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Rumoured Apple TV could arrive in time for holiday season

Apple's rumoured HDTV set could be hitting store shelves just in time for the holiday shopping season, according to the rumour mill.

Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn expects to start receiving the television's LCD displays from Sharp sometime during the third quarter of this year, according to a new report from analyst Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets citing Chinese news site apparently spoke to sources from Sharp who said the company's LCD panels have been ordered and will be shipped to Foxconn next quarter. This would place the release date of the so-called "iTV" sometime in the fourth quarter, according to White.

"In our view, a holiday launch would make for a very merry holiday season for Apple and consumers. However, we will continue to monitor the data points surrounding the timing of this launch as they could change," he wrote in the research note.

White said he believes Apple's March release of a revamped Apple TV set top box with 1080p support was a "step down the road toward Apple unveiling a full blown TV in the future." If Apple nabs just a two per cent share of the LCD TV market, it can generate sales of $10 billion (£6.4 billion), White estimated.

Rumours about an Apple TV set have been making the rounds since last year. Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs biography mentioned that the late Apple co-founder was working on an Apple-branded TV before his death on 5 October.

Last month, Foxconn Chief Terry Gou reportedly said during a news conference in Shanghai that his company has been making preparations to start producing Apple's TV set, though development and manufacturing of the device had not yet begun.

The iTV will reportedly feature the voice-activated virtual assistant Siri, as well as FaceTime video calling. Other rumours indicate it will feature motion controls and a touch-screen remote that looks similar to the iPad.