The Wall Street Journal is out with a report this Wednesday morning with a headline that gets straight to the point: "Apple Tests Designs for TV."
Sources told the Journal that Apple is "working with component suppliers in Asia to test several TV-set designs," but that Apple's move to release a television is "still in the early stage of testing."
What's the significance of the report? Well, you can simply add it to the pile of evidence that Apple is at least considering producing a TV set of its own. Since Steve Jobs admitted to biographer Walter Isaacson that he was interested in creating a television set, with "the simplest user interface you could imagine" and integration with iCloud, speculation has been rampant that Apple must be cobbling something together in its laboratories.
However, there has has been scant evidence so far. Various reports over the past year have placed a prototype TV set in Jony Ive's secret bunker, and a few news outlets have covered Apple's unsuccessful talks with cable providers and television networks to license content for either a set-top box or television.
Wednesday morning's WSJ article is another solid bit of evidence that Apple is at least testing the waters, but there is no indication that the company will jump into the pool. Companies like Apple develop prototypes of several devices that never make it into full-scale production, and Apple's whispered-about television set could end up on the top of the trash heap, too. SlashGear's Chris Davies speculates that, one day, you'll be able to find Apple's television "in the storeroom by the netbook prototypes."
But even skeptics must admit that the iTV has gained some special momentum this week. The WSJ piece follows CEO Tim Cook's comments that television is "an area of intense interest" for Apple in an interview with Brian Williams (and Tim Cook is a man who chooses his words very carefully); the Wall Street Journal is also read as an outlet with especially close ties to sources both within Apple and on the Apple supply chain, so its coverage can be read with more interest and credulity than, say, the regular Wall Street analyst chatter.
Still, it's worth reiterating: A lot of gadgets go into trial production. No need to start saving up your money for that iTV until we hear that Apple is ramping up for something on a larger scale.
Check out last week's biggest Apple rumors (including more on that Tim Cook-iTV comment) below:
Get ready for your head to spin around, your knees to shake and your body temperature to become all but unbearable: A website claims to have the first photographs of the iPhone 5S (or whatever it is the iPhone that follows the iPhone 5 is called). At your left, you can see what the website EtradeSupply is claiming is the shell of an iPhone 5S. Now, I know what you're thinking: "This looks exactly like an iPhone 5, Jason. How do we know this isn't just an iPhone 5, Jason? Well, check out the inside of the iPhone...[next slide]
Highlighted in red, yellow, blue and purple by ETradeSupply.net are the little differences between the iPhone 5's rear shell and the purported iPhone 5S's rear shell. Things are moved around, enlarged, shrunken and changed. That's how the alleged iPhone 5S in the photo differs from your iPhone 5. (Cue that guy from Samsung's iSheep commercial: "I heard that on this one, they changed the architecture of the logic board." ::Makes hand motion of mind being blown::) This is far from being a sure thing, nor is ETradeSupply.net the most trustworthy site on the Internet when it comes to Apple rumors. But it does, at the very least, add a bit more fuel to a previous rumor, which claimed that Apple was beginning trial production on the iPhone 5S, for an earlier-than-usual release in 2013, perhaps in the spring or summer. The iPhone 5, you'll remember, was released in October; generally, Apple waits exactly one year to release a followup. With the iPad 4 following the iPad 3 by about eight months, however, Apple might be shifting its predictable schedule a bit. This story is still far too immature to influence your buying decisions, nor should you bet any money on an early release, or an iPhone 5S with the same design as the iPhone 5. We will be following Apple's successor to the hot-selling iPhone 5 here, though, on HuffPost's Apple Rumors, as the (oft-dubious) photos and accounts roll in. Because that's what we do here.
Apple CEO/guy-who-is-richer-than-you Tim Cook sat down for two interviews this week: One with with Bloomberg's Josh Tyrangiel, and one with NBC's Brian Williams. Of note for Apple rumor hawks is that Cook said to Williams that a television is an "area of intense interest" for Apple, which means that, yes, the company is still tinkering away on it. Of course, we still know almost nothing about what a so-called "iTV" would actually do, or how it would revolutionize the experience. As we wrote earlier this week, the regular pundits and prognosticators predict use of Siri, iCloud integration, connection to iTunes and some sort of deal with cable companies or the networks to change the way that customers pay for content. Earlier this week, there was yet another call by a Wall Street analyst for the iTV's release in 2013, joining famed Apple analyst Gene Munster's prediction from November. Analysts have been predicting Apple would come out with a television every year since 2011, however, so this is more of an annual tradition than a firm indicator of Apple's plans. Still, we know Apple is at least plugging away on what remains its most mysterious unreleased product... ...with the exception, of course, of those Apple Glasses that the company might have to unleash if Google's version becomes a hit...
Patently Apple, a blog that covers Apple patents, reports that Apple has won yet another set of patents covering a device similar to Google's Project Glass (aka Google Glasses), which are due out for the public by the end of 2013. This patent, Patently Apple reports, covers "a set of goggles that fit over the user's eyes with display and perhaps sound producing capability, a faceplate that covers the front of the user's face with display and perhaps sound producing capability, or any other headwear that has display and perhaps sound producing capability." In other words: A display you wear on your head. You can read all about the patent at Patently Apple, but what you need to know for now is this: Apple is still working on eyeglasses, with a small display in front of the eyes, and a microphone and speaker, and wireless connection. It's not waiting to see if Google's will prove popular to start on its own: It has already started. You may just be wearing iGlasses by this time next year. That's all for this week's edition of This Week In Apple Rumors. Please join us again for next week's TWIAR, or, if you can't wait that long, remember that you can get all the latest Apple rumors by following me on Twitter right here.