The Wall Street Journal says that manufacturers Sharp and Hon Hai -- otherwise known as Foxconn -- are collaborating with the tech giant to test designs for a large-screen, high-resolution TV, according to unnamed officials connected to Apple's suppliers.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company, which tests ideas internally before bringing products to external suppliers, has been testing television set prototypes "for a number of years," according to the Journal's unnamed sources. The iPad and iPhone maker has already infiltrated the living room with its Apple TV box, which connects online media to traditional television sets.
"It isn't a formal project yet. It is still in the early stage of testing," one of the sources told the Journal.
The idea of Apple producing a television set was brought back to the stage this month by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who hinted in an interview with NBC that a new product offering may be on the horizon. "When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years," Cook said. "It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."
Although it remains to be seen how much impact Apple could have in the television and media industry, already entwined in long-standing broadcasting contracts and "smart TV" production by manufacturers, a survey from Morgan Stanley suggested that the brand name may be enough -- and consumers would be willing to pay a 20 percent premium for an Apple-branded set.
Meanwhile, famed technologist and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen speculated at the Dealbook conference this morning that an Apple TV is likely to arrive in 2014 or maybe 2015 at the latest, if it doesn't squeak out in 2013, according to Business Insider.
See also: The full history of Apple TV rumors.
Update 7:34 a.m. PT: Added Marc Andreessen's speculation on the timing of an Apple TV.