Apple’s iTV Will Be The Big Elephant In The Room At CES This Year [CES 2013 Preview]

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Next week at CES every tech company in the world is going to cram under one roof and show off all their products that they hope will change the world. Well every company except Apple that is.

Even though Apple won’t have a presence at CES this year, we’ll see their influence everywhere, from ultrabooks to smartphones. But the biggest influence Apple will have on CES 2013 is with a product they haven’t even released yet – the mythical iTV.

Everyone is scared of what will happen if Apple launches an iTV because it will give them a virtual monopoly on all consumer screens (smartphones, laptops, tablets, and televisions). So naturally we’re going to see a lot of Smart TVs as everyone attempts to predict what Apple’s going to do, and then try to get there first.

Smart TVs

The Apple iTV is supposedly going to come with software that lets users access all their cable content and iTunes videos from one easy-to-use interface. It will also come with either motion controls like the Kinect or use voice commands like Siri. It will probably be ridiculously thin and have a brushed aluminium bezel. This is all based on unfounded rumors, but that doesn’t mean Apple’s competition thinks it’s unlikely to happen, so they’re going to adopt many of these elements into their Smart TVs for 2013.

We expect to see a lot of new TVs at CES that come with better UIs and advanced content integration. No one has perfected Internet video streaming to a TV set just yet, but everyone is going to try at CES. Some will use Google TV to bring better features to their flatscreen, while others will home-brew their own solution.

If we don’t see motion activated controls we’d be shocked. And there’s going to be many more 4K TVs than there was last year, but I think companies are going to be more focused on usability and adding advanced features to the TV, so that TV manufacturers can start eating into the cable networks’ profits.

Set Top Boxes

Not every company wants to build their own television set but they still want to be a player in the TV market. Intel may or may not show off a set top box at CES that can stream video to your TV via a subscription service while also including traditional content like sports. It’s been rumored that Microsoft will position the next Xbox as more of a set top box for the TV than just a video game system. All the big tech companies that aren’t making TV sets will probably come out with a set top box in the near future.

Some companies will try to innovate the DVR while others will be releasing streaming set top boxes that look like the Apple TV. We already have Roku and Google TV boxes that compete with the Apple TV, but we expect there will be a fresh crop of set top boxes that want to wedge themselves between your TV and cable service before Apple’s iTV has a chance to cut them out of the picture altogether. There should be some big companies jumping into the set top box game this year, and we’ll get a glimpse of their products at CES this year.

TV Apps

No, I don’t mean apps on your TV screen (although that’s coming too). I mean apps on your iPhone and iPad that will make watching TV better. We’ve already heard of a couple apps that want to bring augmented reality into the living room. Other apps are trying to become the Shazam of TV. And if someone can figure out a great way to integrate live Twitter commentary into a sports game or TV show while I’m watching it, then they’re bound to strike it big.

Along with Smart TVs, Set Top Boxes, and TV Apps, we’re going to see a slew of the same products become more refined and perfected. There are bound to be some crazy new TV accessories, as well as fancy sound bars that also have a Lightning connector and AirPlay integration.

The best thing about CES is finding the new and wacky stuff that you can’t even dream up but someone else did – like a closet with a built-in steamer, or a holographic iPad. There’s bound to be some magical new TV products to be found while we slosh our way through the dreary halls of CES, and I can’t wait.

  • FriarNurgle

    I just really hope that any new fancy iTV functionality will also be available on the hockey puck Apple TV.

  • Cortney Sauk

    That’s like saying the next iPhone is going to be better than the last… Of course Samsung’s Smart TV is going to be upgraded… Duhhh

    Not to mention Samsung has been trying to make ‘Smart” TV’s for a while. I remember the first Blu-Ray player I bought years ago had the ability to connect to YouTube and play videos among other things. This stuff is NOT NEW, it’s just been getting slowly better over the years, and as Apple has stated MANY times. The AppleTV is just a hobby, and I agree. There is NO WAY IN HELL I would pay 3$ for every episode of TV I watch.

    I’ll stick to XBMC on my HTPC thank you very much

  • Skywaytraffic

    Didn’t you guys post pretty much this exact same article last year? Can we let go of this stupid dream that there will ever be an iTV? It’s not going to happen.

