Apple iTV: Rounding up the rumors
Rumors of a possible Apple-built television set have been circulating for more than a year, but after the publication of Walter Issacson's biography of Steve Jobs, the rumor mill shifted into high gear.
And while a lot has been said, by Jobs himself as well, it can be a bit tough to keep track of just what is being reported as new rumors pop up about the supposed "iTV" nearly as often as they do with the iPad 3.
To help you, and us, keep track, here's a run-down of some of the major rumors that have circulated thus far.
What Steve Jobs said:
In the Issacson biography, which was published after Jobs' death in October, the iconic Apple co-founder and longtime CEO said that he had figured out an approach to TV that he thought could change the $100-billion television industry.
"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," Jobs is quoted as saying in Issacson's book, titled simply "Steve Jobs."
"It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and ... will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it," Jobs said.
With that quote, fear has been reportedly struck into rival consumer electronics companies, who don't know what an Apple television could look or perform like, but are working to beat the speculated product to the punch.
As reported on the Technology blog in November, Peter Misek, an Apple analyst at Jefferies & Co., said that the TV industry isn't quite prepared for what could be coming in the iTV.
"It appears that mainstream TV manufacturers are likely to be at least six to 12 months behind in the best-case scenario," Misek said. "Many of them lack the software and cloud capabilities as well as the innovative cultural elements to effectively compete."
Consumer electronics maker Sharp is rumored to be the LCD display supplier for Apple's so-called iTV project, according to a November report from Bloomberg Businessweek. Sharp currently supplies the LCD displays for Apple's iPhone and the Cupetino, Calif., tech giant has been rumored to be an investor in Sharp's growing LCD manufacturing business.
Apple's iMac computer is currently offered in a 24- and 27-inch size and its Thunderbolt Display computer monitor is offered only a 27-inch model.
According to a December report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple has held meetings with media executives to show them what its new television can do, such as streaming video content. The Journal's report also stated that Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet software and services, has shown media execs the Apple television's voice and gesture controls.
"In at least one meeting, Apple described future television technology that would respond to users' voices and movements," the Journal reported, sourcing the information to multiple unnamed sources. "Such technology, which Apple indicated may take longer than some of its other ideas, might allow users to use their voices to search for a show or change channels."
The report also said that the prototype television set can also interact with iPad and iPhones, so a user could start watching a movie or TV show on their mobile device and then finish it on the TV.
A la carte channels or subscription?:
Apple may or may not be having success in getting content partners on board, but there is also different reports on what the company is trying to get TV networks and studio to agree to.
According to a GigaOm report in November, Apple was talking to media companies about a subscription-based video service with ad revenue split between Apple and its partners -- one that CBS says it has turned down.
USA Today this month reported that Apple is working on an a la carte service that would allow users to pay for the channels they want. Getting media companies on board with this idea has also been "a major roadblock for Apple," the newspaper said.
"Apple has been unable to cut deals that would let it offer first-tier TV network programs for an a la carte iTunes TV service," USA Today said. "That's seen as a key element to launching a revolutionary iTV."
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Photo: A shopper checks out an Apple iMac computer at a Best Buy in Texas. Credit: Eddie Seal / Bloomberg