Apple's television project: could it be a stealth game console?

Thanks to the new biography out in stores, we now know that Apple's late founder and CEO Steve Jobs was working on some kind of television-based project before he passed away earlier this month. Jobs is quoted as saying, "I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud ... It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

Since then the Internet has been abuzz with speculation about what this Apple television might be like and also when it might be launched. Some believe that the Apple television product could be ready to launch by late 2012 or early 2013. Based on Jobs' description in the book interview, it sounds like this will be more than a new version of Apple's "hobby project" Apple TV (shown bove). That's a set-top box that connects to a TV and offers users a way to watch iTunes purchased movies and TV shows via a large screen.

By contrast, Jobs seemed to be thinking of a TV set that has interactive features along with that so-called simple UI. Many people have already speculated that the user interface for any Apple television product would be the TV owner's voice in a variation of the iPhone 4S's Siri feature. That's a safe assumption but we think that Apple might also provide another way to interact with the TV.

A remote control with game pad features.

Yes, I think that if Apple is working on some kind of television product, it would have support for downloading game apps and that any remote control for said TV would be able to be used to play those games.

It certainly makes sense. There are more and more televisions out on the market that are being labeled as so-called "smart TVs". They have network ports and/or WiFi support that allows them to connect to a home Internet account. They are capable of streaming Netflix videos and downloading apps for news, weather and even social networking apps like Twitter and Facebook. Google has tried to put in its Google TV software inside TVs but so far only Sony's Bravia line has offered such features.

These kinds of "smart TVs" are admittedly just baby steps in the move toward making the television in the living room a truly interactive product. It is more than possible that Apple is ready to take that next big leap into this field, much as they did with the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Imagine a TV powered by a new version of Apple's iOS operating system that would have access to a version of its App Store. People could quickly download and play games from the app store and start playing them pretty quickly. Apple could put in a more powerful processor and graphics chip in its TV product than they could in an iPhone or iPad. That would allow for games with high resolution graphics and more features than they could provided in Apple's portable products.

While the TV could be operated by a new version of the Siri voice controller, its very possible that Apple might also include a more traditional game controller as well with any TV product. All of this means that if Apple does create such a television, it would basically be a stealth game console as well, beating the Big Three (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) at their own game, so to speak.

One of the big obstacles for any Apple-branded television is price. Usually a TV purchase is a major one for any family, costing much more than a game console.  A normal TV is designed to last for much longer than the typical game console life cycle. Apple has to find a way to make such a TV as cheap as they can be while still being able to put in the interactive features.

Then there's the fact that Apple hasn't had much interest in the gaming industry compared to the music, movie and TV business. Apple has brought in id Software's John Carmack to show off cool new engine features during Jobs' keynote speech in the past. The sci-fi shooter Halo got its debut during another keynote by Jobs. But overall the game industry is something that Apple hasn't put a lot of direct time in promoting.

That attitude might have to change for any integrated TV project. Apple must know by now that there are lots of gamers out there playing iOS-based titles (Angry Birds, anyone?). It would be foolish to ignore that user base if it were to develop some kind of television project. In fact it could use the iPhone and iPad to link up to any game on the TV, perhaps as a touch-screen remote.

Finally there's the fact that if Apple does in fact release a new television with Internet and app support by the end of 2012, it will likely beat whatever release date Sony and Microsoft have for their next generation game consoles. Nintendo is scheduled to release the Wii U sometime in 2012 but many expect the hardware to be somewhat underpowered compared to what Sony and Microsoft have planned for their next consoles.

Add all of this speculation up, and you have what sounds like a credible case for Apple's television project also being the place to download and play games. Will it actually happen as I envision? Perhaps not. But that doesn't mean that Apple hasn't been thinking about such an idea. Indeed, in recent months Apple has been posting up job openings for game developer positions.

Quite frankly, if I was an executive at Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo I might be a little frightened. Even with Jobs' passing, it looks like one of his final projects for shaking up the television industry is in full swing. If Apple is successful then the era of the set-up game console box might soon be at an end.

Image via Apple

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I don't understand how you write all these words about the possibilities of a Apple TV solution and how that stacks up to the competition, and NEVER mention Kinect for Xbox 360. Ya see...we already have voice commands at the TV through Kinect, ALONG with gesture controls (something Siri doesn't have). Kinect became the fastest selling consumer electronic device EVER...and Xbox has already invaded the living room.

Lets think about this from Apple's perspective though. Apple normally makes a one size fits all device and uses the media blogs to push this to the public. IF they start producing TVs, they would be asking us to throw out the HDTV we just paid $3000 on just to get one of these things. And what sizes do they have? They would need at least 31, 46, 55 and 65" models...a built in console that is capable of competing with Xbox 720 and PS4...and your looking at a TV anywhere from $2500-5000 a pop. What happens if you need to replace the TV? do you also loose your console? Can you simply remove the console? If so, why make a TV to begin with?

Understand that ALL gaming consoles already provide a way to quickly download games from an online store...this is nothing new and with all the crappy games on iOS...why would one want that? They are sub HD and non 16:9 games. If this iTV is going to use all new games and apps built specifically for it, why not just get a Xbox 720 or PS4 that will already be backward compat?

Then theirs the fact that Apple currently owns ZERO gaming studios and their Game Center service is laughable at best. Their is no way Apple can make a gaming console that they put inside a TV WITHOUT compelling exclusive blockbuster titles to go along with it. Again, what would be the point? All the games could be bought elsewhere, without a need for a TV along for the ride.

