As with all the current crop of Apple television rumors, take this with a huge grain of salt, but the Wall Street Journal has a new report that indicates Apple may be working with its Asian manufacturing partners to develop the high-def TV set they’re supposedly working on. If true, it means the rumored Apple TV is coming, but not for awhile yet, since mass production hasn’t even started yet.
The WSJ sources quoted in the article say that Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. – a.k.a. Foxconn – and the Japanese display maker Sharp Corp. have been working on designs for Apple’s TV for several months now, but everything is still far from being ready for prime time; the product is apparently “still in the early stage of testing.”
The fact that Apple is testing their television prototypes with outside suppliers is a sign that the project is more advanced than some may have believed, however. Apple generally tests all their new products internally, at their own facilities in California, before they begin the outsourcing process, so the fact that Sharp and Foxconn are involved at this point means the Apple TV might not be too far away after all. It also isn’t a guarantee that the product will actually make it to market, though; Apple has scrapped projects at a similar stage of development before, and apparently they’ve been trying to come up with their own TV plans for several years now without much success.
Either way, the smart TV market is certainly heating up. Google is also trying to get involved in the living room battle, albeit in the form of a set-top box like the current Apple TV, rather than by making their own TV. Samsung is heavily invested in the TV market too, with both regular HDTVs and the new crop of internet-enabled smart TVs. An Apple entry into the TV market would make the rivalry between Apple and Samsung even more ferocious, and might have implications in the ongoing legal battle between the two.
One thing is for sure: 2013 will be an interesting year for televisions in general. From the rise of 4K resolution as a consumer technology, to the continuing advancement of larger OLED panels that will be suitable for full-size TVs, to the aforementioned smart TV battle that may or may not involve Apple, there’s a whole lot of new stuff on the horizon when it comes to your living room display devices.