by Anton Shilov
12/12/2012 | 02:32 PM
While it is not a secret that Apple is working on own-brand TV-set, the progress of the development is completely unclear. If some analysts expected the first Apple televisions to hit the market in late 2012, the company continues to test various designs of the forthcoming products, according to a new report.
Apple is working with “component suppliers”, presumably with Foxconn Technology Group, to test several designs for television sets, people familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal. Foxconn has been collaborating with Sharp Corp. on the design of the new television for a number of months, something which may mean that the TV-set from Apple will utilize screens based on IGZO technology.
"It is not a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing," one of the sources is reported to have said.
It is noteworthy that this is not the first report about Apple’s “testing” of the forthcoming televisions; hence, the actual stage of development is completely unclear. The company is known for designing multiple versions of its products and testing them internally, before crafting the final version that will be available commercially. As it appears, Apple has been testing TV prototypes for several years now.
This year Foxconn gained partial control of Sharp’s TV panel plant in Japan and is rumoured to acquire TV assembly factories from the company in different parts of the world. Theoretically, Foxconn may be interested in panels as well as production capacities to make TVs for its largest client. At the same time, it is not a secret that Foxconn also makes TVs for other companies, including Vizio, hence, its interest in appropriate manufacturing capacities may not be Apple-related.
After Steve Jobs himself announced plans for an Apple TV-set family, it makes no sense to deny that the company is working on one. However, in its usual manner, Apple never discusses any kind of details about its products before they are launched commercially. One of the things that have been confirmed is that Foxconn Electronics, Apple’s main contract manufacturer, had started to make preparations to produce iTV products. In fact, Foxconn is in talks to acquire Sharp's TV assembly lines in several countries.
Nobody knows what exactly is Apple TV-set and how competitive it will be in the light of emerging smart TVs with stereo-3D support and other technologies like cloud video game streaming. Like a lot of Apple's products, it may become a major success for the company and will transform the whole market of TV-sets.
One of the main features of Apple's television set is projected to be an ability to quickly search for content from numerous sources, including Apple's own iTunes. Given the fact that the user experience should be integrated, this feature alone presents a number of challenges. In order to provide unique capabilities and simplicity, Apple TV will likely integrate iCloud, Siri along with motion sensing support for content sharing and control purposes. In a bid to be able to control the TV using iPhone, iPad or iPod, the TV will be compatible with Apple's AirPlay technology.
The main intrigue behind Apple’s TV-set is when does the company plans to finally roll it out.