Tech Industry

Foxconn, Sharp eying Apple big-screen TV, says parts maker

Need more reassurance that an Apple big-screen TV is on the way? A screen component manufacturer in Asia muses on the potential of the Foxconn-Sharp alliance.

Sharp 60-inch TV.

Foxconn aims to use its investment in Sharp to land orders for Apple's upcoming large-screen TV -- so the ongoing speculation goes.

The latest guesswork comes from Asia Ho Chao-yang, former president of Chimei Innolux, Taiwan's largest LCD maker, and current chairman of Chi Mei Materials Technology, who concludes that Foxconn Electronics' investment in Sharp is a play to "secure iTV orders from Apple," according to Taipei-based DigiTimes.

Ho added that the launch of an iTV would benefit polarizer makers, of which Chi Mei Materials is one.

This is by no means the first time that Foxconn-Sharp theory has been floated. There was a rash of speculation when it was revealed that Foxconn (aka, Hon Hai) would invest $1.6 billion in Sharp earlier this year.

At that time, Daiwa Capital Markets' analysts claimed that the Sharp-Foxconn deal telegraphed a new TV from Apple.

"We expect Apple to debut the iTV by the end of this year, and it is likely to adopt Sharp's 10th generation TFT production line to product TFT LCDs for iTVs," the analysts wrote, adding that the Sharp investment gives Foxconn better "vertical integration" for the Apple iTV.

Needless to say, Foxconn isn't saying anything about an Apple HDTV and Foxconn CEO Terry Gou was quick to refute any claims last month that his company was working on one.

But, hey, what else is he going to say? Apple's biggest manufacturing partner would be the last company to tell the world it was working on an upcoming Apple product.

And let's not forget what Steve Jobs said about an Apple TV: that he wanted "to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," and that he had "finally cracked it."

The wish-list of an Apple HDTV includes features such as a Retina Display, IGZO technology, iCloud integration, SIRI technology, and Facetime, among other goodies.