Our Source Has Seen The Apple HDTV, Here’s What It Looks Like

Our Source Has Seen The Apple HDTV, Here’s What It Looks Like

We have a source who claims to have seen a prototype Apple high-definition television set in action, indicating that Apple is readying the long-awaited device for market.

According to our source, who has asked to remain strictly anonymous, the Apple HDTV looks like Apple’s current lineup of LED-backlit Cinema Displays but is “much bigger.” It has a built-in iSight camera for making free FaceTime video conference calls. And it has Siri, the iPhone 4S’s voice-activated virtual assistant.


Our Source Has Seen The Apple HDTV, Here’s What It Looks Like

Apple has been rumored to be working on a proper television set for some time, but so far the company’s presence in the living room has been modest, maxing out with the current Apple TV — a small set-top box that is hooked to owners’ existing televisions. Apple describes the current Apple TV as a “hobby,” acknowledging that the device’s features are limited and that it is not a serious attempt by the company to enter the television market.

Such an attempt could revolutionize the living room and disrupt the businesses of the television industry, much like what happened when Apple released the original iPhone back in 2007. TV — and especially cable — is widely seen as ripe for some Apple-like disruption. Rumors that Apple was planning a full frontal assault on the living room reached a fever pitch last year, when Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs revealed that Jobs claimed he had “cracked” TV.

Our source claims to have seen a working prototype of the exact device Steve Jobs was talking about when he said he had “cracked TV.”

According to our source, the Apple TV looks a lot like Apple’s current lineup of Cinema Display monitors.

“It resembled an Apple monitor, only much larger,” our source said.

The Apple HDTV makes FaceTime calls using the built-in iSight camera. The camera is sophisticated, with facial recognition and the ability to zoom into the user’s face and follow them as they walk around the room. This allows users to make video calls from the couch across the room, rather than having to stand smack in front of the TV.

In addition, calls are initiated by Siri, the iPhone 4S’s virtual assistant. “[Apple] used Siri to make a FaceTime call,” the source said.

Unfortunately, we don’t know any more about other Siri integration, or the TV’s interface in general. We also don’t know the specs, pricing or release schedule.

Our source is well-placed and has provided us with great tips in the past. However, not all of them have panned out, ostensibly due to the fact that our source tends to see products in the prototype or early development stage and Apple doesn’t always ultimately choose to release them. We hope this is one of our source’s tips about an upcoming Apple product that actually sees market.

The mockup above is a concept made by designer Dan Draper. Explaining his methodology, Dan says, “Obviously it’s very visually similar to the Thunderbolt or Cinema display, but trying to put myself in the shoes of Jony Ive I’ve made the stand shorter, wider to make the user more trusting that it can support the weight, and (see the side view) less angled. I figured users don’t care about the distance from a wall required by a monitor stand, but for a thin, expensive TV they likely want it to sit as close to the wall as possible, so the stand in the mockup allows for that, which I think the Apple industrial design group will do for the real thing.”

UPDATE: For comment, we reached out to TV analyst Paul Gagnon, Director of North American TV Research for NPD DisplaySearch. Gagnon said he didn’t have any hard information, but expects Apple to introduce a line of TVs this year. He noted that Apple’s Chinese supplier, Foxconn, has invested $1.6 billion in Sharp’s TV unit, which can efficiently make large size panels up to 60-inches. Speculating, Gagnon Apple’s TVs will likely be pretty conventional in terms of hardware. They will not be anything exotic like OLED or 4K resolution. There will likely be two to four models ranging from 40-inches to 60-inches. They will be standard 1920 x 1080p resolution and cost between $1,000 to $2,000 or slightly higher. When might they ship? “Our best guess is 2013,” Gagnon said.

  • Weegie_Mac

    I can’t see this set being a success given the prices Apple charge for it’s products.

    While Macs, iPads, and iPhones represent value for money, there is no way an Apple television set will be able to compete, price wise, with the massive range of LCD sets out there. I mean, every summer when there’s a major sports event on, Currys drop the price of 50″ Samsung 3D sets to £599. 
    And I’m sorry, but FaceTime and Siri aren’t worth another £500.
  • Wirehedd

    I will only believe it when I see it. There are so many “insiders” anymore as to think they are mostly people who’ve walked past the Infinite Loop Campus, seen something they don’t immediately recognize and they run off in a complete state of bewilderment telling everyone who’ll listen they’ve seen the new Apple TV prototype. 


