Apple has begun testing high-resolution television set designs with manufacturing partners in Asia, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal that cites unnamed sources within Foxconn. Both Foxconn and display manufacturer Sharp are said to be involved in the process, which is still in its early stages.
“It isn’t a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing,” of the people told The Journal. What’s more, they say Apple has been testing TV prototypes “for a number of years” — first internally inside its Cupertino campus, and then with its suppliers. It suggests the plans may soon be nearing fruition as Apple looks to make its mark on our living rooms.
Apple competitors such as Google are also “toying around” with software for televisions and set-top boxes, the report notes. But none are yet to gain any real traction. If Apple’s set finally does make it to market, it would make its rivalry with Samsung, currently the world’s biggest TV maker, even greater.
Foxconn has been worming its way into the television market in an effort to capitalize upon its recent investment in Sharp. Back in July, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou took a 37.6% stake in a Sharp LCD factory in Sakai, Japan. Under the new deal, Foxconn will receive up to half of the panels manufactured at the plant.
The Journal notes that Apple could could choose not to pursue its plans for a television, though right now, that’s looking increasingly unlikely. In a recent interview with NBC News, company CEO Tim Cook said that TV is “an area of intense interest” for Apple.
Apple already produces a TV product in the Apple TV, of course. But this has always been a “hobby” that, while steadily becoming more popular, has never really taken off like other Apple products.
Source: The Wall Street Journal.