Apple and Pixelworks Relationship Revealed: New Apple TV Product Coming?

The Apple world is abuzz with rumors yet again. The HD processing company, Pixelworks, was forced to reveal its previously hidden relationship with Apple in its annual report this week prompting many to add more fuel to the fire of speculation that a new Apple TV product is will be coming soon. Pixelworks reported on Thursday that Apple was responsible for in excess of 10 percent of the company’s $48 million in revenue for 2013. The revelation prompted investors to begin snapping up stock in Pixelworks and drove its value up more than 80 percent.

Investors are already speculating that the relatively small company may be under consideration for acquisition by Apple at some point in the not-too-distant future. Though other less dominating, other companies, including Hitachi and NEC, may be eyeing Pixelworks as well, as each were also responsible for more than 10 percent of the companies revenue in 2013. The Portland, Oregon company employs just 223 people across its eight international locations, most of which are located in east Asia.

Pixelworks designs and produces a variety of technology for high-end digital video applications, including software and semiconductors. The company also aims to deliver the best possible quality video for all screen sizes while keeping power consumption at a minimum.

While the relationship with Pixelworks is relatively small by Apple standards, investors and consumers alike are eager to discover just what technology the HD processing company might be providing for the Cupertino tech-giant. Some believe that what may be coming will be a long-rumored new Apple TV product, others suggest an iTV. Still others are thinking more outside the box about the relationship, and offering up the idea that Pixelworks is on board to assist in improving the iPhone’s video playback and retina display.

The latest rumors surrounding an upcoming new Apple TV product claim that its release could be any week now. It has been reported that the newest iteration of the set-top box will include support for gaming and iOS 7 controllers, and perhaps the inclusion of a full app store, which would bring apps to the device for the first time. Other rumors about the revamped technology have suggested that Apple will work with cable companies to build an Apple TV interface or that the device might be combined with the router features of AirPort Express.

In what some believe may be an effort to pave the way for new inventory and a new product launch, Apple has been offering a $25 gift card with the purchase of an Apple TV in recent days. The company has also added a product section to its online store dedicated to Apple TV.

The fact that Apple TV has seen immense success over the past year, bringing in an estimated $1 billion in revenue for 2013, is part of the reason for speculation about a new such product upon the announcement of the relationship between the company and Pixelworks. Last month Apple CEO Tim Cook remarked on the outstanding growth the product has seen saying that it is now “a little more difficult to call [Apple TV] a hobby these days.”

By Michele Wessel