In all the hubbub over the latest iPad and the increasing rumors about the next iPhone, it's almost easy to forget that there have been rumors flying for several months that Apple had their very own HDTV set in the works.
The release date for the iTV, as it's usually called (though that's not likely to be its final name), has been very much in question. Early reports late last year suggested a launch date sometime in the third quarter of 2012. While other dates have been rumored, the general consensus has tended to uphold a third quarter timeframe. Now, though, that may be in doubt. Asian research firm CLSA recently published a note to their clients suggesting that the iTV would not be coming until 2013. Business Insider got their hands on a summary of the note, which you can read below:
We continue to view Apple TV hardware as a 2013 event. The timing of Hon Hai/Foxconn's equity stake and partnership with Sharp along with Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou's separate 46.5% investment in Sharp's Sakai City plant lends further credibility that Apple TV is in the works. This also follows reports that Apple is investing ~$1.3bn in equipment destined for Sharp facilities. The fact that Hon Hai is investing rather than just procuring panels from Sharp underscores a deeper level of integration which Apple/Hon Hai are accustomed to, increased reliability as Sharp has struggled with iPad3 qualification, and an effort to improve Sharp's financial position before becoming a more meaningful supplier to Apple. We also believe Corning has an 83% market share at the Sakai facility and would ultimately benefit from improving utilization that is expected to happen over time. Sharp accounted for 10% of Corning's overall sales and 25% of its display sales in 2011
Most clients agree that a TV is coming; the critical question becomes how the video providers fit into the equation and how apple's offering would/could differ from current tv's beyond ios/icloud. Biggest commentary yesterday centered on LG Display as the big loser.
There have been rumors of an iTV for years, ever since Apple launched the second generation Apple TV in 2010. Much like the fabled iPad Mini, though, those rumors have never actually amounted to anything. In Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, though, it was revealed that the iTV was one of the last things Jobs worked on at Apple before he died, and Jobs told Isaacson that he had finally "cracked it." Since then it has become increasingly clear that Apple really does have an iTV in the works.
While rumors about the iTV's size, features, and availability are plentiful, there are few firm details as yet. Given how little is known about the iTV and where Apple is in the process of development, a third quarter 2012 release date isn't really more or less likely than a 2013 release date at this point.
What do you think? Would you like to see an iTV in time for the 2012 holiday season? What features would you like to see? Let us know in the comments.