The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( Trefis) -- Rumors about the launch of Apple TV have been gaining strength with some even claiming that the new iProduct could be arriving as soon as in the second half of 2012. Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. Until now, however, we have not seen any evidence strong enough to support the claims. But with recent reports that leading Apple ( AAPL) contract manufacturer, Foxconn's parent Hon Hai Precision Industry, has decided to buy a 11% stake in LCD display maker, Sharp, we finally see some credence in the rumors. Add to this the fact that Apple CEO, Tim Cook, is in China and has reportedly visited Foxconn's assembling unit and with this the possibility of Apple's own involvement in the deal becomes substantial. See our complete analysis of Apple.
Together with Foxconn, however, Sharp could have greater leverage in negotiating the prices of parts and gain know-how to manufacture Apple TV displays on a wider scale without compromising on quality. If Foxconn/Sharp can form a partnership potent enough to compete with Samsung on a sustained basis and meet Apple's lofty quality standards, Apple can finally hope to reduce its dependence on Samsung and foster greater competition in its supply chain. This would subsequently lift the company's gross margins, especially on the iPad which is costlier to produce than its predecessors due to the expensive retina display and LTE support. Click here to find out how a company's products impact its stock price at Trefis. Like our charts? Embed them in your own posts using the Trefis Wordpress Plugin.