Apple, who desperately need a new product as sales of their iPads and iPhones come under pressure from Android based devices, has moved to testing a new TV design with a launch tipped in mid-2013.Insiders have told SmartHouse the Company is investing “significant amounts” of research and development dollars into their TV project as the Company realises to be successful, they have to deliver a superior TV product than what Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic currently deliver. The Company is also struggling with the pricing model as Samsung and LG manufacturer their own TV components while Apple will have to rely on third party suppliers.
Currently Apple is working with the struggling Japanese TV maker Sharp, who is believed to have already manufactured several TV prototypes for Apple.
According to the Wall Street Journal, executives at some of Apple’s suppliers said the company has been testing designs for a large-screen high-definition set during the past few weeks.
Two people said Hon Hai Precision Industry which trades as Foxconn and assembles the iPhone and iPad, has been collaborating with Sharp on the project.
What is not known is what display technology Apple will adopt as Sharp at this stage does not have the capacity to manufacture volume OLED TVs. Some observers claim Apple is struggling between OLED and Ultra High Definition TV technology with the Company favouring OLED due to the lack of content for Ultra High Definition TVs.
Analysts believe Apple will find it harder to break into the TV market than they did the smartphone and MP3 player markets due to the dominance of the current TV brands.
The WSJ said Apple typically tests and develops products internally before doing so with outside suppliers. But while working with suppliers indicates that a project has moved further along, such movement doesn’t always bear fruit. The US Company has been testing TV prototypes for several years and still could decide not to proceed with the large-screen set.
Apple’s move into TV sets would intensify competition with some of its biggest suppliers, such as Samsung Electronics and LG Display who supply components to Apple and are the world’s biggest TV-set makers by shipments.
“The potential for consumer lock-in that the television creates will likely drive platform companies to continue exploring the space,” Goldman Sachs said last week. “As such, while the battle is just getting started on this front, we see it as having the potential to either further entrench current winners, such as Apple, or completely disrupt the market once again.”
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook recently suggested the company’s interest in television has progressed beyond a “hobby.” Turning on a TV today is like going “backward in time by 20 to 30 years,” he told NBC News. “It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”