Video display chipmaker gets big share boost on the back of Apple TV rumor

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Shares in the Oregon-based Pixelworks, which designs and produces semiconductors for superior digital-video displays, have surged on the back of reports that the company could be working on Apple’s long-awaited TV set.

According to a research analyst for Seeking Alpha, Apple accounted for 14 percent of Pixelworks’ first-quarter revenue this year, and the company may be using its latest Iris graphics chips — which provide “two to four times the pixels and quality of current offerings while drawing less power” — in its next generation iPad and iPhone 6 devices.

That’s not the most exciting possibility according to Seeking Alpha, though, which states that Pixelworks has obtained mass-production qualifications for a system-on-chip designed for larger screen devices, being developed with an unnamed partner. Pixelworks CEO Bruce Walicek recently claimed that his company is working on a significantly large project to develop a high-tech display, which could turn out to be the Apple TV.

Pixelworks first disclosed its relationship with Apple this March. While Apple hasn’t officially announced a TV set, rumors have circulated for years — largely dating back to the comments made in Walter Isaacson’s authorized Steve Jobs bio, that Jobs had finally “cracked” the integrated TV interface before he died. However, in this year’s Apple book Haunted Empire, former Wall Street Journal reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane quoted Jobs as saying that, “TV is a terrible business [because] they don’t turn over and the margins suck.”

Earlier this year, a report from the South Korea-based Korea Herald stated that an “unnamed” South Korean display manufacture was making 65-inch organic light emitting diode (OLED) panel samples for Apple’s proposed “iTV,” which were expected “be mass-produced next year.” Even this optimistic report was countered by a get-out clause, though, since IBK Securities analyst Lee Seung-woo noted that, “[I]t is not certain whether Apple will use it for the mass production of its long-rumored iTV as it is still running tests.”

Either way, the Seeking Alpha report has resonated enough with investors to result in a 14.87 percent increase on share prices, with stock up 91 percent overall this year. Although this news should still be taken with a pinch of salt.

  • Atmospheric Music

    Oh wow, if they actually make TV’s.. Just think of the price.

About the author

Luke DormehlLuke Dormehl is a UK-based journalist and author, with a background working in documentary film for Channel 4 and the BBC. He is the author of The Formula: How Algorithms Solve All Our Problems, And Create More and The Apple Revolution, both published by Penguin/Random House. His tech writing has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, Techmeme, and other publications. He'd like you a lot if you followed him on Twitter.

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