Strong Hints of Apple HDTV in Jobs Biography

Illustration for article titled Strong Hints of Apple HDTV in Jobs Biography

We've been dismissive of Apple HDTV rumors, even when we laid out a case for why it actually makes a lot of sense. But according to the new Steve Jobs biography, it turns out we may have been very wrong.

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The Washington Post unearthed this bit about Steve Jobs' attitude towards an Apple-branded television set:

"He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant," Isaacson wrote.

Isaacson continued: "‘I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,' he told me. ‘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.'"

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This not only goes against years of conventional wisdom about Apple's TV interests, it goes against what Jobs himself said last year when he dismissed rumors of Apple's television interests by saying there was no market for it. It was untenable. The company had AppleTV, which was a "hobby," which was enough. Or was it?

The question now is: what exactly did Jobs mean? An Apple-branded television set that liberates you, somehow, from the localized monopolies of cable companies? If anyone had the wherewithal to get the necessary content deals in place, it was Jobs. And if any company has proven itself capable of staking out new ground in a long-stifled category, it's Apple. Everything else is a matter of wait and see.

So the next time new Apple CEO Tim Cook says he's very excited about Apple's product pipeline—and he says it every quarter—now we'll know that he may not just be talking about iPad 3 or iPhone 5. He may be talking about Apple invading your living room the way it's invaded your pocket and your lap. Will Apple HDTV ever see the light of day? Maybe, maybe not. But at least now I'm definitely tuned in. [Washington Post]

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DISCUSSION

Philip-J-Fry
Philip.J.Fry

An intergrated smart TV will never make sense for two basic reasons:

1. the advancement of computer hardware and software moves much faster than the advancement of television hardware.

2. TV's are much too expensive to replace on a regular basis to keep up with the computer tech advancements.

After failed attempts by the TV makers to create "smart TVs", Apple and the other streaming box makers have found the right formula in a small, easy to install and operate set-top box that is cheap to make and sell, and low enough in cost that the price of upgrading is relatively low.

They should just stick with this winning formula.