Report: Apple TV to launch summer 2012

After months and months of rumors, and Steve Jobs even saying in his autobiography that he’d cracked making TV better, reports are beginning to come fast and furious about an Apple branded TV.

One of the strongest comes from DigiTimes, which reports via industry sources that Apple has already begun to lower prices for its Apple TV set-top box and will be launching a full fledged TV next summer.  The TVs will come in 32- and 37-inch sizes, the report says:

The supply chain of Apple will start preparing materials for iTV sets in the first quarter of 2012 in order to meet Apple’s schedule to launch the new display products in the second or the third quarter of 2012, according to industry sources.

Instead of a form of set-top box (STB) like the Apple TV launched in 2006, Apple’s new products will be full TV sets, the sources added.

Media reports in Korea also indicated that Samsung Electronics started producing chips for the iTVs in November 2011, while Sharp will produce the displays for the new TVs.

If this is true we’d expect for Apple to continue to produce its Apple TV set-top box, which recently got a slight price drop on Amazon. As for the full fledged TV, we wonder about cost. You can get 37 inch sets for less than $500 now.

The Wall Street journal had previously published a piece pondering how Apple might use Siri to power its new TV. That makes sense. Being able to change the channel or surf via voice or play a movie by simply asking would be powerful. Xbox 360 Kinect does this to a point, but Apple should make it smoother. There are also rumors of Apple using iCloud as a digital DVR server, giving users instant voice-controlled access to content. Could be cool.

Stay tuned.

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