Apple TV Rumors Heat Up As New Report Claims Foxconn Is Testing Designs

 @LisaEadicicco
on December 12 2012 1:05 PM

Now that Apple has released its iPhone 5 and its new iPads, the company appears to have set its focus on another long-awaited product: Apple TV. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple is working with its primary supplier Foxconn to test designs for such a device.

Rumors of an Apple TV set have persisted for quite some time, but this report from the Wall Street Journal may be one of the most solid pieces of evidence yet. However, fans waiting for an Apple TV shouldn’t get too excited, as the WSJ was sure to note that this device “isn’t a formal project yet” and that Apple “could opt not to proceed with the device.”

If Apple does continue testing its product, its long-time partner Foxconn would be a suitable manufacturer. The Taiwanese supplier’s parent company, Hon Hai, bought a large stake in Sharp earlier this year and took control of its Sakai plant in Japan, according to the Verge. This is one of the most sophisticated LCD production facilities in the world. The Wall Street Journal reports that the plant is adept at producing televisions of over 60 inches in size, and Foxconn has used this facility to make TVs for Vizio this year.

Details about what the product would entail are still largely a mystery—it is unclear whether or not Apple TV would take the form of a full-fledged TV set or a more enhanced version of the set-top box set that already exists.

The report further fuels a long-standing Apple rumor; one that was ignited by Apple’s late co-founder Steve Jobs. When speaking with his biographer Walter Isaacson, Jobs dropped some heavy hints about Apple TV, saying that he “finally cracked” the best way to make a television that integrates Internet and iCloud services.

“It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,” Jobs said in the interview, according to The Washington Post.

In true Apple fashion, the company has remained relatively silent on the matter, dropping subtle clues for its fan base and the media to interpret at their own will. Apple CEO Tim Cook recently went on an interview blitz with the media in which he sat down with NBC’s Brian Williams and poured his heart out about Apple in an 11-page interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. When it came to Apple and television, he only had this to say:

“When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years.”

It’s difficult to tell what this could mean for the future of Apple TV, but perhaps the company will consider Siri integration or closer compatibility with other Apple products.

This isn’t the first time a report from The Wall Street Journal had gotten Apple fans riled up about a forthcoming TV from the company. Last year the publication wrote about Apple’s planned “TV assault,” citing Apple executives Eddy Cue and others about how the company could change the television industry with voice and motion controls.

Apple TV could be what the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer design firm needs to compete with companies such as Microsoft and Sony who use their video game consoles to dominate living room entertainment.

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