In the tech world, few beasts are more legendary than the Apple TV. Not the Apple TV streaming box, mind you, but a full, physical television that brings the intuitive, simple interface — and stunning design — of iPhones and iPads onto your TV stand. Every so often, with each new wave of consumer TVs, someone will post grainy images of a purported Apple television prototype on seedy forums. The Apple TV is, essentially, Bigfoot with a touchscreen. Now, it’s been kicked to the top of the rumor mill once more.
On Wednesday, a user posted several photos to the Chinese social media service Weibo, showing what appears to be a TV or display with an intriguingly Apple-esque design.
— MacRumors.com (@MacRumors) August 16, 2017
The photos show what could be an Apple logo at the backside of the display. The user who made the post claims the television has a 60-inch OLED screen, with two black spots resembling cameras on the front.
OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens, offer what is widely considered to be the best picture quality. Unlike LCD screens, OLED displays don’t use backlights. Instead, they use tiny (pixel-sized) diodes that light up when filled with electricity, allowing the display to turn each pixel on or off independently. As such, they can produce deeper blacks and starker contrast than other display technologies. OLED displays also tend to be thinner and more energy-efficient. There have been rumors recently about Apple investing in OLED production, so it is not out of the question that the company might develop an OLED television.
That said, there is no official confirmation at this point, and we’ve been on this ride many times before. Former Apple analyst Gene Munster predicted the coming of the Apple TV for years, going back at least as far as 2011. As 4K Ultra HD TVs became more common, reports of a 4K Apple television surfaced, as well. Yet again, the developments resulted in nothing.
We’ve gone on the record to outline our skepticism about an Apple-designed television. The company would have to play catch-up with established television manufacturers like Samsung, LG, and so on. And while Apple has billions to burn, jumping into such a crowded field is risky. Skepticism has never stopped cryptozoologists from searching for the Loch Ness monster, however, and it hasn’t stifled the interest in Apple’s fabled television.
The photos, which are blurry and off-kilter, could simply be fakes, or perhaps even shots of a new iMac. Still, given Apple’s rumored $1 billion investment in original programming Wednesday, it is always possible the company could pursue development of a television. We’ll be keeping an eye on this story as it develops, but for now, we advise Apple fans not to hold their collective breath.