Apple's first TV confirmed by Foxconn

Several hurdles still stand in the way of Apple producing its first TV.

By Benzinga May 11, 2012 7:28PM

By Louis Bedigian, Benzinga Staff Writer

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, said that Apple (AAPL) is making preparations for a device he referred to as "iTV."

China Daily wrote that the television features aluminum casing, the Siri voice recognition software and Apple's FaceTime video calling app. Gou said that Foxconn has prepared for the new device by entering a recent joint venture for a factory with Sharp in Japan.

One would assume that Foxconn, as Apple's key manufacturing partner, would never do anything to jeopardize the relationship. If the China Daily report is accurate, then this is practically a confirmation that an Apple television does, in fact, exist. On the other hand, it is wholly possible that either China Daily or Gou is simply wrong.

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 for new products. 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. 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.

Apple has already modified the name of one of its products, the iPad, to become as generic as possible. Customers who want the device don't need to request the iPad 3 or iPad 2 at a Target (TGT) or Best Buy (BBY). They simply ask for "the new iPad" and walk out with a new 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, particularly when it comes to branding. 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 go into a store, look at the displays, and pick one out. Others say, "I'm looking for a Sony (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"?

More from Benzinga
May 11, 2012 10:21PM
There's more than one name they can use... like iView.
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