“Can this be what Steve Jobs had in mind when he said he ‘finally cracked it?'” Brian R. Fitzgerald wonders for The Wall Street Journal. “Apple is in talks to revamp the TV set-top box, relying on cable providers for programming rights rather than competing against them. At the same time, various reports put a new Apple TV device on shelves as early as June or possibly in time for the holidays, and cite references to a new iteration in builds for iOS 7. Whether the set-top box is the next version of Apple TV or a separate device for a different audience, the latest chatter seems like quite a comedown from the hopes that Apple would disrupt the TV industry with a game-changing experience.”

“It’s looking less like a TV-sized Mac with the world’s most advanced TV tuner or an iTunes approach to a debundled programming landscape, and more like a glossier interface on the same-old cable experience,” Fitzgerald writes. “What if the next Apple TV is the new set-top box that plays ball with cable? That’d likely be enough for people who already drop $99 for what comes with today’s Apple TV: content apps from the likes of Netflix, Hulu, PBS, Disney, HBO and more, all under one roof, plus some mirroring and streaming from other Apple devices. Many of those apps, like WatchESPN or Disney XD, for example, require a cable subscription anyway.”

Fitzgerald writes, “Going from two devices — a DVR/cable box and an Apple TV — to one that does everything those boxes currently do, employs Apple’s superior interface and perhaps adds in Siri-like voice commands and makes any channel a ‘home-screen’ app — well that would get us pretty close to what Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson, when he said he ‘cracked’ the TV nut.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Or maybe Steve, ever the master marketeer, simply added that little nugget in order to help Wrong Choice Walter move some books?

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Apple in talks to revamp Apple TV set top box; scaled-back plans would rely on cable providers – February 13, 2014
Steve Jobs’ told biographer: ‘I finally cracked’ the secret to an easy-to-use integrated HDTV – October 21, 2011