Yesterday Patently Apple posted a report titled “Apple Snags Matt Cherniss, Former President of WGN America, for Entertainment Programming Development.” This hire seemed to lock in the reality that Apple is getting serious about creating top tier content that could support a new entertainment service to join other services on the market today by Netflix and Amazon. At one point in time Apple decided that the mobile phone could one day threaten their iPod and iTunes store and so they decided to invent the iPhone to save their music market. Although Apple has toyed with TV as the next big market for over a decade, not much had ever materialized. Apple TV the set-top-box was considered a hobby product for years and while they’ll be upgrading it this year to support 4K displays, we have to begin rethinking Apple’s future as a major player in entertainment content. With Amazon bundling in Prime music with their TV content, Apple may now begin to see services like this as a potential threat. If they’re doubling down on content, the idea of an Apple HDTV on the drawing board has to be seriously entertained.

When Foxconn announced their new plant for Wisconsin on July 26, Chairman Terry Gou listed some of the main products his new plant would produce. Gou said that while TV was invented in America, there were no U.S. plants making televisions anymore. His company’s first product focus will be 8K TVs. It sound like TV will be ‘reinvented’ and that sounds like something Apple would be interested in.

If Apple has a prayer in cracking the HDTV market they’d have to do it in the U.S. first where they have their strongest fan base and deals worked out with other major content creators. So while there appears to be absolutely no connection between Foxconn’s 8K televisions and Apple today, you have to wonder if there will be in the future. Especially in light of a wild and wacky new rumor out of China today showing photos of an Apple HDTV being tested.

2AF X99 APPLE TV

Blurry photos always remind me of Big Foot fake photos of a man in costume. If it’s blurry it ads to the mystery of it. Then again, why not take the time to get the photo right? You can always justify it by saying it’s a secret facility and taking photos could cost people their jobs if not get them arrested. Or it could just be fake nonsense.

3AF X 9999

While I try not to cover wacky rumors on Patently Apple, this one holds a modicum of the possible because of the other pieces of the puzzle coming into play as Apple ratchets up their TV content business.

The Apple community is used to saying that the reason Apple products are so good is because they make the hardware and the software like nobody else and by making both, the holistic approach to a product is Apple’s strength. So with all this new content, will Apple only rely on a tiny little Apple TV box forever? While that may be the reality of the day, Apple would be able to do so much more with an HDTV. Apple could a vastly superior FaceTime experience in the living room, use depth cameras for authentication to control the TV in the home while supporting 3D in-air gesturing and much more that can’t really be done on today’s Apple TV box without it becoming a ridiculously larger box.

While it may be a little to early to bang the Apple HDTV drum just yet, I remind our fans that Apple’s CEO spent a great deal of time in 2013 promoting the notion that something big regarding TV was on the horizon. Just look at Cook’s face in our cover graphic when he spoke about the future of TV with NBC and Charlie Rose. That expression of enthusiasm is not for a tiny black TV box called Apple TV.

So while today’s rumored photos are questionable, I’m not quite sure that the idea of an HDTV from Apple is really dead as reported by the Wall Street Journal back in 2015. It may have gone underground, but there’s still enough evidence to suggest that Apple will want to create a more profitable device for delivering the content that they’re creating.

An HDTV would be a hit with Apple fans in the U.S. for sure, and more than likely the device would be supported by most die-hard fans around the world in much greater numbers than iMacs.

And lastly, Apple has filed a series of patents for advanced stereo systems, that yes, are in part designed to work with flat screen televisions as illustrated in a filing that only came to light on August 16 and noted below. More Apple TV patents could be found in our archives.

4AF X STEREO FOR TV

The naysayers laughed at Apple ever entering the smartphone market because Motorola, Nokia and Blackberry would kill them. History shows that Apple wiped those one-time leaders off the map.

The naysayers said Apple would never ever enter a losing market like tablets because Microsoft tried it and failed. Naysayers went ballistic every time Patently Apple posted a patent report about a future smartpen. They shouted that the late Steve Jobs hated a stylus. Yes he did, but Apple was working on an advanced pen and not a dead plastic stylus, but the naysayers couldn’t make that distinction and thought it was ludicrous that we’d keep posting patent reports about something that would never come to be. How can we not laugh at naysayers who rely solely on emotion and faulty logic?

Can there really be a future HDTV from Apple? Evidence shows that Apple is working on many Apple TV projects, from OLED display technology to stereo systems, to a TV listings service through to top tier content. Even one of their last trademark filings listed televisions and home theater systems 17 times as something they wanted to legally cover and protect. So yes, it’s still possible that Apple will want to bring in new hardware to continue their string of record breaking profitable quarters.

In the end it’s really more about timing than anything else. And with Tim Cook saying that TV was an area of intense interest” – a future HDTV can’t be ruled out.

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