though voice and data will be crunched down into the exact same packetized-data format. It will be interesting to see what happens when 4G is rolled out. (By the way, LTE isn't 4G. Its full name is "3rd Generation Partnership Project Long Term Evolution," and it's the last gasp of the 3G protocol.)

    Just those two obstacles (passive-aggresive content providers, profit-mongering foot-dragging cell carriers) could take Apple years to overcome. It's all further proof that the hardware is the easiest part. The OS + app ecosystem is vastly harder. And services + content is the hardest of all. Ask Google about Google TV. They'll agree.

  1. blahblahbber


    Joined: 02-01-05

    I bought a bunch of shares of Sharp when it was at two.... and it's still a bargain. Qualcomm along with other companies have invested in Sharp because they are essential to the ecosystem especially to hi rez, new tech type panels. Sharp just released a new smartphone that reveals the true essence of their power-saving panels. They have FULL HD (hate bs marketing too) in a 5" format, which is very impressive. So yeah, get in while you can!

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