Apple considered buying stake in Sharp to aid development of television - report

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


As it is believed to be gearing up to launch its own television, Apple initially considered investing in Sharp's LCD business, but the company instead opted to let its manufacturing partner Foxconn fill that role, according to a new report.



It was announced last month that Foxconn bought a 10 percent stake in Sharp to help boost the company's money-losing LCD business. As part of the deal Foxconn will utilize Sharp's state-of-the-art LCD factory that opened in Sakai in 2009.



But before Foxconn stepped in and invested in Sharp, Apple considered buying a stake in the company, according to analyst Brian White with Topeka Capital Markets.



White was relayed the information while attending a technology trade show in China this week, and he revealed it in a note issued to investors on Friday. He said Apple "originally debated" whether it should invest in the LCD market, but ultimately decided against it.



"In our view, if Apple was willing to consider investing in the supply chain to exert influence in an area deemed important to the company's future, we wonder what else the company might consider," White said.



Reports out of the Far East have suggested that Foxconn's partnership with Sharp will give both companies an opportunity to produce IGZO displays for Apple's anticipated television set. By teaming up, it is believed that both Foxconn and sharp have a better chance of receiving orders from Apple.











The news that Apple apparently considered investing in Sharp comes as the company announced on Friday that it has begun production of the world's first LCD panels incorporating IGZO technology. IGZO displays will allow Sharp to produce thinner and more power efficient LCDs.



The initial run of IGZO screens will come in three sizes: 7 inches for tablets, 10 inches with 300 pixels per inch for high-definition notebook PCs, and 32 inches at a resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels for LCD monitors.



As for the possibility of Apple further investing in its supply chain, White suggested that the company could try to exert influence over management at Foxconn by taking a position on their board. This would send a signal that initiatives at it and other partners are being closely monitored.



"With growing concern around treatment of workers at Apple's suppliers and heightened media coverage, we believe one option for Apple to better control the worker controversy is to have an Apple executive on the board of directors of certain suppliers and help manage the situation," White said. "This would send a clear message that Apple is deeply concerned with the treatment of workers at suppliers."



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    red oakred oak Posts: 679member
    I'm a little surprised Apple has NOT made an investment in this area thus far. Especially given that the Retina opportunity is across its whole product portfolio



    I see display technology as important as the microprocessor
  • Reply 2 of 41
    irelandireland Posts: 17,685member
    Apple aren't going to make a TV, guys.



    /s
  • Reply 3 of 41
    I want a Sharp 32" 8K display so I can see every pore on Hugh Laurie's face.
  • Reply 4 of 41
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,511member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Apple aren't going to make a TV, guys.



    /s



    I tend to agree, even though both of us used to think they would. Margins on TVs are pitiful. Apple will make an evolutionary step with whatever they have been planning.
  • Reply 5 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Apple aren't going to make a TV, guys.



    /s



    Every time there is a rumour about an upcoming Apple HDTV you pay yourself on the back. It's a rumour!



    On top of that, your prediction has never veered from having Apple make a TV so you'd have one less remote to deal with and an Apple logo on your TV set. If you have stated something profound about how this could be a profitable and revolutionary product (the way people predicted Apple could leverage their skills before the iPhone and iPad were announced) I certainly haven't read it.



    Apple may release a TV but it's not any concept I've seen you present so if you have a strategy that you think would make this a viable product for Apple you should express it because your smarmy one liners patting yourself on the back just come across as douchey.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I tend to agree, even though both of us used to think they would. Margins on TVs are pitiful. Apple will make an evolutionary step with whatever they have been planning.



    He concluded his comment with the /s for sarcasm.
  • Reply 6 of 41
    quinneyquinney Posts: 2,526member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Every time there is a rumour about an upcoming Apple HDTV you pay yourself on the back. It's a rumour!



    On top of that, your prediction has never veered from having Apple make a TV so you'd have one less remote to deal with and an Apple logo on your TV set. If you have stated something profound about how this could be a profitable and revolutionary product (the way people predicted Apple could leverage their skills before the iPhone and iPad were announced) I certainly haven't read it.