  • AdonisBlood33

    It would have a black bezel. Not aluminum. Apple uses black bezels. Look at their monitors and almost every device they have with a screen (minus the distracting trendy white screens).

    It’s so you’re not distracted from the content. And it doesn’t contrast/stick out so your eyes don’t strain.

    It may have an aluminum body, but not bezel. Leave aluminum bezels to those companies who lack style and common sense. I mean Samsung. I know those because they have had an all aluminum bezel tv for years. At first it’s cool to look at. Until you realize it’s hard to watch TV because of it.

  • Paullloydjohnson

    Why do you persist on calling it iTV even when other tech sites have moved on from that name to just Apple TV? The iTV name will never be used by Apple.

  • balzan

    I agree with friarnurgle’s point about the hockey puck needing some of the software fractures of the new itv.

    Speaking of apps that make watching tv a better experience. I have developed an iPhone and iPad app that let’s you follow shows and keep track of episodes and seasons that you have watched. It’s called “Tv Tracker”. In a new update released soon you will be able to follow the conversation http://itunes.apple.com/app/tv-tracker/id512907811?mt=8

  • technochick

    I find it hard to take anyone that calls it an ITV seriously. You are either totally clueless to the fact that ITV is a registered trademark in television by another company which has said repeatedly that they will file suit if Apple tries to use it, which is likely why the set box was never called ITV despite the rumors. All of which has been covered ad nauseum on this very site.

    Or you do know but lack any sense of respect for IP and still use the term. Which makes you at the least a distasteful person.

  • technochick

    Didn’t you guys post pretty much this exact same article last year? Can we let go of this stupid dream that there will ever be an iTV? It’s not going to happen.

    Folks said that about there being a second iPad in the fall and what happened.

    Besides, you came, you hit, they get money so of course they will post it.

  • fede

    they should let ios apps on apple tv, that would make the aTV an htpc as the ipad can be a laptop substitute for many, that would destroy google smart tv, even without worrying about screen panels.
    other that that, it will remain a hobby even for the buyer.

  • ITBloggeren

    Love this article :D hope the tv turns up soon .. Going to buy a new tv this summer, and this is the one I want. I reposted this article on my site. http://su.pr/6uvG1W Thanks

  • hanhothi

    ITV = Independant Tele Vision. A major UK television company that was the first alternative to the BBC (British Broadcasing Company).

    iTV by Apple is a no go, that is why the puck is Apple TV.

    Come on Buster, get with it!

  • Steven Quan

    It would have a black bezel. Not aluminum. Apple uses black bezels. Look at their monitors and almost every device they have with a screen (minus the distracting trendy white screens).

    It’s so you’re not distracted from the content. And it doesn’t contrast/stick out so your eyes don’t strain.

    It may have an aluminum body, but not bezel. Leave aluminum bezels to those companies who lack style and common sense. I mean Samsung. I know those because they have had an all aluminum bezel tv for years. At first it’s cool to look at. Until you realize it’s hard to watch TV because of it.

    Totally untrue. I own 2 Apple Cinema displays with aluminum bezels and they are both 20″ models. They are older and some of the better ones Apples sold in the past. A lot of professionals say the aluminum bezels were superior and were aghast when Apple came out with the current line of cinema displays with black bezels because it made them look like every other monitor maker out there, like say Samsung who uses black bezels.

    Incidentally my previous computer monitor was a Samsung which had a black bezel.

  • Steven Quan

    The AppleTV is just a hobby, and I agree.

    If Apple doesn’t mind doing side hobbies like Apple TV I don’t understand why they can’t go out and make a gaming console as a hobby. I think they could decimate the competition. Just take the Apple TV and give it a beefier processor with a better video card and add bluetooth wireless controllers. The only real cost would be setting up and maintaining the gaming network so that gamers could play with one another (Game Center is lame, doesn’t count).

    Games could be purchase online through the App Store like they already are doing. The Playstation 3 have native support with Mountain Lion so we already have a set of world class controllers we can use. The only thing missing is the gaming network.

About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Senior News Editor and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Twitter: @bst3r.

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