We heard yesterday that Apple has been struggling with the big bad cable companies over what it wants the future of Apple TV to be (an a la carte streaming future) and what the cable companies want (more of the same). Now we get details on what Apple's vision for Apple TV was from the WSJ: a cloud-based DVR that lets you watch any show on demand.
It's a concept that's been attempted to some degree before (Dish Network's PrimeTime Anywhere comes to mind) but a lot more ambitious. It'd more or less work like this: viewers can start any show at any time through Apple's set-top box because all the TV shows are stored on the cloud. Ideally, right when the show airs live, viewers can start playing a show on demand. On top of that, Apple wants to let users access all episodes of any show's current season (instead of just a few). TV at your complete convenience and not of that of the schedule. Makes sense, don't it.
The WSJ is also saying that the interface of the new Apple set-top box would lean heavily on iOS' navigation icons and may even let the iPhone and iPad be used as remote controls. That's no surprise as all on-screen guides of all cable companies are varying degrees of terrible. There'll also be some social aspects built in to the future of Apple TV, like sharing to Twitter (this already exists in things like the Peel) but that's obviously less important than Apple's vision of what TV should be like. After hearing it, I wouldn't mind living in that future myself*
*That's your cue to ruin it all cable companies. [WSJ]