Maybe, maybe not. That seems to be how Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) operates, although some of that is changing. Apple is finding it increasingly difficult to keep a secret these days. With everybody from the smallest tech blogger to the largest media outlets fighting to get the first glimpse of a new Apple product, "anonymous" overseas informants in Apple's supply chain have leaked everything from pictures of pieces and parts of Apple products to the newest patents filed by Apple. The new Apple TV, called the iTV by some, should not be confused with the Apple TV that is already on the market. Now in its second generation, the current version of Apple TV connects to your TV and allows you to download movies, stream music and use your TV as a monitor for your MacBook among other features. Although the second generation sold 2.7 million units in the first five months of 2012, by Apple standards, that is not wildly impressive.

SEE: A History Of Apple Stock Increases

If we assume that the iTV does (or will) exist, it may use many of the features that come with the current Apple TV, but insiders are hoping that the iTV is actually a TV. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Apple is working with Sharp (OTC:SHCAY) and Hon Hai Precision (better known as Foxconn) to produce a prototype, flat-screen HD TV, but it is unclear how far along Apple is in the process. Some analysts believe that the Apple TV would likely hit shelves in 2014 or 2015, while others point out that rumors of an actual TV set have been swirling since 2009, making all of the buzz and industry noise largely that: noise.

The Problem with a TV
Some say that it is hard to believe that Apple would simply build a TV with an Apple logo and some nice-looking Apple icons on it. That is not Apple's style, according to a Forbes article. Apple wants to disrupt the market with everything it does. Think of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. These products were new and innovative, and along with these products came deals with the music and cellular industry that would make it advantageous to Apple not only to sell the product, but profit off the industry.

In order to do that with a TV, Apple will have to strike lucrative deals with cable and satellite providers, content creators and others in the TV business. If history is any guide, coming to any kind of "disruptive" deal like it did with the music and cellular industry will be quite the tall order. Consumers who have read the scrolling messages on their TVs about content negotiations know that TV execs do not play well with each other or with others.

Not everybody agrees. PC Magazine suggests that all Apple has to do is make a better TV. Maybe something lighter and more easily hung on a wall even if the TV is large. To the list of improvements, the magazine adds OLEDs for a sharper picture and a way to receive signals wirelessly, cutting down on the need for the mass of cables that now sits behind most TVs.

SEE: 3 Ways To Directly Invest In Apple

What About a Set Top Box?
CNN recently reported that Steve Jobs believed that producing an actual TV was a low-margin, slow-turnover business and isn't exactly what Apple is looking for out of its next big item. CNN also reminds us that many of Apple's best products are innovations of earlier products. The iPad came from the iPod Touch and the iPod Touch evolved from the iPhone, for example. Maybe the Apple TV that everybody is waiting for is already sitting next to millions of viewers' TVs. Maybe it will be a large-scale improvement on the current Apple TV. Like most things Apple, however, it is only a rumor.

SEE: The Cost Of Making An iPhone

The Bottom Line
Long before announcement of the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini, consumers knew a lot about the products due to leaks in Apple's massive international supply chain. It is for this reason that many now believe the Apple TV is not close to being complete. If it were in production, we would likely know about it.

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    Trunk Club Review: Is It Worth It?

    Take a close look at one of the best-known online clothing services in the country, and determine whether it's a good fit for your style and budget.
  2. Budgeting

    HelloFresh Review: Is It Worth It?

    Discover one of the world's most successful meal subscription services, and learn more about how the service operates and what it costs.
  3. Budgeting

    Beer of the Month Subscription Review: Is It Worth It?

    Learn how you can get access to some of the best craft beers produced in the world, delivered right to your front door every month.
  4. Budgeting

    Just the Right Book Review: Is It Worth It?

    Take an in-depth look at Just the Right Book, a subscription service that delivers personalized book selections based on your reading history and preferences.
  5. Entrepreneurship

    ‘Happy Birthday to You’ Belongs to Everyone Now

    A class action lawsuit over the copyright to the iconic American song “Happy Birthday to You” ends by placing the ubiquitous ditty in the public domain.
  6. Investing News

    Who Does Cheap Oil Benefit? See This Stock (DG)

    Cheap oil won't benefit most companies, but this retailer might buck that trend.
  7. Financial Advisor Technology

    Top Problems with Financial Data Aggregation

    A new front in personal finance technology—data aggregation—seeks to make our financial lives easier. But here's why it may be stalling.
  8. Budgeting

    The Honest Company Bundles Review: Are They Worth It?

    Learn more about The Honest Company and its bundle subscription services, which deliver discounted diapers, formula and other baby products to your doorstep.
  9. Investing News

    Is It Time To Sell Technology Stocks? (LNKD, AAPL)

    Technology stocks have taken a drubbing in recent days. Is it time to sell them?
  10. Budgeting

    Blue Apron Review: Is It Worth It?

    Read about one of the top meal-kit delivery services in the United States, and learn more about what it offers and how much it costs.
RELATED FAQS
  1. How does a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) affect my salary?

    Some companies build salary adjustments into their compensation structures to offset the effects of inflation on their employees. ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Is Apple Pay safe and free?

    Apple Pay is a mobile payment system created by Apple to reduce the number of times shoppers and buyers have to pay for goods ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Where can you buy NetSpend reload packs?

    You can only purchase NetSpend reload packs at Giant Eagle, Albertsons, Roundy's and Pathmark supermarkets. NetSpend cards ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What role does the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) play in the finished product?

    Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) do not typically play much of direct role in determining the finished product. However, ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Harry Potter Stock Index

    A collection of stocks from companies related to the "Harry Potter" series franchise. Created by StockPickr, this index seeks ...
  2. Liquidation Margin

    Liquidation margin refers to the value of all of the equity positions in a margin account. If an investor or trader holds ...
  3. Black Swan

    An event or occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and that would be extremely difficult ...
  4. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  5. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
Trading Center