The iPhone maker, whose USD 99 Apple TV box competes with similar streaming devices from Roku and Google Inc, intends to have its new device in stores in time for the Christmas holidays, Bloomberg cited the anonymous sources as saying.

A tie-up with Time Warner Cable would be the first with a pay-TV operator, Bloomberg reported. Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr declined to comment. Time Warner Cable also declined comment.

Apple, which in the past has referred to its set-top box product as a hobby, regularly discusses partnerships with content companies. But the company has recently given the product, which plugs into a TV and streams videos from Netflix and other content providers, more prominent placement on its online storefront.

Speculation persists that the company is developing some sort of major TV product to disrupt the traditional cable industry, but that has yet to materialize.

(Agencies)