An Apple television mockup by

More news concerning a rumored television set by Apple that several analysts and some media outlets have been calling for feverishly. According to a blog post published by The Tokyo Times news siteApple has commissioned Sharp to begin manufacturing large displays for an Apple-branded television set. Sharp should ramp up production in January:

American technology giant Apple is shifting partnerships in Japan towards Sharp, eyeing the production of a brand-new TV range which may be called iTV.

The product should hit the market by the summer 2012, the story goes. And according to New York Post, which referenced the original Tokyo Times report:

Apple has taken over the entire plant — pulling out of South Korea and its former partner Samsung — to insure the quality of the new set and to protect its secrecy.

The Tokyo Times story quotes Jefferies analyst Peter Misek as saying that Apple’s rivals have already begun “a scrambling search to identify what iTV will be and do”. The analyst wrote in a note to clients, based on his visit to Japan and talk with manufacturing executives:

It’s a huge deal for Sharp because they spent significant amounts of capital to try and expand capacity and upgrade their facilities. It gives Apple a partner that they can control manufacturing and secure supply at a lower price.

Please be advised that our confidence in The Tokyo Times isn’t very high…

For starters, New York Post references The Tokyo Times as the newspaper, which doesn’t appear to be true. According to their About page, The Tokyo Times identifies themselves as a news portal which started in 2009 as a community site for people living or interested in Tokyo. Their report also makes no mention of the iTV Siri integration which was mulled elsewhere. On the other hand, prominent analysts have been calling for a 2012 iTV launch and big media followed suit. A month ago the New York Times reported that Apple might have been prototyping this product for well over a year. That story cited a source who had allegedly seen “large parts floating around” that looked like they could be part of “a large Apple television”. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Apple added Sharp as a supplier of iPad and iPhone displays and the notoriously unreliable analyst Peter Misek claimed Sharp will also manufacture TFT LCD panels for the iTV. Steve Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he figured out how to do an Apple television. “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it”, he said.

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