Bloomberg Businessweek reports that the planned $1.6 billion investment in Sharp by Taiwan's Hon Hai Group — which owns the Foxconn companies that manufacture Apple products — could signal that Apple is planning to create a television. Sharp's LCD plant is reportedly working at just half of full capacity due to low demand for large televisions, and Bloomberg cites comments from multiple analysts who speculate that the investment will give Hon Hai "prime display capacity on the cheap." While Apple television rumors have sprung forth like indomitable weeds over the years, it seems reasonable that this major purchase by Hon Hai be put in the context of Apple — it's said to have received 38 percent of its revenue from the Cupertino company last year, with projections of this year's share of revenue reaching 50 percent.
Hon Hai's move is also thought to be curious because of Sharp's struggling financials: last month Sharp announced it expects to lose $3.5 billion in the 2011 fiscal year. If the report holds true, the Sharp plant would provide Apple with the capacity to churn out 55-inch or larger displays. As one analyst tells Bloomberg, "maybe [Hon Hai] is betting on 60-inch TVs seeing a renaissance... or maybe on Apple TV."