Apple TV Testing in Progress
Just in time for Christmas, we have one more Apple TV rumor to stuff into your stocking—the Central News Agency (CNA) of Taiwan reported on Friday that initial testing of television sets for Apple has started at Chinese manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry. Citing an unnamed source within Hon Hai, CNA said that Hon Hai is working on TV designs between 46 and 55 inches.
According to the article, it is "the initial phase of tests" that are taking place, and that, "Nevertheless [...] it is unlikely that shipments of the appliances will begin as soon as the end of the year."
We'll give you a moment to parse that sentence, because the wording is contradictory and confusing. We should note that this is likely due to the English-as-a-second-language aspect of CNA's FocusTaiwan site that published the article.
Some outlets have interpreted it as meaning the products could ship at the end of 2013. Another reading is that these products will not be ready in 2013, contrary to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal and research notes from Wall Street analysts.
Adding to the confusion is another line about Apple introducing these TV sets at CES in January, with no specificity of January 2013 or 2014. This also bears some brief analysis.
A surprise 2013 CES appearance by Apple would almost certainly have been leaked already. More importantly, if Apple is still in the early testing stage with products that won't be ready for another year or so, the chances of the company showing them in January of 2013 would be utterly contrary to Apple's past practices.
Admittedly it would be kind of fun if Apple just decided to FUD the TV industry into catastrophic collapse by showing something more than a year before release, but that's just not Apple's way.
On the other hand, a 2014 appearance at CES adds considerable weight to the second interpretation of the shipment date mentioned above. Apple isn't going to bother introducing a TV set at CES that it shipped the prior quarter.
Which brings us to the most important thing: while the Hon Hai source may know what his or her own company is doing, there is precisely zero chance that they would know what Apple is going to do. None. Nada. Puhlease...
In short, it's safe to dismiss the CES comments outside of the time frame issue they connote.
There was one more line item in the report worth mentioning. CNA's source said that Hon Hai would not necessarily be using displays made by Sharp for this particular project. What makes that interesting is that it was broadly speculated that an investment in a Sharp display unit by Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou's investment company was tied to Apple's television plans.
We put the core of this rumor—that Hon Hai has begun testing televisions designs for Apple—as highly likely. As always, however, it's important to remember that Apple is always testing things, and many of those tests are at the manufacturing level.
Testing does not necessarily equate to a shipping product.
Image made with help from Shutterstock.