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Apple TV screen to be made by Sharp, coming next year?

An analyst claims the screen for Apple's rumoured forthcoming TV will be made by Japanese tech giant Sharp.

Sharp is just one of the companies making panels for the iPad 3, if you believe the rumours, but it's also making the screen for Apple's forthcoming television, according to an analyst.

Jeffries analyst Peter Misek says Sharp is retooling a production line at its Sakai factory to make modified amorphous TFT LCD panels to be used in Apple's TV, AllThingsD reports. The TV will also be on sale in the middle of next year -- earlier than previously predicted -- says Misek.

The set will be called iTV, according to Misek, though that name had to be dropped for Apple TV after the broadcaster ITV (which holds the rights to the name in the UK) threatened to take legal action. So we reckon it'll be called simply Apple TV.

The television should be ready for commercial production by February 2012, which means it could go on sale as early as the middle of next year. Previously analysts said it wouldn't hit the shelves until 2013.

Other television manufacturers are understandably panicked about Apple dominating its industry the way it did mobile phones. "Based on our discussions, interestingly other TV manufacturers have begun a scrambling search to identify what iTV will be and do," said Misek. "They hope to avoid the fate of other industries and manufacturers who were caught flat-footed by Apple."

But their efforts are likely to be in vain, according to Misek. "Mainstream TV manufacturers are likely to be at least 6 to 12 months behind in a best-case scenario."

Steve Jobs said the original iPhone was 5 years ahead of the competition, and -- in terms of user interface -- he was proved right.

Another rumour suggests Apple's TV will have Siri for voice control, doing away with the remote completely. Steve Jobs said the set would have "the simplest user interface you could imagine," so we wouldn't put it past the company.