Apple again rumored to be building an Ultra HD 4K TV set for release late 2013 or early 2014

Apple again rumored to be building an Ultra HD 4K TV set for release late 2013 or early 2014Randomly accurate site Digitimes is once again reporting the often-repeated rumor that Apple is working on a TV set. The latest rumor surrounds the actual specifications of the TV set, which sources claim will be 4K. For those that don’t know, 4K or Ultra HD offers two times the horizontal and vertical resolution of the current 1080p standard giving it an overall resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels -- in other words, 2160p. Digitimes:

The sources said that Apple and Foxconn Electronics have been in discussions for quite some time in terms of the TV's mass production schedule, but that Apple has been considering where panel supply for the TV will come from, as Ultra HD TV panel makers, most of whom are based in Taiwan, are expected to be producing at nearly full capacity in 2013 in order to meet demand from China-based TV vendors.

Apparently Apple will look to LG to supply the panels for the 4K iTV and if it can prove its ability to supply the panels in the quantities required, Apple may release the iTV at the end of this year. The iTV is thought to offer not only Ultra HD resolution but also change the way that we interact with our TV sets. It is widely thought that Siri voice control and motion will play a major part in the TV’s user interface.

Digitimes often gets good information from Asian supply chain sources but seldom puts them into accurate context. Someone, somewhere probably ordered something, but how and why that means it's Apple for an Ultra HD TV is unclear. (Aside from headlines.)

It should also be noted that iMore previously heard Apple wasn't moving any of their TV panel prototypes into production any time soon.

Anyone still holding their breath for a Retina TV this year?

Source: Digitimes


UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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There are 42 comments. Add yours.

henrymagnusrex says:

Color me skeptical.

Firstly, would Apple really build a 4k tv without a 4k content distribution strategy? Absolutely not. And as of yet, there is really no technologically viable 4k content distribution strategy that the average joe would have any interest in. As Rene always says, Apple is in the business of empowering average consumers with pro features. I really don't think the technology is there yet to deliver these kind of features in a way that the average consumer would appreciate.

Secondly, ould Apple really go to market with a 4k panel that is only going to be priced within the grasps of the wealthy? I mean, Apple isn't known for pushing the envelopes of affordability but they are a preeminent example of smart pricing structures aimed at the mass market. Due to cost prohibitions and also social conditioning (80 inch + TV's are massive-not sure everybody is ready for that in their living rooms), I'm not even sure there will be a market for 4k TV's for a few years. It's tough for me to see apple being the one to try and birth that market.

kisunssi says:

The idea that people won't buy 80" TVs [assuming that that is the size of TV that will be released] because they are big is, I fear, unwarranted. The number of 42"++ TVs that I see squeezed into the unlikeliest of sub-compact European lounges is surprisingly high.

Cost, I agree, and also the inability of much of the current infrastructure to deliver compatible high quality programming to such a device will prove, I suspect, a greater inhibition to take-up.

kevrowlandz says:

I sell TV's .The only reason 42" is now popular is the price. Just 6 years ago top model 42" was easy two and a half thousand. 8 years ago four thousand., Now top model 42" 1080 smart tv with wifi built in still fetch's one thousand easily . There is not a chance in this world Apple will release a 4k TV for less than fifteen thousand and that is very very generous and I agree with the other comments there absolutely No media . Here in the UK , the BBC have Actually say they have no interest in transmitting 4K, have not got the Techology to transmit it.We only have 4 free to Air HD Channels and the are 1080i res, with the very occasional 1080p with lower frame rate! Yes with also have Sky with Subscription HD with about 60 HD Channels also at 1080i . All this Talk of 4K is absolutely pointless, It's Great PR for Company showing of theSE top TV's , but I can't help feeling we are years away yet . A bit like models on the Cat Walk 99% of what you see never makes it to the Shops. Lets hope Apple Concentrate on good quality 1080p smart TV with Brilliant air play control from are device's and make it more open to different media's codec's. which will make the price still high , I recon in the four thousand bracket but poss affordable and the Days of people laying out more has gone. Also recon that's why Ipad Mini is so Popular Starting at two hundred and sixty nine pounds it's affordable to almost everyone! Nothing to do with HD Screen just good quality from Apple.

henrymagnusrex says:

Oh, I agree. In the long term I don't doubt that the 80inch screen will be normalized both financially and socially. But not in the short term and especially not by 2014.

jasondeno says:

Actually, if Apple simply employed H.265 within iTunes and built their AppleTV tech into the TV, they WOULD have a viable content model. H.265 can stream 4K at the same bandwidth of existing 1080p.

