The chairman of Foxconn, one of the China-located electronics manufacture and assembly companies that builds Apple’s devices, may have just confirmed the rumored but unannounced Apple TV set.
According to a report in the China Daily newspaper, discovered by How To Arena, Foxconn’s Terry Gau said his company is making preparations to start working on an HDTV set known as the iTV. Gau, who was giving an inaugural speech as the newly appointed chairman, said the company has been making preparations for the device, including a new 50-50 partnership with Japanese device maker Sharp to work on producing Apple’s unannounced sets.
The iTV has been floating around the rumor mill for quite a while now, and Cult of Mac recently published an in-depth possible leak with lots of information about it. That report states that the device will be similar to Apple’s LED Cinema displays, which it makes available as monitors for its computers, but obviously the devices will be much larger. The iTV runs on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system and is compatible with the iPhone and iPad to use features like AirPlay, and is also supposed to include Siri, and a built-in camera with facial recognition for FaceTime calls.
While Gau seems to have basically confirmed the existence of Apple’s TV set, there’s still at least one thing about the rumor that, as others have pointed out, seems a little strange. Perhaps the most obvious is that while iTV is a common nickname for the rumored Apple TV set, it’s also the name of one of Britain’s largest TV networks, and therefore a potential trademark nightmare for Apple. That Gau referred to the iTV by its rumored name may be telling: either Apple finally figured out how to handle the name situation, or while Foxconn is preparing for the Apple TV set, it hasn’t actually received an official order yet.
Indeed, Gau said that Foxconn has not started actually working on the iTV. Then again, mentioning the Sharp deal, in which Foxconn bought 10 percent of the Japanese company earlier this year, suggests major preparations being made for Apple’s TV set. When the deal went through in March, there was speculation that Foxconn made the deal in preparation for Apple’s iTV. That Gau confirmed that suspicion is a pretty big red flag, as well.
With so much information about the Apple TV set flying around out there, plus Gau’s comments, it seems likely that Apple really is about to bring its HDTV to market. The question now is when, and analysts seem split on the device being ready for this year, or not making it to shelves until 2013.