Apple Could Build 70-, 80-, 130-Inch Televisions
A new report claims that Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) chief manufacturer, Foxconn, may release a series of televisions -- including one as large as 130 inches -- in the future.
According to DigiTimes, the manufacturer is a "major investor" in Taiwanese display maker Chimei Innolux. Foxconn vice president Jeng-wu Tai reportedly said that the new products will not interfere with Chimei Innolux's product line.
Foxconn does not typically build its own products. Thus, it is likely to build these TVs (70-, 80- and 130-inch models) for another corporation.
Sharp could be the beneficiary of this effort. The company lost $5.6 billion and has expressed "material doubt" about its ability to survive. But Foxconn is still expected to build new panels for the firm's 10G line of televisions.
Apple is thought to have spent more than $2 billion to keep Sharp going. The Mac maker has not confirmed that Sharp is a partner, but its displays are believed to be used in the iPhone 5 and may also appear in the iPad Mini. If true, Apple would need Sharp to continue manufacturing displays until it is ready to switch to another supplier.
Considering the connections between these three firms, it is wholly possible that Foxconn could build the displays for Sharp, which in turn may provide them to Apple. While the company has yet to say whether or not it will produce a television, Apple is expected to build a TV within the next few years.
This could also lead to a Sharp buyout. If Apple is serious about gaining its independence from Samsung, the Cupertino, California-based tech giant will need a new (and very reliable) source of supplies. By acquiring Sharp, Apple could reshape the company and use it to produce the products it desires -- particularly new versions of the iPhone and iPad.
When Steve Jobs was still in control of Apple, this would not have happened. The company would not have considered the idea of owning a supplier. But under the guidance of its new chief executive, Tim Cook, Apple has greatly transformed into a mainstream corporation.
Cook already broke one of Jobs' rules by allowing Apple to produce an iPad Mini. Jobs was vehemently against the idea of building a smaller a tablet; the lack of consumer interest shows why. But early sales figures indicate that Cook may have made the right decision. In combining sales of both the iPad Mini and the fourth-generation iPad, Apple said that it sold three million units worldwide last weekend.
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