Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Anything new in the Wall St. Journal's Apple TV story?

December 12, 2012: 7:51 AM ET

Once again, the Journal has stoked the fires of Apple TV set speculation

377008765270FORTUNE -- It's almost exactly a year since the Wall Street Journal sent shivers of anticipatory glee through the Apple (AAPL) investment community with a report on the company's "assault" on the TV business.

That story, based on leaks from media executives who had asked Apple to brief them on its plans, suggested that Cupertino was pursuing two paths: 1) building its own television that would "feature wireless streaming to access shows, movies and content" or 2) building on the capabilities of Apple TV, the $99 set-top box that according to Tim Cook's recent interviews has progressed beyond a "hobby."

Wednesday's Journal revisits the topic but adds little new information. It reports that the company is working with suppliers in Asia to test several TV-set designs. That's not exactly breaking news; Jefferies' Peter Misek reported as much two days earlier. Moreover, as the Journal notes, Apple tries out new designs with suppliers all the time, and has been testing various TV prototypes for years.

More important, the Journal story comes no closer to specifying which path -- TV set or set-top box -- Apple has chosen to pursue. According to its authors, Lorraine Luk and Jessica Lessin:

Apple could opt not to proceed with the device and how a large-screen TV fits with its overall strategy for remaking watching TV remains unclear. Apple has also been talking to cable television operators about building a box that would carry live television, according to people familiar with the matter.

We're back where we were last December -- or, for that matter, in December 2010, when the Journal ran the first of its pre-Christmas Apple TV stories. We're sticking with the theory we favored a year ago: That Apple's solution to the TV problem may already be here, hiding in plain sight.

See also: Morgan Stanley: Apple could sell 13 million TV sets at $1,060 each

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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