“Apple Inc. 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,” Lorraine Luk and Jessica E. Lessin report for The Wall Street Journal. “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 Co., 2317.TW +0.63% which assembles the iPhone and iPad, has been collaborating with Japan’s Sharp Corp. on the design of the new television,” Luk and Lessin report. “‘It isn’t a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing,’ said one of the people.”
Luk and Lessin report, “Apple supplier Hon Hai, known by the trade name Foxconn, has been expanding into the market for large high-resolution TVs, capitalizing on chairman Terry Gou’s investment in a Japanese liquid-crystal-display factory that used to be owned by Sharp. In July, Mr. Gou, through his investment firm, took a 37.6% stake in the operator of an LCD factory in Sakai, western Japan, to become a co-investor along with Sharp. Under that deal, Hon Hai receives up to half of the panels manufactured at the plant and those panels can be used for any TV sets.
“The Sakai plant, which cost Sharp more than $10 billion to build in 2009, is particularly suitable for making LCD panels 60 inches or larger for TV sets,” Luk and Lessin report. “In a recent media interview, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook suggested that the company’s interest in television has progressed beyond a ‘hobby.’ He likened turning on a TV today to going ‘backwards in time by 20 to 30 years.’ ‘It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that,’ said Mr. Cook in the interview with NBC News.”
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