Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

David Zax

A View from David Zax

Apple Testing TV Designs

WSJ reports Apple to be in an early stage of testing with Foxconn and Sharp.

  • December 12, 2012

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is collaborating with component suppliers to test TV set designs. Though rumors have long been sprouting about an Apple television set in the blogosphere, a Journal report has a different pedigree. As The Verge puts it, it’s “often the first sign that Apple is serious about a new product.” Still, one of the WSJ’s sources cautions: “It isn’t a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing.”

Reportedly Hon Hai, the parent company of Foxconn, is collaborating with Sharp on the TV set design. Foxconn and Sharp already have close ties, with the chairman of the former having taken a large stake in a Sharp LCD factory back in July (that factory is “particularly suitable for making LCD panels 60 inches or larger for TV sets,” notes the Journal). Apple’s M.O. is usually to test products internally first, then begin collaborating with suppliers later. Still, cautions the Journal, Apple might “decide not to proceed with the large-screen set.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken to the airwaves of late to suggest, through half-closed lips, a heightened interest in TV (see “Made in USA: Your Mac?”). He has said of the current set-top Apple TV that it’s more of a “hobby,” suggesting larger ambitions in the TV space might come later. And he told NBC News that taking a deeper look at transforming TV is “an area of intense interest.” 

The real challenge for Apple getting into the TV space has much more to do with negotiating with content providers, and relatively little to do with hardware, of course (see “The Gordian Knot of Television”.) The Journal also reported on an uptick in Apple’s talks with media partners as much as a year ago.

To conquer the living room could be an extremely lucrative proposition for Apple–or its competitors. A recent report from Goldman Sachs explained why the living room was likely to be a next frontier for Apple. An average 46-inch set costs three times that of a smartphone, and though TV’s turn over less readily than a smartphone, a TV purchase could actually determine other future gadget purchases, since consumers will likely want their phones and tablets to match their TV. A TV could be something of a flagship, indeed, for an entire family’s technology choices; a head of a household buying an Apple TV might be influencing all of her children to buy iPhones for years to come (see “Your iPad Could Be Your TV”).

Cut off? Read unlimited articles today.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Plus.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.