“For years we’ve been trying to figure out what Steve Jobs meant when he dropped this juicy nugget to Walter Isaacson while being interviewed for his biography: ‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it,'” Michael Simon writes for Mac|Life.

“The sad part is, we may never truly know,” Simon writes. “It could have been a TV or a TiVo-like set-top box or a cloud service able to be beamed from our iOS devices to any screen we choose, but whatever he had dreamed up, there’s one thing we can pretty much bank on: We would have seen it by now. Whatever negotiating needed to done would have been wrapped up and all the dotted lines would have signatures on them.

Eddy Cue

Eddy Cue

But instead of gushing over the latest revolution in our living room, a report last week by the Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple is still struggling to come to terms with any of the major players in the cable TV game.”

“After negotiating for several years, it would seem that Apple is in no better position to call the shots than it was when we first started hearing about its fabled television device. And that’s just not the way Steve operated,” Simon writes. “If there’s anything missing from Apple today, it’s that quality, the ability to sell a radical idea. Senior VP of Internet Software and Services Eddie [sic] Cue is supposed to be that guy, the one who convinces uncertain TV execs that they’d be foolish not to follow Apple’s lead. But with all due respect, he’s no Steve Jobs.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Steve Jobs was a unique tour de force. We’re not sure it’s fair to blame Tim Cook and Eddy Cue for not inking a meaningful deal without Steve in the driver’s seat (sorry, Tim and Eddy, but KORTV fails to wow).

That said, there are certainly other more charismatic, more forceful leaders who might have gotten something significant done by now. When you have more excess cash lying around than most of these media companies are worth, it wouldn’t be out of character for Steve Jobs to make that fact crystal clear at a critical juncture. As the general sales manager bluntly told his salesman who claimed to be “close” to a sale: “It doesn’t mean shit until you get the ink.”

The main problem with Apple TV is what it’s always been: Lack of content.

If you need access to content and you can’t ink deals for it, then buy it* – if you believe in your product, that is. If not, then Jobs’ “I finally cracked it” will continue to haunt Apple.

*With just the cash they have lying around today, Apple could finance ten $100 million dollar feature films per year – by top directors, with top actors, and exclusive to iTunes Store – for the next 150 years. There is nothing but imagination stopping Apple from financing exclusive, top quality film and TV show content to feed Apple TV and iTunes Store while jump starting very serious negotiations with Hollywood studios.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Apple in talks to revamp Apple TV set top box; scaled-back plans would rely on cable providers – February 13, 2014