In three separate deliveries in August, Apple received from a total of 40,300 kilograms (40.3 metric tons) in shipments from China's BYD Precision Manufacture Co. Ltd. described as "set-top boxes" or "set-top box with communication function," according to Panjiva, a New York firm that tracks global trade data.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the company said in a blog post Tuesday.
SEE ALSO: Apple Set-Tops Are Groundwork for 'Grand Vision' in TV, CEO Says
Meanwhile, Apple this week distributed media invitations to a Sept. 10 event at its Cupertino, Calif., campus, to be followed by others that day in Berlin, Tokyo and Beijing.
As usual, the tech giant isn't tipping its hand to indicate what the announcement will concern, but widespread speculation is that Apple will bow a lower-cost iPhone 5C as well as a pricier follow-on to the iPhone 5 (reportedly with options including a gold casing).
The event next week could be a forum for Apple to finally introduce what industry watchers have long expected: its attempt to revolutionize the connected-TV space in the way the company took the smartphone biz by storm with the iPhone.
SEE ALSO: Apple TV Adds HBO Go, WatchESPN
Apple reps did not respond to a request for comment.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been cagey in discussing the company's road map for reaching the living room. "There is a very grand vision" for television, he said at a conference in May, noting that Apple TV has mostly been a "learning experience" for bigger plans the company has to reinvent TV.
Other clues that may point to what Apple has cooking: Last month, the company acquired Matcha, a small startup that developed an app-based guide with personal recommendations for TV shows and movies spanning multiple services.
In addition, Apple has been working with Time Warner Cable to enable the cable operator's TWC TV service on the set-tops. This summer Apple TV added apps for HBO Go and WatchESPN, adding to its lineup that includes Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus and iTunes.
Apple also is exploring a new ad-skipping service for TV programs that would in some way compensate networks for lost ad dollars, according to a report earlier this summer.
Prior to the tons of set-tops it received in August, Apple most recent shipment for "set-top boxes" was on Dec. 5, 2012, from Hon Hai (a.k.a. Foxconn Technology Group), according to Panjiva. That shipment comprised the current-generation Apple TV boxes, as indicated by the model number listed on the bill of lading (A1427).
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