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Apple Smart TV in 2012
Steve Jobs talks about Apple HDTV in new book

25 Oct 2011 | Rasmus Larsen |

In the newly-released Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson, Jobs talks about a flat panel TV with an extremely simple user interface and iCloud. Media and analysts are now reporting more details, with one analyst claiming that Apple is building prototypes for a late 2012 launch. We also summarize the rumors about the Apple TV and its functionality.

Steve Jobs working on an Apple HDTV

This rumor is not a new one and FlatpanelsHD wrote about the rumored Apple HDTV some time ago. But the newly-released Steve Jobs Biography adds more coal to the rumor train. In Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs Biography, Jobs talks about an extremely user-friendly and connected Apple TV.

Apple TV
Apple is said to be working in a flat panel TV to be released in a few years. This is the user interface on the current Apple TV box

Walter Isaacson writes;
- “He (Jobs, added) very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant,”

Steve Jobs is quoted as saying;
- “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. No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”

TV prototype almost ready

After the biography was released, media have started digging deeper and Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray says that his checks with sources in Asia indicate that Apple is already building prototype TVs for a possible launch in late 2012 or early 2013.

Since February 2009 Gene Munster has repeatedly said that he believes Apple is planning to build a Smart TV (or connected TV) and he believes the price structure could look something like this.

How Gene Munster imagines Apple’s price structure could look for a TV
How Gene Munster imagines Apple’s price structure could look for a TV

- “More recently, in Sept-11 we met with a contact close to an Asian component supplier who indicated that prototypes of an Apple television are in the works.” says Gene Munster.

Also, Bloomberg claims to know that the creator of iTunes is the head of the Apple TV project.

How it works

Analysts, media and users are trying to solve what an Apple Smart TV would look like. The general consensus points towards iCloud being a central element but other theories have also been mentioned. See a list of possible functions below.

iPhones/iPads/iPods can act as remotes from the current Apple TV box
iPhones/iPads/iPods can act as remotes from the current Apple TV box

Below are the most likely scenarios:
  • iCloud: With iCloud Apple is said to provide access to a user’s movies, music and photos on the TV screen.
  • Siri voice control: Many believe that Apple's new Siri voice "assistant" is an important step towards an easy-to-use TV user interface. The users could tell the TV to: "Show me a list of movies with George Clooney", "Find other movies like Harry Potter" and "Remind me when the next Simpsons show becomes available". See how Siri works in the video below.

  • Smart TV - not cable TV: Some sources claim to know that Apple is trying to bypass cable TV companies and instead deliver movies and TV shows on-demand, which also means that the TV would include no digital tuners.
  • AirPlay: AirPlay and AirPlay Mirroring is believed to be an essential element of the TV. With AirPlay users can push their video, music and images from Apple devices to the TV screen. Learn more about AirPlay here.
  • Apps: Most sources expect Apple to extend their App Store onto the TV platform.
  • GameCenter: Apple’s GameCenter is also believed to be a vital component of an Apple Smart TV because it allows Apple to transform the TV into a gaming console and let iPods/iPhones/iPads act as joysticks. This is already possible on the Apple TV box with the latest update.
  • FaceTime: With FaceTime Apple could allow users to make video calls to other TV owners and even Mac/iPhone/iPad users.
  • OLED TV: One source even claims to know that Apple is looking into releasing a 55-inch OLED-TV. Learn more here.

    It should be emphasized that this is pure speculation, and not confirmed at all. Most features are found in existing Smart TVs but Apple aims to combine it with their strong eco system.

    Apple already has a TV product available, with their small black Apple TV box. The quotes from Jobs are found in Walter Isaac's biography of Steve Jobs, available at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

    - Sources:, Bloomberg, Walter Isaac's biography of Steve Jobs

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