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Apple HDTV rumor roundup

Talk of an Apple TV set dates back to 2009, but recent months have provided an avalanche of rumors. CNET has gathered them all in one convenient location for you.

Apple's current remote control.
Josh Lowensohn/CNET

There hasn't quite been this much hype, intrigue, and mystery around an Apple product since the first iPad.

We're speaking, of course, about Apple's TV set. A device that began as a twinkle in an analyst's eye, and has since ballooned into what just about everyone expects Apple to roll out as its next major flagship product.

But where are these rumors coming from? How have they changed? And most importantly, how are you supposed to keep up with them? CNET's rounded up all the major ones below, a document we plan to keep lovingly updated as more tidbits make their way out.

(Editors' note: This story was originally published on May 7, 2012. It has been regularly updated since then.)

April 3, 2013
Analyst: Apple 60-inch iTV with iRing motion controller to launch in 2013
Apple's working on a TV device that will use a small, finger-mounted remote to control on-screen navigation, says Topeka Capital analyst Brian White. The system will also work with an iPad-like "mini iTV" that lets users watch content on a second screen. The system could also make use of Apple's rumored iWatch product, White offers.

March 26, 2013
Apple iTV iffy this year because of supply issues, says report
Digitimes notes that orders for so-called 4K displays are already sorted out for 2013 from the top panel suppliers, making it unlikely such a set would arrive by year's end. The report goes on to say Apple may be looking at an early 2014 release instead.

March 12, 2013
Apple delays iTV to next year, Jefferies says
Citing supply checks, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek tells investors Apple's display providers -- LG and Sharp -- are having problems making enough of the super-high-resolution displays expected to be used in Apple's TV set.

January 23, 2013
Tim Cook dances around the Apple TV question -- again
Speaking to analysts on the company's fiscal first-quarter earnings call, CEO Tim Cook once again dances around a question about Apple's living-room ambitions. With that said, Cook notes that the company sold more than 2 million Apple TV units during the quarter, up from the 1.4 million during the same period last year.

December 19, 2012
Foxconn reportedly 'testing' up to 55-inch Apple TVs
Citing a source at Hon Hai (otherwise known as Foxconn), Focus Taiwan says the manufacturer is at work on some early testing of TV sets that range between 46 and 55 inches, and that they're due out in late 2014.

December 12, 2012
Apple TV is in 'early stage of testing,' report says
It's not a formal project yet, but Apple and suppliers Sharp and Hon Hai (aka Foxconn) are trying out designs for a large-screen, high-resolution TV, according to The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper's sources say that Apple has been testing television set prototypes "for a number of years."

December 11, 2012
Apple TV? You're ready to pay extra, analyst says
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty tells investors that consumers would be willing to pay a 20 percent premium on an Apple-made television, and that there's twice as much interest in purchasing such a unit versus Apple's mobile devices. That's based on the findings of a research survey the firm did, polling users on possible Apple TV scenarios.

December 6, 2012
Apple TV hinted at by CEO Tim Cook
In an interview with NBC, Apple CEO Cook notes that the TV experience in his own living room is like having "gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years," and that "it's an area of intense interest," for the company. It's not the first time Cook's been grilled over the company's own living room plans, but one of the first times Cook has said that Apple is eyeballing ways to improve the TV experience.

November 28, 2012
Time Warner CEO wants Apple to make a TV
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes tells attendees at a Business Insider conference he'd be very interested in Apple making a TV set, highlighting Apple's "great" devices as a good example of what could be done in the TV arena.

November 20, 2012
Apple TV won't debut until late 2013, says analyst
Somewhat rebutting a report from Jefferies & Co., Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster tells investors not to expect an Apple TV until late into 2013, specifically in November to match up with the holiday shopping season. Munster says the set would likely retail for $1,500 to $2,000 and be somewhere in the 42-inch to 55-inch range.

November 15, 2012
Analyst: Apple TV launch is 'imminent'
In a note to investors about cable technology company Arris Group, Jefferies & Co's James Kisner says the firm has heard rumblings from industry contacts that at least one major cable operator has been doing some tests to see if it can handle the extra bandwidth of an Apple TV set, suggesting its release is just around the corner.

November 12, 2012
New iPhone, iPad, and 'iTV' slated for first half of 2013?
The China Times says Apple is readying an "iTV" device for the first half of 2013. The report is unclear about whether that's a full-fledged TV set, or an updated version of Apple's current set-top box.

September 6, 2012
No new Apple TV this year, report says
With negotiations still in flux, Apple has no plans to put out a TV set or a new set-top box, says Bloomberg. In a report that cites anonymous sources, the outlet says Apple is still trying to work out deals with content companies and cable providers to decide who gets to sell the device: cable operators or Apple.

August 24, 2012
Apple exec: Television may not be in the cards for now
After an interview with Apple executive Eddy Cue, Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves shares with investors the feeling he got that Apple is not so hot about getting into the TV business.

