More evidence of Apple television project surfaces

The biography of the late Steve Jobs, titled simply Steve Jobs, is due to hit bookstores officially on Monday. But a lot of the book's contents have already been leaked out in the press. We've already reported that the book mentions Jobs' contempt for Google, especially for its Android operating system. Now comes word that the biography may have confirmed what has been rumored to be in the works for some time.

The Washington Post reports that in one part of the book, Jobs talked about creating a new kind of television set. In interviews with the biography's author Walter Isaacson before Jobs died 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."

This sounds like less of a dream and more of a concrete plan to change the face of watching TV, much how like the iPod changed how we listen and buy music and how the iPhone has changed how we communicate via a wireless phone.

There's no word yet on when such an Apple-branded television might be released, but the book's quotes from Jobs would seem to imply that it is in some kind of advanced stage of development. We have seen these kind of projects before. Remember Microsoft and WebTV? More recently Google has pushed on with its Google TV project without a lot of success.

Yet we see more and more TV makers adding WiFi support into new TV sets and adding support for Internet apps. It's pretty clumsy integration for the most part. Perhaps Jobs' idea will be the one to make such a television attractive to buyers.

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16 Comments

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I can't imagine an actual Apple TV purely because the cost would prohibit regular upgrades to a new one. The current AppleTV makes sense in that its comparatively cheap, but a ~40" screen? No.

Someone needs to take Steve Jobs and his coffin and shoot it off into space towards a "Black Hole. This way the evil will be confined and would never escape.

Problems I see are:
1) cost - TVs aren't cheap, at least $1000 for a good quality one. And they aren't replaced very often.
2) content - last time studios didn't want to play ball, TV rentals got axed.

I'm sure it's a good idea, but there are too many forces actively working against making if work the way it should. Everyone knows that IPTV is the future but ISPs want to kick and scream all the way there because it means more competition for TV (something I had hoped Xbox Live TV was before they maid the deal with the devil and required an existing cable subscription).

It would be interesting to say the least. Ive got an Apple TV2 and its good but it could be a whole lot better.

I will be taking this with a pinch of salt though.

It would make sense, an maybe I'm wrong to compare any apple product to an iPad, but if an ipad with a 10" screen can cost you $500 and up, I'd hate to see what a TV with an apple logo could set you back.

Dale said,
It would make sense, an maybe I'm wrong to compare any apple product to an iPad, but if an ipad with a 10" screen can cost you $500 and up, I'd hate to see what a TV with an apple logo could set you back.

Look at the 27" CD then add a couple of hundred bucks.

Let's not pretend the high-end tablets of other companies are fundamentally cheeper. With "high-end" I don't mean those plastic boxes running Android 2.3.

.Neo said,
Let's not pretend the high-end tablets of other companies are fundamentally cheeper. With "high-end" I don't mean those plastic boxes running Android 2.3.

Thats true, I just can't see any 42" tv or bigger with the apple logo on it costing you under $1,500 though, that's what scares me. I'm sure the final product will be an amazing piece of technology, but if a current gen 50" 3DTV plasma can set you back $1,000, I don't want to know the price of a TV made by apple. Its probably already not in my budget.

Well, this would be try number four for Apple: The Macintosh TV, Performa 5420, Apple TV, and whatever this integrated TV vaporware that is hinted at. Maybe they will finally produce a product with broad appeal; I surely wouldn't put it past them.

Of course, the one-sentence quote doesn't really provide enough info to determine exactly what Apple is/would be trying to produce. If it isn't anything other than a means to get web content onto a TV, that is what Apple TV is, and integrating that into a TV would be simple. However, if they want to produce a consumer product that integrates the functionality of a computer, TV, DVR, and media player, they have a lot to add to Apple TV to make this happen. One of the hurdles is replacing the clunky keyboard input most such devices have. Here Apple has the perfect platform: iPhone. I think the majority of people would rather input text and control such a TV device with their iPhone, or at least something with the input capabilities of the iPhone, than a media keyboard.

I'm curious to see what Apple comes up with.


The most interesting line:

"It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

It makes you think what did he got in the end.

I read it a bit differently. It's possible that he's talking about an integrated TV set, sure. But there's nothing Jobs mentions that couldn't be acheived by the same Apple TV that's out there today. It's just syncing with iCloud with a simple user interface. The new piece is iCloud.

Nothing suggests your next TV could have an Apple logo on the front. Just that the current Apple TV could get better.

Simon said,
I read it a bit differently. It's possible that he's talking about an integrated TV set, sure. But there's nothing Jobs mentions that couldn't be acheived by the same Apple TV that's out there today. It's just syncing with iCloud with a simple user interface. The new piece is iCloud.

Nothing suggests your next TV could have an Apple logo on the front. Just that the current Apple TV could get better.

I really beg to differ. One thing that Apple does is integration and I am sure that there was an interview with Jobs where he trashed set top boxes. I believe that the only way Apple would try and dominate the TV market is to fully integrate everything into the TV set itself, and it makes a lot of sense too.

I think the integrated model has proven successful for Apple in the past, with Macs and iPhones and iPads... but they're already in the set top box market.

I'm not saying Apple won't do the integrated model - I'm sure they have prototypes already, in fact. But I think we're reading far too much into what Jobs said here. Everything he says can be achieved by a set top box. So there's no reason to assume that he's talking about an Apple branded television.

Simon said,
I think the integrated model has proven successful for Apple in the past, with Macs and iPhones and iPads... but they're already in the set top box market.

I'm not saying Apple won't do the integrated model - I'm sure they have prototypes already, in fact. But I think we're reading far too much into what Jobs said here. Everything he says can be achieved by a set top box. So there's no reason to assume that he's talking about an Apple branded television.

Jobs wouldn't say "I've cracked it" if the Apple TV is it. His comment then makes little sense. They have admitted time and time again that the Apple TV is a hobby and it was in my opinion a means to get the content creators of the TV shows onboard for a much bigger affair. It wouldn't surprise me at all if by "cracking it" he cuts out the cable companies completely and provides the content through Apple via iCloud. Just an idea.

This "article" offers nothing new. It's just reporting a rumor from a book about something that we've already heard about countless times already.