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Apple 'iTV' rumors swirl after patent filing, move by supplier

March 29, 2012|By Salvador Rodriguez
  • Apple was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that might be related to the rumored Apple "iTV."
Apple was granted a patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that might… (PatentlyApple.com )

There's more buzz being generated around the expected Apple "iTV" after the electronics giant was granted a new patent and one of its key suppliers in Asia struck a major investment deal.

Apple has been awarded a patent for a technology called Fringe Field Switching, along with 18 other patents, according to the website Patently Apple. The new patent may be for an iteration of a technology that is currently behind the iMac computer screens but can accommodate larger displays such as those on home TVs.

Patently Apple also said the patent includes the mention of a technology called Ultra-FFS TFT-LCD, which seems to indicate Apple may be considering the use of touch screens on their rumored HD TV sets.

"Large touch displays could be used for business presentations and even in medical labs," the site said. "Allowing surgeons to quickly react on one display for all of their needed files is a time-saver that could save lives."

The patent news was followed by a report Wednesday by Focus Taiwan News Channel that said Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the owner of one of Apple's key suppliers, will invest $1.6 billion in Sharp Corp., which has in the past supplied screens for Apple devices such as the iPad.

The investment by Hon Hai will make it the largest stakeholder of Sharp. Hon Hai, which owns Foxconn Technology, may be trying to position itself as an integral player in the production of what is anticipated to be Apple's next major product. Foxconn is already key to the production of the iPhone and the iPad.

Forbes reports Apple may be disappointed with Sharp's current performance as one of its suppliers. The Hon Hai deal could right the ship at Sharp and give Apple more leverage in its relationship with another one of its screen suppliers, Samsung, with whom Apple has had legal troubles.

As far as the release date of an Apple TV set? Some are still saying 2012 is the year, but Business Insider reported Wednesday that Asian research group CLSA believes iTV, as bloggers are dubbing it, will hit the market in 2013.

But the timing of the product may be irrelevant to the impact iTV could have on the industry.

"When it arrives, it'll likely send shockwaves throughout the industry and market if they get the right blend of Apple services and features together," Patently Apple wrote.

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Original source: The Foxconn-Sharp Alliance is all about Apple's Coming HDTV

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