Apple’s Ingredients For An ‘iTV’ Experience Could Be Simpler Than You Think

Apple’s Ingredients For An ‘iTV’ Experience Could Be Simpler Than You Think

What is Apple’s perfect recipe for the living room TV experience? The tech industry has been asking itself that question since rumors of an Apple-branded TV set started circulating months and months ago. While ‘iTV’ rumors have died down recently due to the iPhone 5 and iPad mini hype, Apple has quietly been trying to work out licensing deals with Hollywood for a mysterious iCloud, TV-ish service. Will it be baked into iTunes, the current Apple TV, or come packaged in a totally new device? These are the questions.

While Apple’s real plans are obviously shrouded in mystery, there’s a very strong case to be made for using existing ingredients to make the TV experience Apple ultimately desires. The recipe is actually a lot simpler than you may think. An Apple TV set-top box and iOS device may be all it takes.

Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes spoke with AllThingsD about how he sees Apple approaching the TV space, and his argument is compelling:

“With iCloud, we don’t see any reason why Apple wouldn’t eventually allow an iPad to be an interface for the TV — to perform basic computing tasks with a virtual keyboard like checking emails and calendars, surfing websites, editing your PhotoStream and even chat with iMessage,” Reitzes explains. “These tasks would clearly infringe further on tasks usually earmarked for desktops and laptops — and the iPad and Apple TV combination doesn’t even require Apple to get into the TV market.”

There are arguments to be made on both sides for Apple creating a standalone, ultra-expensive HDTV set. A pro of selling a HDTV is that Apple would control the entire user experience, including the screen itself. Apple has always been about the marriage of software and hardware. That approach makes sense in this case as well. Awhile back Cult of Mac reported that Apple is indeed prototyping its own HDTV set, but who knows if the project will ever see the light of day.

“The iPad has the potential to be the best universal remote ever.”

The problem with a standalone iTV is that people don’t upgrade their TVs very often. Would Apple really be willing to invest that much into a product that will only be bought by a customer every 4-5 years? Most people wait about the same length of time to buy a new Mac, so possibly. However, it make more sense—at least initially—for Apple to just focus on the software and use existing ingredients.

The iPad has the potential to be the best universal remote ever. The iPhone 5’s larger screen real estate also makes it a compelling remote for interfacing with a TV. Apple has a Remote app for controlling iTunes and the Apple TV, but I’m talking about something more. Once the licensing deals are worked out with the major studios, Apple could simply turn the current Apple TV hockey puck into a beautiful hub for streaming and playing back live broadcasts. Think about how wonderful an Apple-designed TV guide interface would be. Software and content is all Apple really needs to create the experience people want. The iPhone and iPad could be the only other ingredients that are needed.

Related
  • Atienne

    “The problem with a standalone iTV is that people don’t upgrade their TVs very often. Would Apple really be willing to invest that much into a product that will only be bought by a customer every 4-5 years? Most people wait about the same length of time to buy a new Mac, so possibly. However, it make more sense—at least initially—for Apple to just focus on the software and use existing ingredients.”

    MODULES BABY: MODULES:

    Build an AMAZING Tv with an AMAZING Screen, and a ATV MODULE.

    Sell the TV once every 5 – 10 years and people will upgrade the $99 Plug & Play module every few years assuming apple can find enough stuff to keep upgrading it every few years.

    Cable subscriptions , games, web tools, etc….

  • technochick

    ‘Apple has quietly been trying to work out licensing deals with Hollywood for a mysterious iCloud, TV-ish service’

    Or isn’t, and any deals that might be going on could just be to better their existing iTunes offerings

  • Cortney Sauk

    Ummm who want’s to look at their iPad every time they want to change the channel or volume… The entire point we dont have LCD or TouchScreen remotes (we do but they don’t sell very well) is that you can’t pick it up in the dark, and hit a button while looking at the TV and not the remote.

    As for Apple TV Guide… As interesting as that would be, it already exists on the iPad as Apps from a few different sources (some you have mentioned on CoM). One is right here on this page as an App You Might Like… LMAO

    Myself, I use a self built Win7 HTPC and XBMC for my TV and Movie watching, as well as the XBMC Commander App (Works amazing since I don’t have to channel surf with XBMC) and iTV for when I want to see when other shows are showing on cable.

  • Shaun Green

    “The iPad has the potential to be the best universal remote ever.”

    And the most expensive. I’m not letting my kids loose with my iPad to use as a TV remote so they can chuck it around like they do the TV remote.

    Have we reached the point where people are too effin lazy to use a remote to search the TV now? I’m trying to encourage my kids to spend less time in front of the TV not more.

  • markrlangston

    This is probably the best option for Apple. It’s been reported that TV sales are pretty flat and with the next wave of 4K TV’s already among us, Apple might be wise to stay away from this loss leading market.

    The current hockey puck model is better because it offers more flexibility. Instead of having to buy 2 – 3 iTV’s you could have one Apple TV and connect it to any room in the house. Or buy several with Apple offering some sort of interconnectivity.

    Better still, you could take your Apple TV and iPad to a friend’s house and be ready to go in seconds.

  • Zod Buster

    great another bunch of bS …just like the iPad mini announcement today NOT

  • Linton Russell

    “The problem with a standalone iTV is that people don’t upgrade their TVs very often. Would Apple really be willing to invest that much into a product that will only be bought by a customer every 4-5 years? Most people wait about the same length of time to buy a new Mac, so possibly. However, it make more sense—at least initially—for Apple to just focus on the software and use existing ingredients.”

    MODULES BABY: MODULES:

    Build an AMAZING Tv with an AMAZING Screen, and a ATV MODULE.

    Sell the TV once every 5 – 10 years and people will upgrade the $99 Plug & Play module every few years assuming apple can find enough stuff to keep upgrading it every few years.

    Cable subscriptions , games, web tools, etc….

    I wish i could + this a million times.
    I thought of the exact same thing. If they get this done, all the other manufacturer are going to be scratching their heads wondering what the hell just happen.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News, Top stories | Tagged: , , , |