You didn’t think Apple would stay on the sidelines while Samsung and Google are making strides in the smart TV market, did you? Hopefully not, because it looks like an Apple TV is going to be hitting markets in the middle of next year. Word is that Sharp has been tabbed to produce the television sets, securing a contract likely in the billions to work with Apple. Apple will get the displays at a discount, after investing between $500 million and $1 billion in manufacturing equipment for Sharp’s production facilities in Japan.
Sharp is rumored to have developed its own IGZO display technology, which is in effect similar to OLED, but cheaper to produce. Sharp will produce those displays for handheld Apple products, likely including the iPad 3, with use in larger applications like televisions starting in 2015. If that’s the case, maybe you want to hold out for the later models of the Apple TV, if it catches your interest.
The Apple TV itself is said to match the iPad in functionality, in addition to more robust television and movie watching features. Users should be able to access the iTunes App Store from the television, and use the apps like they would on a smartphone or tablet. It’s not clear how those apps would be controlled, though – touch capabilities for the Apple TV have neither been confirmed nor denied.
Be sure to keep an eye out in the coming year for more information about the next generation of Apple TV.