    Apple may release a TV but it's not any concept I've seen you present so if you have a strategy that you think would make this a viable product for Apple you should express it because your smarmy one liners patting yourself on the back just come across as douchey.



    He should post some mockups, like those he posted for his predicted iPhone mini.
  • Reply 7 of 41
    isheldonisheldon Posts: 570member
    Sharp TVs are godawful.
  • Reply 8 of 41
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    Apple aren't going to make a TV, guys.



    /s



    So we're supposed to get all excited about a rumor that supports a previous rumor that never came true?



    Thanks, but I'll stick with the real world.
  • Reply 9 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by quinney View Post


    He should post some mockups, like those he posted for his predicted iPhone mini.



    I do miss his mock ups.



    I also wish AI would hire someone to create mockups. Besides seeing the same image used several times a week I think some AI-made mockups would encourage more readership.
  • Reply 10 of 41
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    I want a Sharp 32" 8K display so I can see every pore on Hugh Laurie's face.



    Apple has no reason to make a 32 inch display with Retina resolution. It is not integral to any of their other products, perhaps Aperture, although, many high end professional photographers have moved past that at this point to solutions such as Phase One or Digital Express.
  • Reply 11 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    I tend to agree, even though both of us used to think they would. Margins on TVs are pitiful. ....



    Margins on TVs are only pitiful because manufacturers compete on price. Apple doesn't do that.



    Everything they make has roughly the same (large) margin with few exceptions. If this means that it's more expensive than the rest, then that's just the way it is. If this more expensive product doesn't sell, then they stop making it.



    I don't see anything stopping Apple from making a TV. At the very least, the same margin argument could be made about every product they have come out with and every product they have been wildly successful with in the last ten or twenty years. I remember in particular the same argument being made about their computers in the 90's and the same argument being made about the iPhone before it came out also.
  • Reply 12 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


    I want a Sharp 32" 8K display so I can see every pore on Hugh Laurie's face.



    It would almost certainly be a disaster for Apple if they try to enter the TV market with something as small as a 32" TV.



    Anything under 42" is considered a "secondary" or bedroom/rec-room TV nowadays.
  • Reply 13 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Margins on TVs are only pitiful because manufacturers compete on price. Apple doesn't do that.



    Everything they make has roughly the same (large) margin with few exceptions. If this means that it's more expensive than the rest, then that's just the way it is. If this more expensive product doesn't sell, then they stop making it.



    I don't see anything stopping Apple from making a TV. At the very least the same margin argument could be made about every product they have come out with and every product they have been wildly successful with in the last ten or twenty years. I remember in particular the same argument being made about their computers in the 90's and the same argument being made about the iPhone before it came out also.



    Sure they do! Just look at the $999 iPad... I mean $499... that no one can compete with. Also look at the iPhone being sold at the same subsidized price as other smartphones. These are Apple's two most profitable arms. You can also look at their Macs where they are cheaper than comparable PCs.



    As Jobs has repeatedly stated they will enter a market if they feel they have a viable strategy. Slapping an Apple TV and logo onto an HDTV isn't not good enough. There needs to be a reason why one would buy an Apple HDTV that does nothing more than an Apple TV connected to your current, already paid for, HDTV that will have size and feature options no one vendor can offer, especially not Apple.
  • Reply 14 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    It would almost certainly be a disaster for Apple if they try to enter the TV market with something as small as a 32" TV.



    Anything under 42" is considered a "secondary" or bedroom/rec-room TV nowadays.



    Why is the bedroom/den/rec room not a viable market for a TV? This is where the whole "Wouldn't be awesome if Apple made a TV?" argument falls apart. It's just a stationary monitor where the room and furniture dictate the ideal size more than the user's specific needs.



    To say that it can't be 32" means that Apple would eschew users who want them for dorms, bedrooms, offices, etc. That's why having any number of vendors create any number of monitor sizes, styles, features, et al. makes more sense.
  • Reply 15 of 41
    peter236peter236 Posts: 254member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    It would almost certainly be a disaster for Apple if they try to enter the TV market with something as small as a 32" TV.



