Apple Reportedly In Talks With Major Cable Operators In U.S, Launch Not Imminent Now

Last we heard of an Apple Television set rumour was back in June when Foxconn apparently ramped up its schedule for ordering television LCD panels from Sharp, fueling speculations that these panels might be for Apple’s HDTV which could debut this holiday shopping season. Today, Jefferies & Co.’s James Kisner has claimed at least one major U.S. cable operator is conducting tests to determine if it could handle the sort of bandwidth an Apple HDTV might demand, reports AllThingsD.

Apple iTV Concept Design 3

Previous reports have hinted that Apple was in talks with some of the biggest U.S. cable operators about partnerships. Now, AllThingsD is reporting thought its sources that Apple has indeed had talks with a few large cable operators about some new TV product. However, an imminent launch of such a product seems unlikely, notes the source.

“Our discussions with industry contacts suggest that at least one major North American multiple system operator is working to estimate how much additional capacity may be needed for a new Apple device on their broadband data network,” Kisner wrote in a note to clients. “We believe this potentially suggests an imminent launch of the Apple TV.

But the idea that a “potentially … imminent” launch is in the works seems harder to take seriously.

For starters, Apple has already steered analysts away from the notion that it will have something to say about a TV solution soon. More important: If Apple were close to launching a new service, it would almost certainly be in touch with TV programmers about new arrangements, and we haven’t heard anything along those lines.

Rumors of a full-fledged television set from Apple have persisted for years. But in August, Apple executive Eddy Cue suggested that such a product would be unlikely without necessary deals for content.