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Apple has its sights set on conquering a new market

DailyTech earlier this year offered information from a definitive source which indicated that Apple Inc. (AAPL) was eyeing a move into the LCD television business.  At the time we had talked to an ex-Apple executive who had boasted of the potential of the device.  They pointed to a late 2011 launch, but added that a 2012 launch could be in order given (in so many words) Apple's desire to make things sleek and "perfect".

Well a 2011 launch clearly isn't in the cards, but several sources including Bloomberg and    Piper Jaffray Cos. analyst Gene Munster, have confirmed our source's statements and indicated the LCD TV is still in Apple's product pipeline.

Clues to the pending launch can be found in Walter Isaacson's biography of late Apple CEO and co-founder Steven P. Jobs.  Published by CBS Corp. (CBS), the book recounts an interview in which Mr. Jobs described cracking the problem of how to synchronize content from Apple devices (iPods, Macs, iPhones, iPads) with the TV.  Mr. Jobs stated, "It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine."

Bloomberg adds to the picture, informing that while a source indicates that the TV may never be released, Apple seems to be leaning in that direction, with several sources indicating that iTunes creator Jeff Robbin has been tasked with leading the new TV effort.  Mr. Robbin is an accomplished Apple engineer who helped design the company's hit iPod MP3 player, as well iTunes.

Gene Munster claims that Mr. Robbin's team is cooking up a prototype of the LCD set and could release the set sometime in 2012 or 2013.  He says the release window largely boils down to what kind of LCD unit supply and manufacturing contracts Apple can obtain.  Apple is notorious for driving industry-leading profit margins by ruthless negotiations when it comes to supply and manufacturing contracts.

Apple currently only manufacturers "Apple TV", a settop box that runs a cut down build of iOS and can run iTunes, YouTube, Netflix, and a handful of other services.  The late Mr. Jobs labeled Apple TV "a hobby".  Sales of the device have been low compared to Apple's other product lines.

The new device would reportedly be a full LCD TV unit, with connected entertainment features baked into it.  Presumably driven by iOS, it would wirelessly sync content with other Apple devices, and could even offer rudimentary console gaming, on par with the iPad.

In that regard, Apple will look to follow in the footsteps of Google Inc. (GOOG).  Google has partnered with companies like Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) to release television sets with internet-connected features.  However, the lack of third party apps has stunted the platform and caused a poor reception.  Google has learned from this mistake and is looking to roll out Android 3.1 Honeycomb to sets, adding third party app compatibility.  Apple will likely follow a similar approach, offering "iTV" apps from its App Store. 

The TV project presents both a challenge and an opportunity for Apple, with respect to its smart phone arch-nemesis Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (SEO 005930).  On the one hand, the companies' deterioriating relationship presents a supply problem as Samsung is one of the largest suppliers of large LCD screens.  On the other hand, by releasing its only branded televisions, Apple would strike a blow at one of its rival's core businesses, much as Samsung struck Apple's smartphone business recently surpassing it in sales.

Source: Bloomberg

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By JackBurton on 10/25/2011 6:34:51 PM , Rating: 0
You forget that Apple came out with the first consumer grade 30" LCD with a resolution of 2560x1600. It look the PC side YEARS to finally come out with a comparable LCD.

By retrospooty on 10/25/2011 6:44:30 PM , Rating: 5
1. Apple doesnt make LCD's, they buy them and put on thier own bezel.
2. The 30 inch LCD 2560x1600 was out on other brands as well at the same time. The LCD vendor released the LCD and several makers picked it up, Apple was one of them.

By retrospooty on 10/25/2011 7:47:23 PM , Rating: 2
an lcd is a panel apple just bought the panel and put it in the bezel. the only thing apple made was the plastic and the logo just like all other makers. apple was no different that was my only point and it wasn't years alone on the market. dell came out with it right after and it was the exact same lcd panel from the exact same lcd manufacturer.

don't get me wrong it was a great lcd but the post above made it sound like apple is some kind of an lcd innovative powerhouse... all they did is the same as everyone does they bought an lcd panel and branded it

By retrospooty on 10/25/2011 7:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
OK, sorry, I was off on the time... I thought it was right on top of each other. it was 1 1/2 years Apple had it alone on the market...

Anyhow, my point is Apple never made an LCD . Just like Dell, Viewsonic, or most other manufacturers, all they did was buy the LCD and mount it in pretty plastic.

By JackBurton on 10/26/2011 7:56:03 AM , Rating: 2
I love how accurate information here is rated down while your BS is rated up.

Apple DID make their LCDs. Manufacturing an LCD isn't as simple as slapping someone else's panel in an LCD bezel and calling it a day. So instead of making up some BS, try reading a little about the subject you are commenting on.

Taken from your own link:

Neither Dell nor Apple would specify the origin of the panel used in each monitor, but various reports have surmised that the panels are the same--a charge levied by Anandtech in a 2005 comparison of the two companies' 20-inch panels. However, even if the panels are identical, equal performance isn't a guarantee; the way the panel is engineered makes a significant difference.