August 16, 2012
Apple envisions new cloud DVR, social space in set-top box
In a follow-up to its report from the day before, The Wall Street Journal adds that Apple will bring digital video recording technology into its set-top box, along with user interface elements like what's seen on the iPad.

August 15, 2012
Apple TV could double as cable box, report says
Citing "people familiar with the matter," The Wall Street Journal says Apple has been in talks with cable operators in the U.S. to pitch its $99 set-top box as an alternative to the cable boxes that cable subscribers rent. The report suggests no deals have yet been made toward that goal but that Apple has at least talked with cable provider Time Warner.

Apple's DVR patent.
Apple's DVR patent. USPTO

August 14, 2012
Apple gets a patent for an Apple TV cable box
OK, so patents don't always lead to products or product features, but boy is this one interesting. Apple has been granted a patent that shows content playing while a user pulls up a menu that shows what's playing on other channels. The company originally filed for the patent in late-2006. Then there was no way to watch live TV channels on an Apple TV set-top box. And there still isn't.

June 21, 2012
Sharp set to deliver Apple TV parts to Foxconn in Q3?
Citing sources, Chinese news site 21cbh.com says Foxconn will begin getting parts -- specifically LCD displays from Sharp -- sometime in the fourth quarter to begin work on an Apple TV set.

An Apple TV software development kit?
An Apple TV software development kit? Apple

June 8, 2012
Apple TV to get its own SDK with apps to follow, report says
Adding to its previous claims of newly updated Apple TV software at WWDC, Boy Genius Report says Apple will offer a full-on software development kit for the platform. Said SDK would let developers build apps for the set-top box, just like they could for iOS and the Mac.

May 30, 2012
New Apple TV OS to debut at WWDC, report says
Mobile tech blog Boy Genius Report says Apple will unveil an updated version of its Apple TV operating system at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference that includes a feature to let the set-top box control third-party hardware.

May 28, 2012
Foxconn reportedly begins pilot production of Apple TV set
China Business News says that Foxconn is in the "trial production stage" of making TV sets for Apple. No other details are provided about the set, however.

May 25, 2012
Apple TV slated to debut in December?
Apple could have its TV set ready by December, with it ready to ship in early 2013, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. In the same note, Munster said the set would cost between $1,500 and $2,000 and run the gamut from 42 to 55 inches.

May 24 2012
Another idea for Apple's rumored TV: An 'iDevice'
Forrester analyst James McQuivey suggests a TV set from Apple would be more like a giant iPad married with Microsoft Kinect, enabling both touch and gesture controls, and apps.

May 14, 2012
Foxconn refutes claim it's making Apple TV sets
Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn says its chief executive made no such mention of working on an Apple TV set at a news conference in Shanghai, and that any reports otherwise are inaccurate. In a statement, the company said that chief executive Terry Gou "made it very clear that he would neither confirm nor speculate about Foxconn's involvement in the product," and that it was the company's policy not to talk about what it was working on for any customer.

HDTV maker Loewe surges, even as it nixes Apple rumor
It was an unconfirmed rumor and Loewe has said there's "absolutely nothing" to it. But considering Apple's penchant for secrecy and its efforts to keep past acquisitions out of the spotlight, Loewe shareholders are seemingly not so sure they can trust the company's dismissal.

May 11, 2012 - updated May 14
Foxconn chief weighs in on Apple television. Or not
The Apple supplier issues a denial to reports that CEO Terry Gou had said Foxconn was getting ready to produce the feverishly anticipated, but never yet announced, device.

Apple's third-generation Apple TV set top box arrived in early March, bringing 1080p with it.
Apple's third-generation Apple TV set top box arrived in early March, bringing 1080p with it. Sarah Tew/CNET

May 7, 2012
Apple HDTV prototype spotted, blog claims
Cult of Mac says it has a source who has seen Apple's rumored television, which apparently looks like a large Apple computer display, has built-in iSight, and makes use of Siri. There's even a picture! Well, OK, a mockup.

May 3, 2012
Apple TV set may not launch until 2014, says analyst
J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz has some bad news for those expecting an Apple-made TV set sometime in 2012. In a note, Moskowitz said that the "economics of the TV industry are strained," and that Apple was not going to hop into the crowded market until it could garner better margins.

April 27, 2012
Apple TV set chatter heats up with rumored content talks
According to Reuters, movie channel Epix -- a joint venture of Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM -- has been in talks with Apple to bring its content to Apple's digital stores. The interesting tidbit, Reuters says, is that Apple's been pitching a deal that would bring the content beyond its $99 set top box, and to "upcoming devices that stream content."

April 5, 2012
Apple's iTV: Will it be called iPanel?
In a note to investors, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek says the expected television from Apple will be "far more than a TV." Misek added that the device would be called the "iPanel."

"We now believe the iTV could be called 'iPanel' as it is far more than a TV; it is a display, gaming center, media hub, computer, home automator, etc," he said. "Also, Apple would likely have difficulty getting naming rights from the UK TV network ITV."

