Just yesterday I reported that Apple will be building a full fledge TV in contradiction to a Jean-Louis Gassée piece on his Mondaynote blog. In that piece I stated that Apple will definitely be building a TV set because it’s the only way that they can deliver the level of innovation to make the device a revolutionary product.
Today, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that their sources in Asia are reporting that Apple has been working with Hon Hai Precision Industry and Japan’s Sharp Corp in designing a large screen HD TV.
According to the report:
[quote] Apple is working with component suppliers in Asia to test several TV-set designs, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting the U.S. company is moving closer to expanding its offerings for the living room.
Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has been working on testing a few designs for a large-screen high-resolution TV.
Two people said Hon Hai Precision Industry which assembles the iPhone and iPad, has been collaborating with Japan’s Sharp on the design of the new television.
“It isn’t a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing,” said one of the people.
Apple, which works with suppliers to test new designs all the time, has been testing various TV prototypes for a number of years, according to people familiar with the efforts. The company generally tests and develops products internally before doing so with outside suppliers.[/quote]
Earlier this year, Foxconn Technology Group, a subsidiary of the Hon Hai Precision Industry, invested $1.6 billion in Sharp’s failing display business, which was heading for its worst loss in a century. This is not a very wise business decision unless Foxconn has something special up their sleeves- and I’m not talking about iPhone and iPad display.
“Foxconn and Gou will invest 133 billion yen in Sharp and its display unit as the Taiwan-based maker of Apple iPad seeks a supply of flat panels to drive growth,” Tim Culpan and Mariko Yasu write for Bloomberg. “Foxconn, which also makes the iPhone, gets about 22 percent of its sales from Apple.”
In the same report Tim Culpan and Mariko Yasu alluded to the fact that this level of investment could lead to an Apple TV set in the near future.
“This is a risky and aggressive move by Foxconn, which is betting on current and future Apple products, including the iPad and an Apple television, a product which doesn’t even exist,” said Vincent Chen, a Taipei-based analyst at Financial Holding Co. who recommends investors buy Hon Hai. “Foxconn needs the acquisition to get advanced display technology, which it currently lacks.”