SockRolid says:

Agree. There is near-zero 4k content now, and there will be precious little more by 2014. The best we'd be seeing, in terms of actual live TV and Blu-Ray, is some form of interpolated "unsharp mask" fake 4k resolution.

There is also limited bandwidth now, and there will be precious little more bandwidth by 2014. Sure, some people have FiOS etc. But the majority of people don't have that kind of bandwidth yet. The first 4k movie (it's out there, but I don't know what it is) weighs in at 160GB. Try moving that over your DSL twisted pair in 2 hours.

Finally, Apple won't ship just a better-looking TV monitor. And they won't ship just a better-looking TV monitor with the current Apple TV chip built into it. I suspect they want to radically change the entire television industry. From the end-user television set and how it is controlled, to the distribution mechanism and how end-users pay for content, and to the relationships between Apple (being the end-user hardware manufacturer and distribution network) and the movie studios, TV studios, live music venues, news agencies, and sports event organizers.

All of that is just way too much to get done in a few years. Unless Apple has been working behind the scenes for the better part of a decade on it already. But I think the old guard will fight any attempts by Apple to disrupt the television industry they way they disrupted the music industry. The television industry isn't as desperate as the music industry was 10 years ago with rampant piracy. There's not enough fear. But maybe there's enough greed. And fear and greed are the only two motivators at play here.

luqman24 says:

Will probably be overpriced by atleast a third of what their competitors will sell theirs for based on the pricing trend of their current products. Its in Apple's DNA to overprice their products especially their laptops and desktops aka the Apple tax.

m_thoroughbred says:

4k TVs are overpriced to begin with. Sony announced their 4k TV priced at $25,000.

henrymagnusrex says:

This old trope is getting worn out and boring. Which Apple products are overpriced exactly?

Me thinks that you do not understand the difference between price and value.

Overpriced would imply that the user could get a better value elsewhere. So for some users, like you I suppose, they might be overpriced. But for many users Apple products provide a value that they cannot get somewhere else.

price != value.

raybeem says:

I think it will be priced right, I just don't see Apple taking on Samsung in the TV market and dominating. By Christmas 4k will be here in a big way. The new TV's will have the ability to upscale the picture to 4k so lack of 4k content won't be reason not to buy. Apple will do it better but for how long? A big selling point will be the tie into the Apple ecosystem and maybe games.

cardfan says:

This has dumb written all over it for several reasons.

5hea says:

Ahhhh to have an Apple TV... Sounds like a dream come true... But I think it'll stay just a dream for a while yet.

GaiusPrimus says:

Following the assumption that an AppleTv would incorporate the same functionality of current AppleTV's, wouldn't a 4K set completely pixelate one of the main usages of said tv, being the airplay between device and TV?
I say if they are doing this, it's much farther in future then 2014

adidas26usa says:

As soon as I read Digitimes, my TV breathed a sigh of relief.

Puakia says:

I am so tired of the TV rumor. I mean really...who cares? If they do they do, and if they don't there are plenty of other choices out there. Is there nothing else to rumormill about?

roelsamson20 says:

A 4k TV By Apple gonna be name iTV, Maybe This would Have a Lot of Nice Feature than any other Smart TV, This May be to Expensive for a Person to Buy, For this to Have a Big Sale the iTV must not be Overpriced, Many People really Like Apple , Famously for Iphone and Ipad and now iTV! Interesting News!

kisunssi says:

iTV? Should guarantee trebles all round for the UK's commercial law firms:)

RogueNinjaGeek says:

Don't see them doing this at all. The LG tidbit was a nice touch. Since they are Samsung competitors, but other then that, I doing see them making a TV with 60% mark up and selling it anywhere. And I doubt Apple will sell at a loss.

PassOutPete says:

A 4K Apple TV, I think, is very unlikely. But a 1080HD Apple TV, on the other hand, is more than almost expected.
Apple has a way with technology and technology most definitely has a way with Apple. Weather you want to admit it or not, Apple is at the top of the game with everything that it produces. Why buy an MP3 player when you can buy an iPod? Why buy a no Kia when you can buy an iPhone? And who in their right mind buys a PC when they could buy a Mac?
You're not just buying an Apple product, you're buying an experience. You're buying an unmatched warranty by any standards. You're buying the number one rated customer service. But mostly, you're buying a product that's going to whether the times of life. And Apple is going to continue doing what they do when this ever allusive AppleTV finally enters production and hits the market.
Keep a close eye on your iWatch because times are changing!

phillip_u says:

Hmm. My understanding is the 4K TVs are going to be quite expensive at first. And while Apple products aren't cheap, I haven't seen them release anything that couldn't be afforded by the masses in recent times. I'm certain that Apple is exploring a 4K supply chain and may even be prototyping with them. But 4K in 2013 would mean a $10,000-plus TV if I understand it correctly.

