Apple’s TV project is in motion with its release expected in 2012-2013. The project is being spearheaded by the same guru who helped create Apple’s iTunes and iPod.
In his posthumous biography, Steve Jobs revealed he “finally cracked” how to integrate Apple’s simplistic approach to the anarchic TV infrastructure.
“It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,” Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson.
Despite Jobs’ commentary on the project, Apple hasn’t acknowledged it’s developing a TV set.
The television market isn’t entirely unfamiliar to Apple, who currently sells its Apple TV appendage. Retailing for $129, the small box plugs into a TV and grants access to iTunes, Netflix and YouTube and has been referred by Jobs as a “hobby”.
Apple is working on a prototype TV and it’s expected to be released late 2012 to early 2013, according to Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray Cos. Munster’s estimate factored in Apple’s investing in manufacturing LCD screens, its industry contacts and patent portfolios.
Munster believes Apple’s Siri voice-command feature would be incorporated for menu navigation and information handling, while its current iCloud service would store multimedia content on Apple’s server.
Unifying TV content into one easy-to-use interface is one of the great obstacles facing Robbin if Apple is to realise its goal of seamless TV content search. Another challenge lies in convincing TV and movie content developers to change how they make their content available. Although he’s had success in the past with his brainchild iTunes, where he aided in the breaking down of barriers in the music industry, the task at hand is definitely uphill, especially considering Jobs’ absence.
Apple’s penetration of the television market would lead to heightened competition with Sony, and more interestingly, its arch-rivals Samsung. There’s also the posing threat Google may enter the market a second time, after its initial foray alongside Sony didn’t pan out.
Munster predicts Apple could sell 1.4 million TVs next year (out of 220 million), generating US$6 billion in profit by 2014.