Walter Isaacson suggests that Steve Jobs and Apple had been working on an Apple-branded TV, and are close to acheiving their goal. From Isaacson’s bio of Steve Jobs:
“‘[Jobs] 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. ‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ [Jobs] 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.’”
Of course, “I finally cracked it” doesn’t mean that a product is ready, but New York Times writer Nick Bilton lends further credence to the idea at the paper’s Bits Blog:
“I immediately began snooping around, asking Apple employees and people close to the company if a full fledged Apple Television was in the works. ‘Absolutely, it is a guaranteed product for Apple,’ I was told by one individual…It is coming though. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”
Let’s assume that Apple will release a TV of some sort. Would it be an actual television set or a souped-up version of Apple TV that connects to a customer’s existing set? For now I’m leaning towards a set-top box, as the logistics of selling an actual television seem daunting.
- Who will sell it? HDTVs are big, space-hogging things. Are the smaller Apple Stores equipped to stock and display several units? What about authorized resellers?
- How does service work? Unlike an iPhone or even a Mac Pro, an HDTV isn’t something you can carry into a Genius Bar.
- What about Apple’s refresh cycle? Many people keep their TVs for years, even decades. Apple typically refreshes their hardware product lines every two years or so.