February 6, 2012
Canadian telecoms vie to become Apple TV launch partner
Cable companies Rogers Communications and BCE have been in talks with Apple to be the launch network for Apple's TV set, says The Globe and Mail. Citing multiple unnamed forces, the outlet added that both companies already have the product in their labs for testing.

Apple TV for $1,499? Would you buy it?
A Best Buy customer survey asks the question of whether a 42-inch Apple HDTV would sit well at $1,499. The survey mentions that the device would have iOS and be able to buy and play apps and games from the App Store. It would also be hooked up to iCloud to store movies, TV shows and music. Other features include iSight cameras and microphones. The next day, Best Buy said that survey was "hypothetical."

January 31, 2012
Apple reportedly scouting TV display components
In a note to investors, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster mentions speaking to "a major TV component supplier who has been contacted by Apple regarding various capabilities of their television display components." Adding to that, Munster says meetings in Asia suggested the company was scouting investments on LCD technology between 3.5 to 55-inches.

January 4, 2012
The 50-inch Apple TV set rumor re-emerges
In a report about Apple's rumored TV business, USA Today cites an unnamed source who worked at Apple who said that "Apple is said to be looking at a 42-inch or larger LCD TV with built-in Wi-Fi." That same source said Apple VP of industrial design Jony Ive already had "a slick 50-inch TV" in the company's design studio.

December 27, 2011
First Apple TVs to come this summer at 32 and 37 inches?
According to Taiwan-based component news site Digitimes, Apple is in the process of ordering components to build 32-inch and 37-inch TV sets, which would go on sale in the second half of 2012.

December 18, 2011
Voice-controlled Apple TV in the works?
Apple executives have reportedly been in talks with media executives at several companies, says the Wall Street Journal. The report added that Apple's working on a technology that can identify users on devices like phones, tablets and TVs. Further out is technology that would let users change channels and search for content with their voice (presumably using Apple's Siri voice assistant), the Journal's sources said.

December 1, 2011
Apple TV sets will be mighty pricey, analyst says
Talking to attendees at Business Insider's Ignition conference, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster suggested that if Apple's TV will cost quite a bit more than standard TV sets. The example given was an $800 set, which Munster said would run customers $1,600. There would, however, be several choices and configurations to pick from Munster offered.

October 25, 2011
iTunes creator working on Apple TV, report says
The person leading Apple's internal TV efforts is the same one who helped create iTunes and develop the iPod, according to Bloomberg. Citing multiple sources, the outlet reported the Jeff Robin, Apple's vice president of consumer applications had a prototype in the works.

October 24, 2011
The 50-inch Apple TV set rumor re-emerges
Apple's TV set will be 42-inches or larger with built-in Wi-Fi according to an unnamed Apple source who talked to USA Today. That same source said Apple VP of industrial design Jony Ive already had "a slick 50-inch TV" in the company's design studio.

July 25, 2011
Rumor: New Apple iDevice to be 55-inch OLED TV
According to a "Hollywood lawyer" interviewed by online lifestyle outlet Smarthouse, Apple's been in talks to get the rights for U.S. TV shows. That same source said that the TV would feature OLED screen technology, hang in the 55-inch category, and launch sometime in 2012.

July 11, 2011
Analyst: Apple ripe for HDTV and 'Genius Squad'
In a note to investors, UBS Investment Research analyst Maynard Um offers up that Apple could expand its tech support offerings with the help of a TV set. Um suggests that Apple's in a good position to boost its market cap by anywhere from $50 billion to $100 billion by getting into the business of making and selling connected TV sets. Um cites growth in both the flat-panel TV market, as well as Internet-connected set-top boxes, adding that Apple could expand its Genius Bar support services with a paid element to help the customer get it set up back at his or her home.


June 23, 2011
Analyst: iCloud linked to Apple's TV ambitions
Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster says Apple's iCloud will be the key to Apple's television efforts. "Apple's iCloud service for media storage makes it simpler to own multiple Apple devices and share content among them," Munster wrote in a note to investors. "At first the only media iCloud will store is music and pictures, but we believe Apple may add movies and TV shows purchased or rented in iTunes to the iCloud service, which could be viewed on a TV."

April 13, 2011
Report: Apple TV set could be coming this year
In a note to investors, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White said that Apple was moving towards offering a TV set of its own "at a faster pace than the market expected," and could have that product launch by the end of the year.

February 18, 2011
Job listing hints at work on Apple TV set
A new job listing says the company's looking for people who know about power supply for, among other gadgets, televisions. Could the Apple TV finally be ready to morph into an Apple-branded television?

January 3, 2011
Will Apple release a TV by end of 2012?
Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster sent a note to investors saying Apple would be in the TV market by the end of 2012. "While Apple's commitment to the living room remains a 'hobby,' we continue to believe the company will enter the TV market with a full focus, as an all-in-one Apple television could move the needle when connected TVs proliferate," Munster said.