Reported Apple iTV prototype stirs Internet rumors

Yet another reported Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) smart TV sighting has the Internet abuzz.

According to the Cult of Mac, the long-awaited connected TV is similar in appearance to existing Cinema Displays, comes with an iSight camera built in that's capable of following a user as they move around the room, and to zoom in on their face, allowing them to make video calls and to videoconference. The unnamed source cited in the article also said the new TV brings Siri, Apple's voice-activated virtual assistant to the living room.

Paul Gagnon, director of North American TV Research for NPD DisplaySearch, said it's likely Apple will roll out a line of TVs this year, pointing out that Apple's Chinese supplier, Foxconn, has invested $1.6 billion in Sharp's TV unit, which can make panels up to 60-inches.

He expects two to four models ranging from 40-inches to 60-inches with 1920 x 1080p resolution. Cost, he said, should come in between $1,000 to $2,000.

In March, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek said that during a recent trip to Asia he saw evidence that Apple was gearing up to roll out a TV set in the fourth quarter.

In a note to clients he wrote: "Evidence of commercial iTV production is starting: we believe specialty components have begun to ship to Apple's Asia panel suppliers with polarized films, filters, and IGZO components starting to move in small quantities. We expect commercial production in May/June with 2M to 5M builds likely. We still expect a Q4 launch."

For more:
- see this Cult of Mac article

Related articles:
Analyst: Apple iTV will hit in Q4
Is TV finally more than a hobby for Apple? It will be a catalyst for online video
Apple patents touchscreen TV remote control... is a smart TV up next?
A chicken in every pot and an Apple TV in every living room

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