Apple Reportedly Investigating Television Set Components as Anticipation Builds

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, whose long-standing claims of an Apple television set have been gaining steam in recent months as new rumors have surfaced in support of the idea, issued a research note late yesterday (via AppleInsider) discussing some new developments with Apple's work. Specifically, Munster notes that he had recent discussion with a "major TV component supplier" which disclosed that Apple had contacted the company to inquire about their products. The disclosure adds another data point to rumors from Asian supply chains that Apple has been working on a television set. The relevant portion of Munster's report is quoted by Barron's:

In Jan-12 we spoke with a major TV component supplier who has been contacted by Apple regarding various capabilities of their television display components. We see this as continued evidence that Apple is exploring production of a television. This latest data point follows Jan-11 meetings in Asia that led us to believe Apple was investing in manufacturing facilities for LCD displays ranging from 3.5″ mobile displays to 50″ television displays. In Sept-11 we met with a contact close to an Asian supplier who indicated that prototypes of an Apple Television are in the works. We believe TV hardware could be ready for a late CY12 launch, but the timeline and scope of a revamped content solution is more uncertain.

Observers have been looking for Apple's next major product line even as the iPad and iPhone experience booming sales and the Mac continues its resurgence with long-standing steady growth easily outpacing that of the overall PC industry. The rumor mill clicked into high gear on the topic of an Apple television set with Steve Jobs' disclosure in his authorized biography that he had "finally cracked" how to revolutionize television technology.

apple tv favorite tv shows
Rumors have since focused on an integrated television set involving iTunes and iCloud and controlled via Siri voice technology. One report has claimed that Apple design chief Jony Ive has a 50-inch Apple television set prototype in his design lab, although various sources have at different times claimed a wide range of sizes for Apple's TV set, from 32 inches to over 50 inches.

Sources seems to suggest that Apple is shooting for a launch of its television set later this year or early next year. What remains unknown is whether Apple will be able to make any revolutionary changes on the content side within that timeframe. The company has made several efforts to work with content providers on ideas such as "best of TV" packages that would be made available through iTunes and enable users to in some cases eliminate their cable television subscriptions, but the company has reportedly made little progress in those negotiations.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

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Top Rated Comments

HarryKeogh Avatar
161 months ago
Will it have a rear-facing camera?
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
M-O Avatar
161 months ago
i think Apple should start talking with car manufacturers, just to watch the rumors pour in.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
topmounter Avatar
161 months ago
what next... an iRefrigerator?



+1 huge sack of meh
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Luap Avatar
161 months ago
Hopefully this additional product will not put any additional pressure on Foxconn employees. They're close to the edge as it is.

Christ... Here we go with the "Lets post for the sakes of posting!!!!!" brigade.
:rolleyes:

At least try to keep it on topic..
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
edoates Avatar
161 months ago
"Replacing Cable Subscriptions ..."

The biggest obstacle to Apple (or NetFlix or HULU or anyone else) replacing cable or directv subscriptions is a combination of content (that's a licensing issue that could be overcome) and bandwidth limitations, which I consider the most serious.

Assume such new TVs are to be High Definition (at least 1080i60, but better 1080p60; p30 or p24 would be OK, too), most if not all ISPs have monthly limitations on download volumes. My Comcast is 250GB. So if you just dump cable or directv and try to watch content using Internet streaming or downloads only, you will likely exceed your allocation quickly. And at least Comcast's punishment is to ban you from their service for at least a year after one warning. And they have NO residential service that provide more data allocation. You might be able to buy a business internet connection, but I don't know what their restrictions on that are (user agreement, etc.)

Certainly, if the bandwidth allocation nut can be cracked, and true HD at BluRay quality can be provided, and lots of content can be rented or purchased for multiple views (and stored in cloud or on your personal Hard Drive... like iTunes music can be), then physical media is pretty much dead except for business and small scale (wedding, school plays et al) video.

But until that happens, many will continue to get their higher quality video via cable / directv / optical media, augmented from time to time with internet provided video from Apple / Netflix / Hulu et al.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dashiel Avatar
161 months ago
There are so many significant problems with an iTV. How do you elegantly solve the problem of obsolescence? Imagine trying to run iOS 5 on the 4 year old iPhone1, now imagine trying to run iOS8 on a 7 year old iPhone 1. People simply don’t upgrade their televisions frequently enough. You’ve got removable “brains” like Samsung is going to do, but that seems inelegant and fraught with problems. There’s the iPad/iPhone as brain, but that too introduces problems both technical and positioning.

The far larger problem though is an iTV forced to deal with Cable/Satellite providers doesn’t solve the problem of television. An iTunes subscription deal doesn’t solve the problem of live television.

Unless Apple has something big planned and can whip a few Cable/Satellite companies inline like they did with cell phone operators I can’t see an iTV being successful.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)