CUPERTINO, Calif. – Steve Jobs' last gadget could be on sale as soon as this summer.
The Apple TV set, a device that promises to shake up the TV business the way the iPod and iPhone reshaped music and cell phones, is now being targeted for a summer release, according to reports over the weekend.
Speculation about what the set will do -- will it be voice-activated like the latest iPhone and need no clicker? -- is rampant among those who keep a close eye on the computer giant.
But so far, the iTV, as it is being called, is still a dark and well-kept secret.
A Wall Street analyst with a history of accurately predicting Apple's development process said late last week that the Japanese set maker, Sharp, would begin shortly manufacturing screens for the new iTVs.
Anticipation of revolutionary Apple TV has been high since a new biography of Jobs, released shortly after his death last month, quoted the tech whiz as saying he had "finally cracked it."
"He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players and phones: make them simple and elegant," the authorized biography said.
The TV set promised to be the first to seamlessly combine traditional TV with the Internet -- allowing viewers to watch shows as they are broadcast by the networks, record them to watch later or tap into streaming video from the web, like Hulu, Netflix and YouTube.
Other TV makers have reportedly begun scrambling to discover what Apple is up to in order to offer similar features.
The Tokyo Times reported that production is expected to start in February at a factory in central Japan.
Read more on Steve Jobs' final gadget at the New York Post.