New York Times: Apple’s Already Prototyping Siri-Powered Television For Release In 2013



We thought we’d put this Apple television business to rest as a pipe-dream, but then Steve Jobs’s biography came out, where he claimed he had finally “cracked” the TV problem. Now the rumor mill has started itself up again with renewed vigor, and the latest report from Nick Bilton over at The New York Times: his sources tell him that Jobs thought that the “industry was totally broken” a real Apple-branded television set “isn’t a matter of if, but when,” a “guaranteed product.”

Bilton explains the problems Apple is trying to overcome with television sets:

Apple engineers and designers, spurred by Mr. Jobs, have been struggling for years to find a new interface for the television. One of the biggest hurdles, according to people with knowledge of the project, has been replacing the television set’s annoying best friend: the awkward and confusing remote control. Apple would give people a way to choose the content on their television that is as easy as choosing the content on their iPod, iPhone or iPad…

Enter Siri.

It’s the stuff of science fiction. You sit on your couch and rather than fumble with several remotes or use hand gestures, you simply talk: “Put on the last episode of Gossip Girl.” “Play the local news headlines.” “Play some Coldplay music videos.” Siri does the rest.

Okay, that’s interesting, as is Bilton’s claim that Apple is close enough to releasing an iTV as soon as 2013.

But here’s the problem: televisions are big and expensive, and people keep their television sets for years, even decades. How is Apple going to get people to upgrade their TV every year or two, especially since everyone already has a TV? Furthermore, why build a huge television set and go through all of the logistical headaches of selling it when a set-top box can do the same thing Apple wants to do and be sold at a price point that makes it a no-brainer for all consumers, using Apple’s existing infrastructure?

No doubt Apple will prove me wrong, but the iTV rumors still don’t add up for me. Apple finally getting serious about the Apple TV seems much more likely.

  • Atienne

    “But here’s the problem: televisions are big and expensive, and people keep their television sets for years, even decades.”

    THis is easy. You just put out a television with an ATV module. The TV would have fantastic resolution and sound, and a replaceable module a little bigger than the ATV. Every few years when apple comes out with a new one, you pop out the old module and pop in the new one with upgraded capabilities. The TV stays, the old module gets put on ebay.

    …see, I could have been steve jobs… :-)

  • Marcos

    I’ll buy one, just to show it to my friends…:D

  • vanmacguy

    Exactly, that’s really the only way this could fly for Apple. There has to be a part that can be upgraded and that Apple can keep charging for.

  • 69Voltage

    The Siri integration makes it worth it, IMO.

  • FriarNurgle

    They better keep the tiny ATV also.

  • Mike Rathjen

    That’s too bad. I like the current AppleTV model where you can hook up the Apple functionality to any display you like.

  • Aj Tk427

    but why have a TV in this model, they already have this with ATV2.  It’s not like Apple manufactures displays, they buy them from LG, Samsung whoever.  To me this is still just talk about ATV3.

    I still don’t know how the interface to the cable company is going to work.  I really, really hope that Apple is working on this, I want to tell my local cable company to go shove their boxes where the sun don’t shine.  Then hook up ATV’s to all my existing (emphasis here, I’m not about to go out and replace all my perfectly fine TVs) TVs

    I think Apple has the ability with iCloud and Siri, to very essential components, but there is still the missing one which is the networks/cable companies.

  • Dustin Moskowitz

    “What show is on channel 13 tonight?”
    “I have found 3 stores nearby that sell Chanel products…”

  • ADimensionOfMind

    hmmm …I’ll believe it when I see it, something about a TV just doesn’t fit with Apples product line, and a pull out swappable module lacks finesse. 

  • Chris

    I don’t think Apple is going to sell their own TV, the set-top-box is what they will continue to make

  • Atienne

    because they could integrate other things into it, such as remote microphones for SIRI, etc… that way you don’t have a million cables hanging around. 

    the ATV module could also incorporate UNIVERSAL cable cards like the TIVO does…. the possibilities are endless.

  • al friede

    just incorporate siri into the appleTV 3 box and connect it to whatever tv/vid monitor you want – done!

  • Azza

    Apple TV + dual tuners + PVR + Siri
    Why would Apple want to provide the display itself?

  • iFreek

    Think Cinema Display with Bose sound + separate Apple TV box + Apple Remote (or iOS device).