• Apple-developed HDTV

  • CEO Cook cited TV as area of interest

  • Apple iPod/iTunes team leader Jeff Robbin reportedly in charge of product’s interface

  • Very few details known

Rumors surrounding Apple’s television set have picked up recently, especially since Tim Cook publicly hinted at such a product in December of 2012, telling NBC News that television is “an area of intense interest.” But nothing more has been mentioned from Apple, and few concrete details are known, though a report released shortly after Cook’s TV appearance noted Apple is testing designs.

It’s expected that an Apple television set — which we’ll refer to as iTV — will be high-definition, though reports differ considerably on whether it will be a 2K television like most current HDTV sets, or 4K like the next generation of televisions. Reports have suggested that Apple is aiming for a relatively large product. Multiple possible screen sizes, from 46 inches to 55 inches to 60 inches have been bandied about. Some have said it will resemble a Mac monitor, perhaps similar to the Thunderbolt display.

Most features are speculative at this point, though the iTV is expected to use a dramatic new interface to simplify a user’s access to all of his or her media content—a fully on-demand system that lets you watch or acquire anything at any time from the iTunes Store, with traditional “channels” transforming into collections of shows that can be watched live or in archived form as desired. Siri voice control and gesture-based controls have both been mentioned as possible interfaces to replace traditional Infrared remotes. Apple reportedly put Jeff Robbin, an iPod and iTunes team leader, in charge of the iTV’s interface. Negotiations to acquire on-demand content for the product reportedly stalled out with TV studios, leading to an impasse for Apple.

A patent application revealed in late January shows a system that could adjust and enhance audio based on a user’s proximity to a TV, among other features. Many expect the iTV will come with a front-facing camera, and Apple has filed video conferencing patents for a television set, making FaceTime a reasonable expectation. It’s a safe bet that this will basically be the spiritual successor or big brother to the current set top Apple TV. Late this year and 2014 have been mentioned as release dates, though it’s unclear whether Apple will move forward on the TV without content provider partnerships.

Other rumors:

Foxconn was preparing for production as long ago as May 2012, according to a report.

iTV will come with a tablet the same size as the iPad — this doesn’t make any sense, as Apple could just include an iPad — and iRing, a remote that you wear like a ring that can control the TV by pointing. These rumors strike us as bizarre.

  • iTV

    Some believe the iTV could look like a larger version of a Mac monitor — possibly similar to Apple's Thunderbolt display.

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