American technology giant Apple is shifting partnerships in All Japan news towards Sharp, eyeing the production of a brand-new TV range which may be called iTV.
The partnership with Sharp is made at the expense of South Korean rival Samsung Electronics, which Apple is competing especially on the smartphones and tablet markets, according to Peter Misek, an analyst of New York-based investment company Jefferies.
"It’s a huge deal for Sharp because they spent significant amounts of capital to try and expand capacity and upgrade their facilities," Misek explained. "It gives Apple a partner that they can control manufacturing and secure supply at a lower price."
Apple’s rivals, including Samsung, are making efforts to figure out what will be Apple’s next move on the TV segment. Apple will use a production line at Sharp’s Sakai factory to produce a modified version of the so-called amorphous TFT screens. The “iTV” may start production in February, the analyst said.
“Other TV manufacturers have begun a scrambling search to identify what iTV will be and do,” Misek added.