Since the release of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, in which the late Apple co-founder and CEO exclaims that he “finally cracked” the problem of how to create an Apple-level television, we have been repeatedly inundated with rumors about the mythical device. And if market analysts are to be believed, then the rumor mill is going to start cranking at full force as the year wears on. But rather than wait until things become even more of a mess, we decided to consolidate what we’ve heard about the iTV (or whatever it may be called) into a single, entirely unconfirmed list of hearsay tidbits. Enjoy.
Not surprisingly, many expect the iTV to have a similar design to Apple’s LED Cinema Display monitors. A “well-placed” source who claims to have actually seen a prototype of the iTV tells CultofMac exactly that, except it will be “much larger” than the Cinema Display monitors, which top out at 27 inches, and have a 2560 x 1440 resolution. The 27-inch Cinema Display will cost you a cool $999.
So, how big is “much larger”? Australian tech site Smarthouse claims that “sources at a major Japanese company who are involved in manufacturing the TV” (probably Sharp) told the publication that the iTV will range from 32 inches, up to a fairly massive 55-inches. The entirely untrustworthy DigiTimes reports that Apple will release both a 32-inch and a 37-inch version initially, with the larger size(s) to follow. Still others say that the iTV will only come in the 42- and 55-inch sizes.
Soon after this whole iTV rumor craze started late last October (following the death of Steve Jobs), The New York Times’ preeminent technology journalist Nick Bilton reported that Siri, the voice-controlled virtual assistant currently exclusive to the iPhone 4S, would be the defining, revolutionary feature of the iTV. This was repeated by CultofMac’s source, who said that the version he or she saw had Siri, and was able to make FaceTime video calls.
Another CultofMac report suggest that Apple will include a game console with Kinect-like gesture controls, which would further remove the need for a traditional remote control. Given how impressive (and decidedly Apple-like) The Leap hands-free gesture system is, we wouldn’t be surprised to see technology like this included in something Apple releases.
Finally, we would be particularly surprised if Apple doesn’t include some type of streaming service in the iTV. Last October, the Los Angeles Times reported that Apple was in preliminary talks with three major Hollywood studios about an iCloud streaming deal. If streaming video comes to iCloud, you can guarantee it will be in an iTV.
This is the one rumor that won’t sit still. First, we heard that it would arrive late this year, or in early 2013. Piper Jaffray’s Apple analyst Gene Munster (the man responsible for many of the most prominent Apple rumors) reiterated this last November. Then JP Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz told investors that his research “does not indicated any looming TV-related product launch,” and suggested the iTV wouldn’t arrive until 2014. As of this week, however, Munster is doubling down on his bet, saying that we can expect iTV to be announced in December, with the TV arriving in customers’ living rooms soon after the new year.
Update: Foxconn “has received orders for the Apple TV, and is currently in trial production stage,” reports China Business News (via Business Insider). The unconfirmed data comes just over two weeks after Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou was reportedly mistranslated as saying that his company, as well as Japanese partner Sharp, had begun “making preparations” for the production of an iTV. No additional information on date of release has yet been put forth.
Given that the Cinema Display will run you $1,000, it’s safe to assume that an iTV will cost at least that much — but probably more. Of course, Munster has weighed in on this important matter, predicting that an iTV will cost between $1,500 and $2,000 — more than twice the price of other televisions.
[Image: iTV concept]