Not content with changing the way we listen to music, communicate through our phones and creating the world’s number 1 selling tablet, Apple, has big plans for the television.
After last weeks comments that Apple TV was a “hobby” for Apple, the technology giant has plans to take the that hobby further and completely turn the television world on his head.
Tim Cook gave the biggest hint to what the Cupertino company has planned for the Television: “With Apple TV, however, despite the barriers in [the TV set top box] market, for those of us who use it, we’ve always thought there was something there. And that if we kept following our intuition and kept pulling the string, then we might find something that was larger.
“For those people that have it right now, the customer satisfaction is off the charts. But we need something that could go more main market for it to be a serious category.”
So Apple has plans to turn its hobby into some thing massive. The something massive is thought to be an Apple-branded TV. We’re going to run you through all the rumours, stories and speculation that an Apple-branded television has brought us over the last 6 months.
Apple iTV design
For Apple to succeed as a television maker they need come up with a design that is so striking that it will make consumers sit up and take notice – especially so – if it’s going to cost a lot more than your average HDTV.
The Telegraph says that “sources within the company” say that Jeff Robbin, the man who helped create the iPod, is leading the team.
The current thinking is the new sets will be available sometime this year, but not before Apple releases a new version of its current set top box: Apple TV. Confused? So are we. If Apple want to succeed in making TV sets – then they surely will have to drop Apple TV – having a set top box of the same name is only going to dilute to the concept and confuse you average consumer.
Apple iTV specifications
Apple TV specs aren’t too hard to predict: 1080p and A5 processor is the current thinking. Other than that we’re in the dark. There are no details on what sort of tech will power the screens: whether it’s LED, OLED, LCD or something Apple has devised itself. If you look at some of Apple’s current products they’re missing certain technologies – for instance no HDMI support, or even Blu-ray – could they repeat this closed system again with iTV and be successful? We have our doubts.
Apple iTV operating system
The television’s main party piece will, of course, be the inclusion of iOS as the main operating system for the sets. This should mean Airplay compatibility with your Mac or iPad, there will be, of course, be shared libraries with iTunes and, hopefully, iOS apps on the TV. Steve Jobs reportedly said that he’d “cracked it” when talking about the sets and many believed that the TV’s will come with the mild-mannered voice assistant Siri.
Apple iTV and iCloud
Steve Jobs told his biographer: “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”
Apple iTV remote control
It’s thought that iTV, or whatever they call it, will come with a traditional remote, but it will also be able to be controlled via any of your idevices: including iPhones, iPod touches and iPads – but many reckon the real remote will be you. That’s right an Apple TV will be controlled via voice. The system will utilise the technology from Siri, Apple’s voice recognition system will be the heart of the new Apple TV, enabling you to choose channels and control the TV’s functions with voice alone.
Apple iTV AirPlay mirroring
Apple announced this week that the next version of it’s Mac OSX will have AirPlay mirroring from Mac To Apple TV. So it’s not a great leap to suggest that an Apple TV could mirror that display of your Mac, iPad or iPhone wirelessly.
Apple iTV programmes
This is one of the main stumbling blocks for the success of an iTV: content. There’s no doubt that users will be able to access content from iTunes, but what about sports, entertainment and the myriad of other shows your average savvy consumer wants. Apple’s main challenge is getting enough content to the sets to make the whole concept viable. If Apple want to take over from Sky then they’ll need to get their own content. If the rely on Sky for content, then why would someone spend this much on a TV that has apps and voice controls? We’ve already got smart TV’s with apps like iPlayer, Netflix, and LoveFilm – could Apple really offer something we’ve never seen before? We remain to be convinced.
Apple iTV price
Rumours suggest that an Apple TV could retail for twice the price of a normal smart TV. If this is true, it’s quite worrying, sure early adopters would jump on board regardless of price, but we’re failing to see the unique selling point – a fancy UI and apps, for us, just wouldn’t be enough to convince us to splash the cash.
Apple iTV picture quality
Samsung’s Chris Moseley who told Pocket-Lint in early February 2012 that the firm isn’t overly concerned with what Apple launches if it decides to enter the TV market.
“We’ve not seen what they’ve done but what we can say is that they don’t have 10,000 people in R&D in the vision category,” he says.
“They don’t have the best scaling engine in the world and they don’t have world renowned picture quality that has been awarded more than anyone else.”
Apple iTV release date
Most rumours predict a 2013 Apple iTV release date, but the more optimistic observers think Apple won’t want to miss 2012’s Christmas shopping season.
Not for the fist time we are a little confused. If Apple wants to extend iOS to TV’s it would be so much easier just to continue with the set top box. But if they want to replace Sony or Samsung as the go-to company for TV’s then they need to really understand what they want to do.
They won’t be the gate-keepers of content: Sky has that accolade already sewn up. But if they want to revolutionise TV’s with a new UI, then making their own TV is a massive gamble. At the moment there are loads of UI’s in front of consumers: Sky guide, Freeview guides, even Samsung’s own smart TV system – do we really need Apple to join the party ? We’re not sure. An over priced TV with iOS support looks like a failure to us, but we excited to see if Apple can persuade us otherwise.