    Anything under 42" is considered a "secondary" or bedroom/rec-room TV nowadays.



    This is not true in Japan, Europe, China, Korea, South East Asia and India where the average apartments are smaller in size.

    Apple wants to sell its TV all over the world.
  • Reply 16 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Why is the bedroom/den/rec room not a viable market for a TV? This is where the whole "Wouldn't be awesome if Apple made a TV?" argument falls apart. It's just a stationary monitor where the room and furniture dictate the ideal size more than the user's specific needs.



    To say that it can't be 32" means that Apple would eschew users who want them for dorms, bedrooms, offices, etc. That's why having any number of vendors create any number of monitor sizes, styles, features, et al. makes more sense.



    I'm not saying it "can't" be 32".



    I'm just saying that the TV's get bigger every year, that 42" is the new "average" and that 50-80 inches is the new "big TV." I didn't mention (but it's a relevant fact), that pretty much all new TV technology debuts on the latest, greatest, and largest TV's.



    Therefore & ipso facto etc. ....



    It seems to me that to "debut" this astounding new product by bringing it to market on a tiny little TV, that's barely larger than today's average computer monitor, would indeed be "a disaster."



    They would be laughed at. Hard.
  • Reply 17 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by peter236 View Post


    This is not true in Japan, Europe, China, Korea, South East Asia and India where the average apartments are smaller in size.

    Apple wants to sell its TV all over the world.



    Didn't think of that. I am only aware of what's selling in North America & Europe.



    It's a rare apartment that does't have a spare wall though and TVs are really best hanging on a wall at anything over 20" or so. I live in a tiny apartment and I could easily fit an 80" or 90" TV on my living room wall should such a thing exist.
  • Reply 18 of 41
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Red Oak View Post


    I'm a little surprised Apple has NOT made an investment in this area thus far. Especially given that the Retina opportunity is across its whole product portfolio



    I see display technology as important as the microprocessor



    I would guess Apple prefers to be free to use the best technology currently available. If they invested directly in Sharp, and IGZO turns out to be a bust, what then? Dive headfirst into the flat panel business and try to out-engineer the competition by driving Sharp to come up with something better? Because that's a really, really expensive way to go.



    Instead, they can let Foxconn and Sharp do their thing, see if works, and if it does bring boatloads of cash to lock-up their production runs. If not, they can hold their noses and keep using Samsung panels, and if something else comes along out of left field that's a game changer, they can take their money elsewhere.
  • Reply 19 of 41
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post




    Apple may release a TV but it's not any concept I've seen you present so if you have a strategy that you think would make this a viable product for Apple you should express it because your smarmy one liners patting yourself on the back just come across as douchey.








    It will be a screen with an iOS "computer" inside. No wired except power. You'll be able to buy stuff from Apple with it. You'll be able to buy Apple licensed accessories for it.



    It will stream anything from any existing Apple product, plus you will be able to buy contnet from Apple.



    It will not have a tuner built in. If you are a die hard, you could plug your cable box into a wireless transmitter.
  • Reply 20 of 41
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    I'm not saying it "can't" be 32".



    I'm just saying that the TV's get bigger every year, that 42" is the new "average" and that 50-80 inches is the new "big TV." I didn't mention (but it's a relevant fact), that pretty much all new TV technology debuts on the latest, greatest, and largest TV's.



    Therefore & ipso facto etc. ....



    It seems to me that to "debut" this astounding new product by bringing it to market on a tiny little TV, that's barely larger than today's average computer monitor, would indeed be "a disaster."



    They would be laughed at. Hard.



    I don't disagree about the latest tech typically being on the largest TVs but that is one primary metric for "oohing' and "aahing" an audience. One exception was the 11" Sony XEL-1 OLED TV for $2,499 back in 2008.



    But all that goes along with what I've been saying about slapping an Apple logo on a big ass monitor does not a market make.
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