So yeah, they make their own LCDs. If you need even more evidence, look at the results of YOUR OWN LINK. Apple's Cinema Display beat out Dell's 30" display even after being on the market for almost 2 years earlier. If all Dell did was slap Apple's panel in their own bezel, the two LCDs would perform EXACTLY the same, which they don't.

So try nice.

By Cheesew1z69 on 10/26/2011 8:58:32 AM , Rating: 3
As unique as Apple's Cinema display might be in the world of 19" to 21" flat panel displays, it shares the same LG.Philips panel as the Dell UltraSharp 2005FPW. There happens to be only a single panel manufacturer capable/willing to mass produce wide screen, high resolution flat panel displays for the PC market.

By retrospooty on 10/26/2011 9:10:35 AM , Rating: 3
" the way the panel is engineered makes a significant difference. - So yeah, they make their own LCDs"

I dont think you know which part the LCD is. Its the glass display, internal layer of glass, backlight, inverter etc. Everything but the plastics, power supply, and cables. What Apple did with the LCD may have made it perform better than the Dell... But they didnt make it. Apple NEVER made an LCD... They bought an LCD and MADE it into a monitor.

By Cheesew1z69 on 10/26/2011 9:28:18 AM , Rating: 2
Come on, you should know by now Apple invented everything! Of course they make LCDS! ;)

By retrospooty on 10/26/2011 9:37:21 AM , Rating: 2
I know, I know. These Apple guys think they invented everything with their name on it.

Apple is a good company with alot of good products, and overall is good for the industry as a rival to PC to keep the PC side innovating and affordable, but FFS people, at this rate, 10 years from now will they be saying APple invented the DVR and streaming TV?

By JackBurton on 10/26/2011 10:27:29 AM , Rating: 2
Ah, you know looking back at my posts, I can see where the confusion lies. When I said Apple made their own LCDs, I should have said, Apple made their own LCD monitor. I've just been accustomed to just saying LCD or plasma when discussing TVs or monitors.

So to clarify, Apple made their own LCD monitors , but they sourced their panels from another company. This is contrary to what the other poster states which was Apple just took a panel slap a bezel around it and called it a day.

By Cheesew1z69 on 10/26/2011 10:32:53 AM , Rating: 2
This is contrary to what the other poster states which was Apple just took a panel slap a bezel around it and called it a day.
That's exactly what they did.

By JackBurton on 10/26/2011 10:44:47 AM , Rating: 2
If it was exactly what they did, the performance would be exactly the same as Dell's monitor, which is wasn't.

By retrospooty on 10/26/2011 11:30:47 AM , Rating: 2
Technically speaking, that is what they all do. Its just about the quality of the cables and how hard you drive it. Dell is fairly well known for being as cheap as possible, then selling at lower price points and Apple tends to put higher quality stuff and charge a premium.

By jithvk on 10/27/2011 1:50:20 AM , Rating: 3
Just for clarification, ill add some details about LCD monitor
* most of the brands like Apple, Dell etc buy LCD panel from other OEMs like AU, Lg-Philips etc
* The panel usually means the complete set of LCD screen, back light, and parallax barrier (in the case of 3D screens)
* The main inputs to the panel will be the power source for the back lighting, a set of PWM signals for adjusting the brightness(more if the panel supports local dimming) and the Low voltage differential signal (LVDS) which carry the picture information
* Most of the LCD monitors today accepts inputs like VGA,HDMI, DVi etc. This cannot be directly fed to the LCD panel
* The analog/digital input to the monitor must be first converted to the LVDS signal that can be fed to the LCD panel.
* This is done by what we call as a "Driver circuit"
* The driver circuit will be specific for each brand, Dell, Apple, HP etc
* It consist mainly of a ADC, an Image Quality Enhancement engine (IQE), Layering and Mixing (for PIP, Subtitles, OSD etc) and finally an LVDS driver
* IQE is the main distinguishing factor in a monitor
* Most of the makers have their own IQE (eg Bravia Engine)
* Other factors are the bit rate of the pipeline, the refresh rate supported by the LVDS driver etc.

Just my 2cents.. Hope it helps somebody..

By Reclaimer77 on 10/26/2011 11:01:45 AM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about? Apple doesn't "make" anything. They don't own a single factory. Apple is a marketing company, NOT a manufacturing one. They contract out the manufacturing of every single device they market to other firms.

Please find me the Apple plant in which these LCD's are "made". You can't!

If all Dell did was slap Apple's panel in their own bezel, the two LCDs would perform EXACTLY the same, which they don't.

Well that's just ignorant. There's more to an LCD than just the panel. Converter boards, main boards, etc etc. Your logic is retarded.

By retrospooty on 10/26/2011 11:36:03 AM , Rating: 2
"Apple doesn't "make" anything"

This is true too... It's all contract manufacturing by Foxconn and other companies like them. The funny thing is they all run off PC's. Every Mac/iphone/ipod manufacturing plant runs off PC's. Every step of the way. The networks, the purchasing, the accounting, the logistics, reverse logistics, IT, management, etc. All done on PC's.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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