I liked the AppleTV when it was redesigned into a streaming device because of its simplicity and its affordability. But I find the content to be limited compared to its competition. I have very little iTunes video content. I use Netflix and Amazon primarily. The rest of my content is home videos. I am a cord cutter although I realize that most others are not.

My point being that the value of the AppleTV set-top box or the rumored iTV is in the ability to access content with little to no friction. Apple clearly has an interest in ensuring that such content comes from them as much as possible but they surely understand that they have to work with the other stakeholders such as cable and satellite operators, networks, studios and rightsholders. If they can get all of this content wrapped up in a pretty bow, then I'll be interested.

But as it stands now, I plan on buying one of the new Roku boxes because of it's new ability to search for content across all of its sources and simply display where said content is available. I don't see how much Apple could truly improve upon this without the addition of apps. But maybe that's their plan. I just hope that they don't plan on me upgrading my TV every two years.

chrishull says:

"little to no friction". Seriously, that's it right there. We have Roku2's and love them but there is friction. We have a Samsung BR player with wifi connected to a Samsung TV. Nice but still a little friction. If I could say to my TV, "Siri, play The Hobbit" and in seconds it gave me options for doing so, THAT would be what I'd want.

phillip_u says:

This is what I like about what the Roku 3 offers. A more friction-less search experience. On AppleTV I have to go into each separate app. I'm not so excited by voice control. It would be nice, but my real world experience with using Siri on my phone with my loud family around hasn't been great. But the idea of just searching for The Hobbit through whatever means and just being able to watch it is what I want.

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Dark_Blu says:

Apple can very well produce an over hyped, over priced TV that has a hand full of tricks that might be interesting for five minutes, but other than celebrities, pro athletes, top execs, and drug dealers, who is going to pay thousands of dollars for an Apple branded TV set with no real compelling reason to over pay, when they can go to Walmart and pick up a 42" Flat screen LCD for under $600? Even the rich have become frugal with their money. And the other thing is content. If Apple is just going to slap an Apple logo on an LG Smart TV and overprice it with it still having to be connected to cable or dish for content, what's the compelling reason to buy it? Siri? Siri isn't a compelling enough reason to buy an iPhone. I doubt consumers will fall for it with an Apple TV. TV and Cable networks aren't willing to play ball with Apple, so compelling content over and above what cable offers, isn't going to happen. So, if it requires the Apple TV box for any content, it's no better than that $600 42" LCD TV from Walmart.

They can try it, but I doubt they will get the result they want (market domination).

wscotchmer says:

I don't see this happening. If history has taught us anything is that the TV should be a display only. Then purchase a smart device (something like the Apple TV box or Boxee or Roku or WDLive TV) and plug it into the TV. Upgrade the smart device over time as needed and the TV should last a decade or more. Look at the stereo's in cars for example. Up until a few years ago, everyone was putting in fancy stereos and now the only thing people want is an AUX jack to plug in their phone or MP3 player for music. Lesson to be learned, keep the output device of a high quality so it will last but keep it "stupid". Make other devices that are easily upgradable (components) that plug into the output device. This is what customers want in the end.

And I agree with the general tone of the feedback here too. It seems very unlikely that Apple is going to release a large iTV that is 4k when there is no content and few will be able to afford it. It just doesn't make a lot of sense at this time in the market.

BrianTufo says:

I just can't see apple doing this. 4K TVs are very expensive right now and I don't think very many people would buy one currently. Who knows though but I'm guessing this isn't the case.

vianar says:

Why would apple build a whole TV when so many other companies already do and people don't turn over tv's as quickly as they do computers or phones. They are going to stick with the current form factor of the Apple TV and focus on the UI and content. I can see apple remote or iPhone apple remote app playing a big role in this UI be it gesture or voice access. Also, while Apple products are pricier they are realistic and know the market for a 4k screen is way to small given the price unless they heavily subsidize. However they are in the business to make money not make things more affordable to us at their cost.

ajkweez says:

All apple needs to do is open up store section for Apple TV apps, get amazon instant video on board, and add connections so it can be used as a cable box.

lifecansuckbutliveitanyway2012 says:

Interesting idea by apple! I think that it should be released next year because it should be a very well made product. That is my opinion :)

ame says:

As much as I am an Apple lover, I just don't see the appeal. Newer, faster, better, stronger come out all the time and for significantly lower prices. I don't see the need for them to get into that market.

