As Smart TV Reports Surface, Apple Remains Coy

Apple, Inc. may be readying a new Internet-powered television product, according to reports coming out of China on Monday.

On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook added fuel to the fire when he said technology for televisions was of “intense interest” to the company during an interview at a conference.

WantChinaTimes picked up and translated a report from China Business News that cited “informed sources” who said that Foxconn, Apple’s China-based manufacturer, had received an order earlier this month to begin producing a trial line of the iPad maker’s long-rumored Smart TV.

The report, which had no byline, said the new TVs would integrate the Internet and the cloud and would have their own displays and interfaces.  

According to Apple Insider, the location of the trial, Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant, indicates that a small number of prototypes would likely be produced and then put through Apple’s design test verification stages.

In a research report released after the rumors surfaced, Topeka Capital Markets’ Brian White suggested that the company might formally announce the new Smart TV at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 11.

White also pointed out that Apple would need to give developers “a head-start” in building applications for the device just as it did prior to the launches of both the iPhone and iPad.

Speaking at the annual D: All Things Digital conference in Silicon Valley on Tuesday, Apple’s Cook declined to comment directly on any new products the company might be developing, but in regard to its existing Apple TV product, he said: "This is an area of intense interest for us. We're going to keep pulling this string and see where it takes us."

Cook stressed that Apple TV is not a hobby: “We’ve stayed in the Apple TV product business, and we’re not a hobby kind of company…. Our tendency is to do very few things, put all of our wood behind a few arrows, and if something creeps in and isn’t a big success we get it out of the way and move on.” He pointed out that Apple sold 2.8 million Apple TVs in 2011, and 2.7 million in the first six months of its 2012 fiscal year.

“I think many people would say this is an area in their life that they’re not really pleased with, the whole TV experience,” Cook said. “So it’s an interesting area. We’ll have to see what we do. Right now, our contribution is Apple TV.”

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