Is Apple Really Building a 4K TV?

Mike Wheatley

There’s been no end to the speculation that Apple is secretly working on its own high-end HD TV to shake up the market, with rumours abounding for months now that the release of the mythical device is just several months away. Now, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive, with the Chinese website DigiTimes reporting that Apple isn’t just building any ordinary TV, but a full blown 4K TV that’ll be capable of displaying super-high resolution Ultra HD content.

Apple HDTV
Is Apple really building a 4K TV?

That probably sounds pretty fantastic for Apple fanbois, but caution is advised – DigiTimes source is someone from the US firm’s supply chain in China, so the rumor should probably be taken with a pinch of salt. But if the rumours are to be believed, Apple’s 4K TV will likely arrive sometime next year, boasting voice and motion control, and built-in internet support, among other features.

DigiTimes explains that Apple is working alongside Foxconn in the development of its TV (something we’ve heard before), and is currently in the hunt for a supplier to produce the 4K display panels it needs.

But how likely is all this really? Well, with Apple’s long-standing policy of never acknowledging or denying rumours about unannounced products, there hasn’t been any confirmation from its Cupertino headquarters on the matter. To this day, Apple hasn’t even commented on speculation that it’s building any kind of TV at all. But then again, both the late Steve Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook have spoken of the company’s ‘desire’ to make a to make an Apple TV, and so it’s probably a safe bet to assume they have at least experimented with the idea in their labs.

But there’s also plenty of reasons why Apple wouldn’t build a TV, not least because it already has the Apple set-top box that can be plugged into just about any TV and transform it into a fruit-branded portal for streaming online content. Then there’s the whole issue of TV buyers generally upgrading only once every seven years, something that doesn’t fit with Apple’s standard two-year upgrade cycle.

The other reason has to do with cost. While Apple is known for its high-end products, the cheapest 4K TVs about these days will set you back something in the region of £25,000, which would put them out the reach of about 99% of its customer base. It is possible to make smaller 4K TVs of course, but most manufacturers agree that the display size needs to be fairly large, say, at least 80 inches, in order to get the most out of the enhanced resolution. Any smaller than that and it isn’t really possible to notice much of a difference.

I could be wrong about all of this, but I think it’s pretty safe to venture that until the cost of 4K technology comes down to a more affordable level, Apple is unlikely to be building anything more than a prototype 4K TV.

Source: DigiTimes