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Get ready for the onslaught of Apple iTV rumors


We just barely made it through the iPhone 5/iPhone 4S rumor mill alive, and we’ve already fallen into another bottomless pit of speculation, only this time it’s about a television.

That’s right, the so-far mythical “iTV.” If you’ve been paying any attention at all over the past week, the tech press — us included — have begun salivating over what some believe is the last immaculate creation of late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs.

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Fueling the fire of this newfound favorite topic is the recently released Jobs biography, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson. Jobs told Isaacson that he’d “finally cracked” the problem of producing a successful Apple television. Not Apple TV, the fringe set-top box that continues to make much of a splash, but an actual TV set, screen and all. The conundrum, according to Jobs, wasn’t simply how to make a good-looking TV, but how to make a revolutionary one. His solution: Siri. 

The voice-controlled Siri artificial intelligence, which debuted this month as an exclusive feature of the iPhone 4S, allows users to perform much of the functionality of the iPhone 4S just by speaking naturally. 

According to The New York Times‘ Nick Bilton — as trusted a tech reporter as you will find — Siri was the final piece to Jobs’ Apple television puzzle. With the help of Siri, Apple’s version of the television may make the remote control obsolete, replaced by superior voice-control technology. “I want to watch Mythbusters,” we’ll all soon be saying. And Siri (or some iteration of Siri) will just make it happen. 

Bilton reports that Apple has been working on a television since 2007, and he says that we will see the first iTV unveiled late next year, or in early 2013. 

Of course, like all other unannounced Apple products, there’s no telling what could happen. Unnamed sources and trusted reporters and publications have a terrible track record, as of late, at getting the scoop on Apple’s plans. This time may be different. We just don’t know. What we do know, however, is that the chatter about an Apple television will continue for at least the next year; and that, until we actually hear from Apple on the matter, we’ll be taking these reports well salted.

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Imagining an Apple iTV: What will it take to conquer the big screen?
apple tv concept rumor

Last week, Tim Cook once again hinted that Apple was going to launch a new Apple TV product, but there were virtually no new details. We are all still working off the last comments from Steve Jobs, who indicated he had figured out how to “fix” the TV before he passed away. This in itself is interesting because Steve Jobs was not a fan of television; he thought it made people stupid. While he clearly wasn’t against movies or serious content, he likely wasn’t a fan of highly biased news programs that had little connection to the facts, reality TV shows, or most children’s programing.
Apple’s past successes
TV is very different than Apple’s other recent successes. MP3 players weren’t doing well largely because of DRM, excess complexity, and high component cost. Apple made it simple, negotiated aggressive component prices, and ignored DRM (initially). Smartphones were mostly made by RIM or Palm and largely business focused. Apple focused on consumers, made them attractive, and tied them back to the iPod. In both cases he took limited markets and made them mainstream. Tablets were similar to smartphones: focused on business, difficult to use, and very expensive. He made them relatively affordable, focused them on consumers (users), and made them simple.

The formula in all cases was to take a product class that was self limiting and find a way to get it to appeal to a larger segment by addressing the key aspects of the existing products that created those limitations.
How to win in on the big screen
The TV market is very different. Unlike MP3 players, TVs are already pretty easy to use, focused on consumers, sold at high volumes, and margins are already tight. Unlike smartphones and tablets, businesses don’t buy most of them -- they are already consumer oriented and national averages suggest there are several already in every home.
This is a market that has bested companies like Gateway, Dell, HP, and Pioneer, all of which found they couldn’t compete in it. Currently, it is also a market in trouble; Sony and Panasonic are both struggling with it, and recent technologies like 3D and smart TV features haven’t been as big a hit as expected.
But these problems could also be exactly what Apple needs to solve to stand out. Smart TVs, as highlighted by Google TV and others, are struggling. There is little commonality, they are relatively expensive, their services (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon, etc.) aren’t even comprehensive collectively. TiVo’s time shifting remains a niche market (with TiVo and Microsoft owning much of the related intellectual property).
So there actually is an iPod-like opportunity, but unlike what Apple initially did with iPod (providing very easy ripping of existing content) the problem is intellectual property rights for video programing. That’s a vastly more difficult nut for anyone to crack.
What would an Apple TV look like?
 Let’s start with design. Apple is pretty consistent when it comes to design language, and it has to deal with the same limitations here as everyone else. Projection is too difficult to set up if external, and creates too large a product if internal, so it seems likely Apple would go with a panel technology. Samsung is moving to lock up OLED, but there are other players. Still, you would think if Apple loved OLED it would adopt the technology in its smaller devices first. Instead, Apple has gone for higher resolution in the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, which suggests a Retina-like higher resolution panel may be its first choice on a TV, too. Higher resolution content creates bandwidth problems, and these are likely part of what is delaying this product to market, but I would expect Apple to avoid 3D and push its version of HD to higher resolutions.

