Apple's First TV Confirmed by Foxconn
Everyone's favorite Chinese manufacturing corporation is telling the world that Apple is, in fact, developing its own television set.
The news comes from China Daily (via AppleInsider), which reports that Foxconn's chairman, Terry Gou, told the publication that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is currently making preparations for a device that he referred to as iTV.
"iTV reportedly features an aluminum construction, Siri, and FaceTime video calling," China Daily wrote, adding that Gou said that "Foxconn's recent 50-50 joint venture factory with Sharp in Japan is one of the preparations made for the new device."
As the manufacturing corporation in charge of Apple's products, one would assume that Foxconn's leader would never do anything to jeopardize its relationship with Apple. If the China Daily report is accurate, then this is practically a confirmation that an Apple television does, in fact, exist.
However, Apple has never expressed concern over false reports in the past, so it is wholly possible that Terry Gou or China Daily could be making up the whole story, knowing there would be no repercussions. In doing so, China Daily would benefit from the increased website traffic, while Foxconn… Actually, I'm not sure what that company would gain by lying.
Then there is the issue of the iTV moniker that keeps cropping up. That name already belongs to England's largest commercial broadcaster, which has warned Apple that it can't use its name when launching a new product. If Apple expects this TV to work -- and enjoy a successful launch worldwide -- the company is going to need to work with (not against) broadcasters. Apple might even be forced to work with cable companies if it can't find a way around them. Thus, the last thing the iPhone maker should do is anger an English broadcaster, risk a possible trademark lawsuit, and prevent a more productive relationship from being formed.
I have previously argued that it would be silly for Apple to name its television "Apple TV," especially when that name already exists for another product. But the more I think about it, the more I wonder if Apple even needs to provide a name.
Apple has already modified the name of one of its products, the iPad, to become as generic as possible. As a result, when Bob the Apple Fan walks into an Apple store -- or a Target (NYSE: TGT) or Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), for that matter -- he doesn't ask for the iPad 3. He says, "I want the new iPad." And he walks out with a brand-new, 2012 model.
Apple will likely continue this naming scheme with other future releases. Why shouldn't it take things one step further for its TV? Apple could simply call it a "Television."
That might sound a little too generic, even for Apple. After all -- the company didn't release a "Smartphone" or a "Tablet," it released the "iPhone" and the "iPad." But Apple is a bold company; it has no qualms about acting like it's the only corporation in the world to accomplish great things. It's not a stretch to think that Apple would simply come out with a no-name "Television," knowing that consumers will go into retailers and say, "I want Apple's TV."
Realistically, how many consumers do you know that ask for a TV by name? Most of them go into a store, look at the displays, and pick one out. Others say, "I'm looking for a Sony (NYSE: SNE)" or "I'm looking for a Samsung." But consumers rarely say, "I want the LED 7500 Series Smart TV." Some will, for certain. But those aren't the only consumers Apple wants to reach. Apple wants to sell its television to as many people as possible. Part of its strategy in accomplishing that goal will be to make things as simple as it possibly can.
And what could be simpler than releasing a generically-named "Television," and allow consumers to add the word "Apple"?
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