    When the device appears onstage with Apple’s executive team and they are presenting it to the public I will believe it exists. Not one second beforehand.


  • Tallest_Skil

    Oh, hello most idiotic thing in the entire world, how are you doing?

    Sell your stock if Apple actually announces a television. I’m not even joking. And don’t you dare downvote me; go back and read my post history anywhere: I’m an Apple Evangelist.
  • mr_bee

    You do a great disservice here by releasing a reasonably good rumour and then cocking it up by compounding it with visuals from another source that are basically just made-up out of thin air.  

    If the AppleTV exists it wouldn’t look anything like those dreary, unimaginative concept drawings, (why on earth would it have to be that thick for starters). Why not just publish the actual rumour as is, and then a second article with the awful concept drawings?  Why mess it all up?  
    Half the commenters will be thinking these pictures are pictures of what the guy that said he saw the prototype, actually saw. They aren’t.  
  • InternDom

    Oh, hello most idiotic thing in the entire world, how are you doing?

    Sell your stock if Apple actually announces a television. I’m not even joking. And don’t you dare downvote me; go back and read my post history anywhere: I’m an Apple Evangelist.

    Take off the tinfoil hat…

  • Jdsonice

    Content is King. 

    I think the hardware from Apple will not be enough to make Apple TV any better than the rest of the field. It is how and what content is delivered by Apple.
    If all they are delivering is the hardware then I am not sure how they will differentiate themselves from the crowd. The cable companies dare never going to support Apple.
    So the real question is how will Apple own and deliver the content – to duplicate its success of iTunes. 
    If they can crack that one – then they will own the space.
  • joewaylo

    @Weegie_Mac: If Apple were to release an Apple HDTV aka iTV and include 3D, it would be around $1,500 or $1,000 competing with Samsung’s TV lineup that starts around $2,000 and up for the 3D smart TV.

  • bruce_lloyd

    I don’t see it happening. TV is on the way out — everyone is watching video/TV on their iPads or iPhones. There’s no need for a TV anymore.

  • landoncube

    “siri, please make me appear thinner using Photoshop for this FaceTime call.”

    “add a Tom Selleck mustache to my image for this FaceTime call, Siri.”

    Oh Yeah.

  • ApplePr0n

    I mean, it has potential. But Apple tends to only enter markets that it can dominate, i.e. phone, tablet and ipod. I don’t know that an expensive TV with Siri would be enough. Unless they can introduce something incredible and new while keeping the price competitive, good luck

  • manuelmorgado94

    i don’t know about the apple TV SET 

    i think that in order to put this product in the market Apple has to make profit out of it and so or they present to the public a VERY low price or they present something new or revolucionary in that tv set .
    it’s risky but we can, at this point, wait about anything from Apple
    i hope we see something revolucionary and i hope that that product makes it way to Portugal
  • feedgrids

    All the comments below are about how this would never make sense because of how much Apple would have to charge for the set and how they would not be competitive in the market. Never stopped them before. Bottom line you either own Apple no matter what the price or you don’t.

  • BrandonCarroway

    Both the current AppleTV and an actual LED panel AppleTV need the App Store.  The App Store is the killer app for these devices, just as it is for the iPad and iPhone.  AirPlay is not enough, I don’t want my phone mirrored to my TV, I want to be able to buy apps on my Apple TV that are made to be played in the living room on a big screen.

    Obviously they need to solve the “controller problem”, as competitors like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft now all have motion-sensing controllers for their consoles and Apple would need their own.
    If they open Apple TV up to third party app creators then this whole TV boondoggle by Apple would finally make sense.
  • Bob Forsberg

    A big i
    Mac with IOS6 features.

  • scottgjerdingen

    Sorry, I don’t buy it unless there are characteristics that make it more of a tv than on oversized iPad. 

    IMHO – one thing an apple tv must absolutely address is cataloging/making search for content wildly convenient.  Searching rentals, locally persisted, netflix, hulu, youtube content etc. With siri’s help I believe is a game changer. Another feature I would expect is the complete elimination of the remote for it and all components.   mean really, what are the biggest issues with TV, finding shows and all of the remotes :-) 
    Last point, I would like to see, and it would be huge (but also a licensing home run), would be a tivo/dvr capability….this would be huge!
  • darkchild82

    I wrote about my predictions about Apple’s HDTV last month along the same lines, but with greater features to enhance video gaming: http://mithunonthe.net/2012/04/03/state-of-gaming-itv-apple-television/

  • Chia Chun Kiat

    Hmm, as many pointed out, people seem to be watching less content on their TVs and more on their mobile / computing devices.

