According to a report on Chinese news site 21cbh.com, relayed by Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, Sharp is stepping up production of LCD TV panels for Apple’s television, and is on track to deliver them to Foxconn starting next quarter.
Earlier reports estimated the production of Apple’s television sets to start in Q4, which has now been pushed up to the third quarter, right in time for the holiday season.
From White’s research note:
This morning, the Chinese character version of 21cbh.com indicated in an article that Hon Hai Precision expects to start receiving LCD TV panel orders from Sharp in 3Q12 instead of 4Q12 as was originally planned. Recall, Hon Hai invested in Sharp earlier this year to secure LCD panels that we believe will largely support a new Apple TV. Based on a recent interview by 21cbh.com with a Sharp executive and information from sources at the company, the online news source believes the order is for the new Apple TV and could be available for the holiday season. In our view, a holiday launch would make for a very merry holiday season for Apple and consumers. However, we will continue to monitor the data points surrounding the timing of this launch as they could change.
Whites estimates the television to contribute $10 billion to Apple’s revenues annually, with just 2 percent of LCD TV marketshare.
With most of Apple’s product line transitioning to Retina displays, it’ll be interesting to what resolution does Apple’s television natively support.
Foxconn made a strategic investment of $808 million for a 10 percent stake in Sharp a few months ago, making the company Sharp’s biggest shareholder. Yesterday, Foxconn’s chief Terry Gou was quoted as saying that the company’s alliance with Sharp would help it race ahead of Samsung in a few years.
This alliance will benefit not just Foxconn and Sharp, the two companies involved directly, but also Apple, which has working ties with both these companies.
A launch right before the holiday season worked wonders for iPhone 4S sales, and although the Apple television doesn’t really fall in the same category of products as the iPhone, the holiday season typically generates the highest demand for electronic products.