Apple’s television plans are a case of “when” not “if” the latest rumors insist, with Steve Jobs’ well-quoted “I finally cracked it” comment believed to be referring to Siri replacing the traditional remote control rather than the TV hardware and design itself. “Steve thinks the [TV] industry is totally broken” a source told the NYTimes, one of several who apparently confirmed that Apple was experimenting with TV hardware and software. “Absolutely, it is a guaranteed product for Apple” was the message, with execs supposedly knowing the true Apple TV was on the roadmap as far back as 2007.
To successfully carve out a gap in what has become a hotly-contested, low-margin segment, however, Apple needed not only its coveted design but to polish the user experience. That supposedly began with replacing one of the mainstays of the current living room setup, the remote control. Siri – which was launched on the iPhone 4S and reacts to naturally-phrased spoken commands – is Apple’s solution, in Steve Jobs’ words allowing for a TV that has “the simplest user interface you could imagine.”
More than a year ago, supply chain sources speaking to the newspaper suggested they’d seen “large parts floating around” that “looked like [they] could be part of a large Apple television.” However, insiders at and close to Apple said that any product builds were on hold until the software and control side came up to speed. That, with Siri – still described by Apple as in beta – looks to finally be coming of age.
Other recent leaks have indicated that Apple’s iTunes chief is currently leading the television project, while – like the existing Apple TV set-top box – the standalone television is believed to run iOS; it would also have FaceTime video calling, as per recent iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and MacBook models. The newspaper argues that the limiting factor today is the cost of large display panels, something that Apple needs to see fall if it hopes to compete with the affordable TVs on sale today. Nonetheless, its prediction is a true Apple television by 2013.