Apple television set rumors switched back on by new factory

When you think of Apple you think, for the most part, of small screens: 5.5-inch iPhones, 9.7-inch iPads, or maybe the 27-inch screens found in the largest iMac models. 

The company hasn’t produced any large standalone screens since it discontinued its Thunderbolt displays late last year, in favor of producing them in partnership with LG instead. 

But now Apple’s investing jointly in a new $7bn US manufacturing facility, and it’s one that its partner Foxconn has said will be producing ‘larger display panels’. The statement has resurrected an old rumor that Apple might be thinking about getting into the television business.

A place for Apple TV

Apple of course already has its stake in the TV business. Its Apple TV set-top box plugs into user’s existing television sets and allows access to a variety of streaming apps.

However, as Nasdaq notes, a deeper level of integration with TV hardware would bring little benefit to Apple. Sure, it could built its Apple TV software directly into the sets themselves, but margins on TV hardware are narrow, due to the commoditization of the market.

It’s likely for these reasons that Apple abandoned its TV ambitions the first time round, after allegedly having been mulling them over for around a decade.

Instead Apple's focus increasingly appears to be with original content, which would be exclusive to its own digital store. 

So what’s this new facility all about then? Our bet is on it producing large displays for car dashboards as part of its Apple CarPlay initiative. 

It’s a long shot, but short of getting back into the monitor business we can’t see another reason for Apple to have a need for ‘larger display panels’.

Jon Porter

Jon Porter is the ex-Home Technology Writer for TechRadar. He has also previously written for Practical Photoshop, Trusted Reviews, Inside Higher Ed, Al Bawaba, Gizmodo UK, Genetic Literacy Project, Via Satellite, Real Homes and Plant Services Magazine, and you can now find him writing for The Verge.