Rumors of an Apple branded TV have been around for years, but nothing fueled them more than the release of Steve Jobs biography. Here is the short passage written by Walter Issacson from Steve Job’s biography that ignited the Apple TV rumors:
“‘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.”
The part about “the simplest user interface you could imagine” reminds me of when the iPhone was unveiled and Steve Jobs revealed that it would be controlled with the best pointing device in the world, your finger.
Many people seemed to think Steve Jobs was referring to Siri when he said: “I finally cracked it,” but using voice commands to control a TV could be problematic. I suspect the simple interface Jobs was referring to has more to do with gesture base controls than voice based controls.
Leap Motion has a new Kinect like controller for computers that looks very similar to a patent application Apple applied for last year. The Leap Motion controller is 200 times more precise than the Kinect and could be similar to what Apple is developing.
The iTV (or whatever they call it) will also need a physical remote. That’s where companion screens like the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch can enhance the user experience even more and with over 300 million iOS devices sold, Apple has a massive user base with touch screen remotes already in hand. Whatever Apple’s plan are regarding Apple TV, it will certainly include a revolutionary user interface.
While many people debate whether or not Apple will release a TV, I personally believe they and the TV will incorporate many iOS features. There are several reasons why I believe a full fledged Apple TV is coming, but the main reason is Apple’s philosophy on controlling the user experience. That is hard to accomplish when my $99 Apple TV is plugged into a Sony TV and has a HDMI cable snaked around the back.