updated 12:05 pm EDT, Wed March 27, 2013
Supply seen as major obstacle
Apple's long-anticipated TV set will use a 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160) panel, according to supply chain sources reached by DigiTimes. The sometimes-accurate trade paper says that Apple and its main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, have been in talks for some time about the TV's production schedule. Apple, though, has reportedly been worrying about where to get panels from, since Ultra HD suppliers are predicted to be working at nearly full capacity in 2013 just to meet demand from China-based TV vendors.
Other suppliers that might have the capacity to make Ultra HD panels are expected to be devoting most of their efforts to producing iPhone, iPad, and iPad mini panels instead. Apple is nevertheless said to be counting on LG Display to be able to mass-produce Ultra HD parts by the second half of 2013. If LG succeeds, DigiTimes suggests that an Apple TV could ship by the end of the year, but argues a more realistic date is early 2014.
The website has a mixed track record with Apple rumors. One unmentioned problem is that 4K TVs are still extremely expensive, costing tens of thousands of dollars. Apple could help solve that by entering mass production and/or eating some of the cost, but would still face the issue of a lack of 4K content. The format has yet to be standardized, and only a relatively handful of movies have been remastered at that resolution.