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Foxconn ‘making preparations’ for Apple iTV production, says chairman
report apple buying tv components to launch itv this year

The Apple "iTV" rumors just keep on comin'. This time, however, the source of the report is none other than Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, who told major Chinese English-language newspaper China Daily that his company will soon begin production of the long-speculated Apple HDTV.
China Daily reporter Gou Changxin writes that Gou indicated that Foxconn is "making preparations" for the iTV, but that "development or manufacturing " has not yet started. Gou also reportedly said that Foxconn's recent 46.5 percent share purchase of Sharp's massive, high-tech LCD plant in Sakai, Japan, is part of those preparations.
Early this week, an unnamed source told CultofMac that he or she had seen Apple's prototype HDTV, and further backed up rumors that the television would come loaded with the Siri voice-controlled virtual assistant that is currently found exclusively in the iPhone 4S. The source also said that the TV has FaceTime video chat, and will look similar to Apple's Cinema Display monitors.
The China Daily report reiterates all of these rumors.
The Apple iTV rumor mill went into full production last year after the release of Walter Isaacson's biography of late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs. In the book, Jobs is quoted as saying that he had "finally cracked" the problem of how to make a better television. According to The New York Times and other publications, the solution he found was Siri.
Still, it's hard to know exactly what Apple has in store — it wouldn't be Apple, after all, if such guesses were easy. But with even the chairman of Foxconn, Apple's primary manufacturer, saying that an Apple television is real, the release of such a device appears all but imminent.
(Via HowToArena/AppleInsider)

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Rumor: Apple iTV on track for 2012 Q2-Q3 release

Speculation surrounding the Apple iTV has continued to swell, and now DigiTimes says the rumored Internet television is on track to be released before the end of next year. “The supply chain of Apple will start prepping materials for iTV sets in the first quarter of 2012 in order to meet Apple’s schedule to launch the new display products in the second or third quarter of 2012,” says the site.
Earlier this month we heard that Apple was busy taking meetings with content producers and “media executives,” which likely has something to do with streaming and downloading services that are supposedly being built into the device. We’ve gotten wind of a variety of features that could be included in the iTV, but not many hints regarding a timeline or manufacturing details.
In addition to news that we could be witnessing the launch of the iTV in less than a year, DigiTimes also reveals that Samsung began making chips for the devices last month and that Sharp is behind the displays. First gen units will apparently range between 32- and 37-inches—which is definitely on the small size, relatively speaking.
We wouldn’t be surprised if larger units were being made by other manufacturers; a launch with sub 40-inch units seems like a mistake in the age of bigger (display size) is better. However the site’s sources say these 32- and 37-inch TVs will be the initial release sizes. If that’s really the case, why would Apple choose such an unconventional route? Sure, the iPhone has one of the smallest displays on the market but Apple has stuck by the iPad’s 10-inch form factor—so we know the brand isn’t devoted to tiny packaging. While smaller TVs translate to lower prices and less manufacturing costs (this is something of an experiment for Apple), consumers continue to prove they want larger television screens.
It would also be unlike Apple to curb its product in order to keep the price point down—and possibly unnecessary. Nearly every iRelease comes with a hefty price tag and still fanboys line the blocks for the latest gadgets. That said, the iTV might not be able to draw as heavily from this loyal pool as its mobile products have, and Apple might be trying to address this risk with the smaller sets. Hopefully we’ll find out as supply chain and timeline details continue to surface.

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