Their would be SOOOOO MUCH that Apple would need to overcome...they are already late in this space and Siri alone is not going to help them. Apple sells more to casuals (iPads, iPods, iPhones) than anything else...I just don't see casuals buying what this article proposes. Again, MS is already providing everything this article talks about and more with Xbox 360 and Kinect, and has the first party studios to back them up with great games.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...8Q9mMJo&feature=feedlik

Can we get some god damned news on this site, rather than the constant barrage of rumours, Apple / Jobs love and bias "editorials".

Despite available products like WM Center, Google TV, etc. I am pretty sure when announced Apple will say they are the first to release this and how magical it is.

satus said,
Despite available products like WM Center, Google TV, etc. I am pretty sure when announced Apple will say they are the first to release this and how magical it is.

Or XBMC on Windows 7!

"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud ... It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

I have to say that it's quite an insult to all of the people that work at Apple for him to take SOLE responsibility for something like this. The statement kind of bothers me.

M_Lyons10 said,

I have to say that it's quite an insult to all of the people that work at Apple for him to take SOLE responsibility for something like this. The statement kind of bothers me.


This is nothing new at all. He took credit for everything that came out of Apple.

Can I ask - if we know next to nothing about this Apple product, then how on earth can it have the potential to have a massive impact on anything? Because it's Apple?

Seriously, this "Everything Apple makes is revolutionary" spiel that goes around is absolute crap. What would be closer to the truth is that it will be a piece of subpar technology with a brilliant UI that will be priced 2-3x higher than it has any right to be.

Let's see ... Apple release a new video games console within the next 2 years, say in time for the Christmas
season 2013. It'll probably have a comparatively similar technical spec to both the XBox360 and the PS3,
and be able to play the same sort of games, but cost about twice as much to buy as either of those!

They definitely won't be able to call it "iPlayer" ... guaranteed!

DJGM said,
Let's see ... Apple release a new video games console within the next 2 years, say in time for the Christmas
season 2013. It'll probably have a comparatively similar technical spec to both the XBox360 and the PS3,
and be able to play the same sort of games, but cost about twice as much to buy as either of those!

They definitely won't be able to call it "iPlayer" ... guaranteed!

call it the iBox then sue MS for infriging on their term "Box" even though MS had it for years before

I guess they won't have to put too much thought in designing a controller for the game console. They'll just use a wireless touch pad with the sensors found in todays ipod/iphone/ipad

if for some reason apple is making a game console, you know it will be old hardware, have tons of crap games, and somehow have a UI that is touch involved for no reason..... and it will take gave development backwards 5 years.... just like the current gen of consoles are doing to PC gave dev.... but for some reason it will be popular because I can play angry birds! zomg!

Oh I love what Apple has done for gaming with those awesome touch games. The control in them is absolutely amazing!

/s

Enron said,
Oh I love what Apple has done for gaming with those awesome touch games. The control in them is absolutely amazing!

/s


Touch games are useless to me... Can't see my self playing games without a padlike controller... Maybe you will be able to grab your tv and rotate it clockwise and anti-clockwise to control your games...

Apple could easily introduce a console. 15 years ago no-one thought Sega would go bust and Microsoft would take their place amongst the big 3.

Coldgunner said,
Apple could easily introduce a console. 15 years ago no-one thought Sega would go bust and Microsoft would take their place amongst the big 3.

They already tried to do that. I'll give you three guesses as to how that turned out and the first two guesses don't count. Also, Sega didn't necessarily go bust. They shifted from providing hardware and content to just providing content.

Coldgunner said,
Apple could easily introduce a console. 15 years ago no-one thought Sega would go bust and Microsoft would take their place amongst the big 3.

except in apples world, you would have to buy an entire $1,000 TV that probably is only in 3 sizes... when people complain about $300 for a game console, if that was the cause it would be a huge turn off to gamers who like to pick their display

Xionanx said,
It'll be just like a normal TV, but cost $1000 more for no damn good reason.

Lol it will cost $1000 come in one size only, and will only be able to recieve analog signals from TV stations who pay apple for the privalege of being on the apple tv store.

Deviate_X said,

Lol it will cost $1000 come in one size only, and will only be able to recieve analog signals from TV stations who pay apple for the privalege of being on the apple tv store.


Isn't analog dead now?

I don't think Steve Jobs is aiming to attack the console gaming market. They already surpassed Nintendo and Sony on mobile gaming (handheld gaming) with their iPod touch and iPhone.

The big three of today: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii U.
The big three of tomorrow: Windows TV, Apple TV and Google TV?

This is going to be interesting times for the games industry.

Apple games ?.... not got a good track with that kinda thing have they . I mean real games and not stuff you play on your phone (,")

speedstr3789 said,
sounds more like a large ipad that you canuse as a tv more than anything else.

Yes. Following the logic of apple innovation:

IPod
IPod + Phone (called it iPhone)
Bigger iPhone (call it iPad)
Even bigger iPad (call it iTV)

Deviate_X said,

Yes. Following the logic of apple innovation:

IPod
IPod + Phone (called it iPhone)
Bigger iPhone (call it iPad)
Even bigger iPad (call it iTV)

ISEE an IProjector coming..

oh god stop with all this apple bull****, they wont do a console, they also wont kill off microsoft or sony in that field either, what a lot of BS, will just be another overpriced tv

Does an AppleTV box not run a version of iOS? So this is just a TV with the AppleTV box builtin? Sounds like a waste of time to me but what do I know. Surely iOS is popular due to its portability. I don't what to play Angry Birds on my TV - I want to play Battlefield 3 on my TV and Angry Birds on the train.