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.
It’s December, a traditionally slow news month, and it seems this December is even slower than most, because even organizations as solidly grounded in reality as All Things D are now posting elaborate wishful thinking exercises about what the much rumored Apple HDTV will actually be. This one, however, is more interesting and plausible than some… at least in a few key regards.
If you have faith in the supernatural deity named Gene Munster, and believe with all your heart that Apple is going to release the iTV in 2013, then you’ve probably got all your pennies saved so you can drop some fat stacks on Apple’s flatscreen next year.
Apple products usually aren’t cheap, and we figure the iTV will be no different if Apple ever releases one, but according to a new survey, over 46% of Americans are totally fine with having to pay over $1,000 for an iTV.
On Tuesday I went to a party at San Francisco’s Cafe Du Nord to celebrate the launch of Fuze For Mac, a nifty cloud-based videoconferencing tool from FuzeBox.
I heard several interesting things about Steve Jobs and some intriguing Apple TV rumors. One of the rumors made me think that Tim Cook’s new Mac — the one that is going to be made in the U.S.A. — might actually be a big-screen Apple TV.
Here’s what I heard:
The software was developed at the behest of Steve Jobs himself, who persuaded FuzeBox to make the software not just for the Mac, but for an upcoming Apple TV.
Steve Jobs gave the company a special dev lab on Apple’s campus.
According to FuzeBox’s CEO, the upcoming Apple TV has a 60-inch screen. It has no inputs whatsoever, except an AC power cord. No wires. You can’t plug in a cable box or a game console. Nothing.
It does have Gigabit wireless Wi-Fi and gesture controls, equivalent to Microsoft’s Kinect accessory for the Xbox.
And finally, the story of how FuzeBox got an ultra rare meeting with Steve Jobs is worth telling — details below.
Now, I’m the first to admit that not all of this adds up. I got it from Jeff Cavins, FuzeBox’s CEO, who told a good tale, especially after I’d had a couple of pints. While I was fascinated and entertained, it didn’t get to pin him down on details. The party was loud and crowded, and we were constantly interrupted. So mostly for entertainment purposes, this is what he said:
This guy really believes that Apple is making a HDTV.
Gene Munster, everyone’s favorite Apple analyst, spoke at Business Insider’s IGNITION Conference today in New York City. One of the topics Munster hit on was the Apple TV. For years, Munster has been one of the biggest proponents of Apple releasing a literal TV. His most recent prediction pushed the product’s announcement to the end of next year, while last year he predicted that Apple would start shipping in early 2013.
Apple’s real plans for the living room remain to be seen, but today Munster explained his reasoning for why Apple didn’t announce a HDTV this year.
According to a new rumor, iPhone assembler Foxconn Electronics is discussing plans to build manufacturing plants in the U.S. Possible locations for the new plants include Detroit and Los Angeles, but Foxconn may be conducting evaluations in other cities as well.
Foxconn and Apple have come under fire over the last few years for terrible working conditions in assembly plants. The assembly of the iPhone and iPad being conducted in China rather than the U.S. was even a debate point in the recent presidential election. Bringing manufacturing jobs into the U.S. may help heal Foxconn’s reputation.
Legendary entrepreneur and businessman Mark Cuban knows a thing or two about the TV industry. Besides owning the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban founded HDNet Movies and is subsequently the chairman of AXS TV on the HDTV network. He also appears in Shark Tank, a reality TV show starring prominent entrepreneurs and business executives.
It’s no secret that Apple has been trying to reach agreements with Hollywood to create a totally new kind of TV experience. Negotiations have reportedly been ongoing for quite some time. In a recent interview, Cuban explained how Apple’s software integration with the cable companies would be a “game over” move. The TV industry would never be the same.
Last week I argued that Apple’s ingredients for an ‘iTV’ experience could be simpler than you think. Quoting Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes, I suggested that the iPad could be the remote control hub for Apple’s desired TV interface. Imagine swiping through your favorite channel icons on the iPad and having them play live on your living room flatscreen. A TV guide menu designed by Jony Ive would be a dream come true. There’s so much untapped potential.
Cult of Mac reader and user interface designer Adrian Maciburko sent me some great concept designs of how iTV could work with the iPad. Check them out and let everyone know what you think!