Even though it doesn’t officially exist, and even though it may never see the light of day, the rumored Apple HDTV apparently has some competitors shaking in their boots. And hey, given how Apple has disrupted entire industries with the iPod, iPhone, and more recently the iPad, you can’t fault TV manufacturers from playing preventive defense, so to speak.
That said, a Digitimes report from last week claims that TV manufacturers are looking to add more features to their lineup of Smart TVs over the next few months and that some companies are even looking to partner up in an effort to leverage respective strengths – with the implicit goal being to prevent Apple from just moseying in on the HDTV market and tearing everything asunder.
The sources said the alliances are also forming as Apple is preparing to release a smart TV. Due to Apple’s influence in the market, the sources fear it will further dominate the smart TV market, which is estimated to reach a 40% penetration rate by 2014.
The alliance-forming TV makers are researching and developing smart TV concepts that will have similar functions as Samsung Electronics’ but will still need a lot of time before models start hitting stores, added the sources.
The most recent HDTV rumors we’ve heard are from this earlier this year. One report from May claimed that an Apple Smart TV had begun the manufacturing process on a trial basis. And before that, a research note from the Asian research group CLSA predicted that Apple would launch an HDTV in 2013 with display panels from Sharp.
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.
Let the speculation continue.