    So could it be that they are integrating TV features into Apple’s existing line of devices, so that anyone can bring their “TV”s around with them? Imagine being able to plug in your game consoles to your iPad, or Macbook Air – that certainly makes things a lot more convenient!

  • Jack Fuchs

    Which Movie is this?

  • Aj Tk427

    BS!!!

    Your source has seen a prototype.  That is all.  We all know that Apple is working on an Apple TV.  Of course they are, they’d be stupid not to try it out.  Does not mean that they are going to enter the market.
    Second, as someone already pointed out, that concept is useless, all they did was change the Cinema display around.
    Look at any LED TV on market now and it puts this concept drawing to shame.
    You should have stuck to the rumor only CoM.
    Also, I’m pretty sure you posted this same article, Apple TV, with Siri and Facetime for a trusted source (lolz) about half a dozen times.
  • Jack Fuchs

    Nice.

  • Uber_Churl

    The internet highway will always be littered with the discarded remains of rumor and speculation regardless of how cute the fake/photoshopped graphics may be.  Can you say, “traffic generator”?

  • Uber_Churl

    There are OLED tv’s being brought to market in 2012 that boast a thickness of only 8mm and the controls are housed in a separate enclosure.  Yes, they are expensive, but within 36 months the pricing will drop dramatically.  I can’t think of a better route for the new Apple TV….a super thin, high res display coupled to Apple’s control console.  Later, you can upgrade your OLED screen separate from the Apple console.  

    I just can’t see Apple pouring $$ and resources into anything but OLED for a new television of their own.
  • Ronald Stepp

    I thought he said he cracked “IT.”?

  • rasjor

    2 important parts are missing from the rumor:

    The remote: iPod Touch as a second screen remote running contextual iAds
    The connectors panel: Will there still be a connector for your cable provider? If this is anything like the iPhone launch, Apple will either be talking to TV Stations or Cable companies at the moment, trying to make deals like they did with the big telcos.
    So stay tuned for a TV Streams section in iTunes or the iTV might even only be available from your cable provider as a set-top-box.

  • Matthew Gonzales Landry

    I think you guys commenting are too focused on the TV set. When Steve Jobs said he “finally cracked” TV, he didn’t mean he cracked the design and features of the set, itself. He meant he found a system that would force cable companies to change. I believe Apple will partner with one cable/satellite provider and integrate Siri services into the overall service and other cable companies will want to add their service to Siri. Obviously some price restructuring will have to occur if they want to be partners. Even if you don’t like the concept of the iTV, you can’t deny that the real purpose of this thing is to make TV reasonable again. I mean, shit, people are bragging that they have 500 more channels than the competitor service, but who watches all those channels? I know I watch, E!, LifeTime, HGTV, MSNBC, FX, HBO, Cinemax, Comedy Central, DIY, and Nickolodian (Avatar). I’d gladly spend $30/month and just get these channels rather than spend four times this amount and get 5,000 channels. I think $3 per channel is pretty reasonable in comparison to what’s happening now.

  • DugCrates

    This seems very obvious. The Mac monitors are just getting bigger. With the Apple TV already having a Front Row type of OS. Airplay mirroring with the release of Mt. Lion. It looks like things have been on a collision course for awhile. Possibly really lightening up Apple’s overhead and concentrate on the core products that multi-task for your Tech needs. Smart. Who else would you buy an integrated Uber-Entertainment/Productivity center from? Atleast they keep the user in mind and not just how can we make money. Hope the really consider bulking up the remote. The current one is whack. iOS meets OS X meets TV meets Mac Mini. Only wealthy people will be able to afford one I’m sure…Heres to winning the Jackpot before these drop. Cheers.

  • DugCrates

    One more thing. You have a iPhone or iPad with a 7″ ish screen and the current size. You just use remote management for you’re computing needs. With the cloud and the iPad/iPhone getting faster and more all around capability. You won’t need a laptop. Thats probably close to the way Apple would like to see things. I tend to agree almost. Wouldn’t trade my MacBook Pro for anything though…

About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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