SockRolid says:

Looking forward to Apple's TV solution rollout.

Just so all the DigiTimes-es, Gene Munsters, and tech blogs of the world will STFU with the rumors.

asuperstarr says:

Well who can afford it. It wouldn't be the masses of their customers for sure. I can't wait for apple to release something so these stories can go away.

mulasien says:

As said previously, there is little to no reason why a full TV would make any sense for Apple:

1. People don't turn over their TV's every couple years, unlike phones/tablets which are advancing much quicker in technology.
2. Why create a full TV when the existing Apple TV box can plug into any existing TV with the same features. The price factor comes into play with more people being able to actually buy the Apple TV box vs. a full blown TV.
3. The 4000K rumor is ridiculous. Apple makes expensive, yet mostly affordable products for the masses. The masses cannot even think about buying a 4000K TV, let alone the lack of content for it.

The 4000K rumor is pure bull outright, but I'm still not convinced that even a 'standard' 1080p TV fits Apple's interests as well.

kralnor says:

To be fair we don't know if the existing apple TV can plug into any existing TV and provide the same features because we don't know what the "same features" are. I would hope that if they ever do release an actual TV set that its feature list will be a bit better than my current apple TV, since its not as good as my $50 Roku.

Also don't forget, everyone will want a 56" shiny aluminum rectangle (5% thinner than Samsung's tv) to hang on their wall.

AdrianGabeChen says:

if apple is indeed building an 4k tv than i don't think it's going to do well considering most 4k tv's are 10 of thousands of dollars

R1cki97 says:

Why will apple make a new tv? They need to focused on making an Iphone with more features and i guess the iwatch will be cool too

kralnor says:

Just for the simple fact that it's totally outside of apple's nature to be the first to market with an unproven technology digitimes should know better. Apple may someday produce a 4K TV, but not until they've already sold millions of 1080p TVs, and Sony/Samsung/Panasonic etc release a few poor implementations of 4k sets.

shinuyuki says:

This is a bullshit rumor. I mean come on. I may know little about Apple, but what I do know is that they like to wait until prices go down to make a bigger profit, or they wait for hardware to become more advanced. Seeing as how there is no 4k content, I seriously doubt Apple will be building a 4k TV. They may be mulling about a design; however, you most likely won't see a 4k TV from Apple until Late 2014 - Mid to late 2015. I just don't see it.

jaymandrumthingya says:

I'll wait for the retina display version the following year.

Navneet Teotia says:

Clearly, Apple isn't stupid enough to just push out just an expensive 4K TV in the market. But, another thing that does not make sense to the core is apple pushing out 1080p television. There are already enough in the market for that. Remember guys, they don't sell the product they sell the experience. And for that experience they must have had grand plans for a decade.

If they are doing it, then people think they are aiming at Television product market, but actually they are aiming at distribution mechanism of TV. They are probably in talk with content providers like HBO, NBC, sports organizers, etc to distribute via internet. Remember, content providers have content at extremely high quality and they can anytime request 4K from the original providers if the demand increases. Then apple will compress the 1080p's and 4K's. So, they are probably setting up the servers for doing so. They are on top for a reason guys.

--> For those who say it requires a high bandwidth - HVEC is out guys so x265 will be on work towards the end of this year too. compressing the videos approx 45% more compared to x264 (and that too not yet optimised). So, bandwidth problem is solved. And we didn't even consider the bandwidth increasing everyday.
--> For those who say there is a lack of 4K content - Yes there is, but that can be changed just within a year as the TV sells and HVEC x264. And it will sell for its services.

And about the price, if you pay it for Iphone that you change every two years. You will pay for an awesome TV that will last probably 7-8 years at least. Apple products are definitely expensive, but reasonably expensive so you can buy it and feel good about it.

When you would buy that TV the reasons would be a lot different and lot more logical at that time not just anyone's love for the company.

So, if that TV comes out, Apple's about to change the game again!

Also, if you want to get into more details about what it probably would be then i ve written an article about it already just google "techotreat apple".