Is Apple Really Planning TV Prototypes?
December 12, 2012

Apple Is Building TV Prototypes: WSJ

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

There are only a few weeks left in 2012, the year many analysts said we´d see an Apple Television for sale in shops.

Clearly an actual Apple television set, or “iTV” as many unimaginatively call it, is not available for purchase.

The rumors about such a device were running head to head with other rumors about a smaller iPad earlier in the year. As we now know, the iPad mini became a real thing while rumors about the Apple TV fell by the wayside.

That is, of course, until Tim Cook gave an interview with NBC´s Brian Williams last week.

In this interview, Cook discussed his first year on the job as CEO, what he learned from the late Steve Jobs, and building Macs in America. Brian Williams couldn´t help himself, of course, and while he had the ear of the CEO of one of the world´s largest company, he had to ask about the rumored TV.

“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,” Cook said. “It´s an area of intense interest. I can´t say more than that.”

This comment stirred up the glowing embers that were once a raging inferno of Apple TV rumors. Analysts yesterday posted results of some surveys they had taken, revealing that a large swath of the American public would be interested in not only buying a new Apple Television set, they´d also pay the premium price associated with Apple products.

Today, the Wall Street Journal continues to poke at these embers, saying Apple is already working with component suppliers in Asia to test some possible designs of an up-coming Apple TV.

These unnamed sources who spoke with the WSJ were also quite careful to mention that Apple´s plans aren´t yet complete.

"It isn't a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing," said one of the Journal´s sources. These people also said two of Apple´s existing partners, Hon Hai Precision and Sharp, have been asked to begin building out these test units.

That Apple is testing an Apple Television shouldn´t come as any surprise to those who have been watching Apple over the past 5 years. Like any other successful company, Apple is always testing their future products, working on prototypes and ironing out any wrinkles before they bring it to market. Apple, it seems, is never in a hurry to put products on shelves, and only does so when they are ready.

This news from the Wall Street Journal is significant, however.

First, while Apple always tests their new and future products internally, a move to have them built in another location signifies that they´ve at least settled on a few designs and are now ready to test how well these things can be built on a large scale.

Secondly, it´s often been presumed that Apple selectively leaks information to news sources such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Whenever one of these news sources make mention of a new product or a new iteration of a product, they are almost always correct.

It is still important to take this news with the proverbial grain of salt. Apple could very well be building out prototypes, but they´re also several months away from bringing a product to market. What´s more, they could end up scrapping the entire deal and never bring such a product to their customers´ family rooms.