According to Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, the Apple CEO had planned on bringing an Apple-branded TV to market which would fall into line with the company’s mantra: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”
Now various reports are suggesting that Sharp will be providing the panels for said TV with the product possibly arriving as soon as the middle of 2012. According to an analyst at research firm Jefferies, Sharp is retooling a production line at one of its plants in Sakai in Japan to produce the LCD panels.
The retooled plant will specifically be set up to produce “modified amorphous TFT LCD panels” according to analyst Peter Misek. He suggests that all going well, the panel could go into commercial production in February 2012 with the so-called iTV available towards the middle of the year.
Misek told AllThingsD that despite this new information, the industry is still in the dark over what form the Apple-produced TV will take. “Based on our discussions, interestingly other TV manufacturers have begun a scrambling search to identify what iTV will be and do. They hope to avoid the fate of other industries and manufacturers who were caught flat footed by Apple.”
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Apple is actually investing in Sharp’s panel manufacturing factories in Japan – though how much it is investing is unclear. but it won't be just the TV panels Sharp may be producing for Apple.
According to a source quoted by the WSJ, Apple’s next iPad is expected in 2012 with Sharp’s Kameyama No. 2 plant in central Japan set to produce the LCD panels for the updated tablet – as well as for the next iPhone.Currently South Korean manufacturer Samsung supplies a lot of the components for the current gen iPad and iPhone including memory chips and LCD panels. The reported move towards Sharp comes as Apple’s legal battle with Samsung escalates globally over acquisitions of copying in relation to Samsung’s smartphones and tablet - and vice versa.
Samsung has declined to comment on the reports of Apple diversifying its display suppliers.
Is an Apple TV something which would be interested in purchasing? What would you want from such a TV? Let us know in the comments.