Apple is working on a television for 2012, say sources

“Apple is almost certainly working on a digital television based on its iOS operating system, according to multiple sources in Silicon Valley,” Dylan Tweney reports for VentureBeat.

“An Apple-based television makes sense in light of Apple’s continued expansion out of the computer industry into the larger consumer electronics market,” Tweney reports. “But is it real?”

Tweney reports, “Apple has been testing the waters with its AppleTV, a set-top box that provides access to movies and TV from iTunes as well as other online video content. The company has a number of partnerships with movie studios and television networks, giving it an impressive content library. And its lightweight iOS operating system seems ideally suited for consumer devices (the OS is already under the hood in AppleTV)… iOS will enable Apple to transform the television into something that doesn’t just show videos, but also plays games, runs apps, lets you check your schedule and tweet about what YouTube movie you happen to watching at that moment.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. The Apple TV project leverages AirPlay which itself is the logical evolution of QuickTime. AirPlay will beam multiple developing formats much the way QuickTime hosts them. The “Apple TV” itself will advance the concept of TV as a display hub.

  2. Something’s missing in this “analysts” view – how Apple makes MONEY.

    Apple will not build a TV to simply compete with all the other brands. It would need something special to make it a *gotta have* unit, but that device is *not* the AppleTV. The iPod was integrated with iTunes, the iPad with the App Store, but the AppleTV hasn’t caught on because it’s not broad enough. Limited movies and TV shows in the US only are NOT enough.


    1. Here’s how I think Apple will (or should) do it, whether there is a complete TV or the current add-on box.

      People keep speculating that Apple TV will soon run apps and have its own App Store. But I think Apple will (or should) do it in a different way that takes advantage of the popularity of iPhone and iPad (and iPod touch).

      The “Apple TV apps” should be iOS apps that run on iPhone and iPad. Some current apps are designed to run in iPhone mode or iPad mode, depending on the device. Future apps can have another mode. When an Apple TV is detected nearby, the app provides the “AirPlay” mode.

      This does NOT mean that the iOS device is streaming the screen (frame by frame) to Apple TV over the network, and the HDTV displays the stream. That would be inefficient and too dependent on the quality of the local wireless network. Instead, when AirPlay mode is selected, the iOS device sends a small portion of the app’s data to the Apple TV. That portion then runs on the Apple TV and controls the HDTV screen directly; the iOS device becomes a custom “remote control,” specially designed for the app. At that point the only data that goes from iOS device to Apple TV are the control inputs, and periodic exchanges of app data (for example – game levels and saves).

      So, if the app is a game, game data is all stored on the iOS device, but an “as needed” portion is sent to Apple TV, and Apple TV runs the game. The iOS device controls the game in the same way that you can use an iOS device now as Apple TV’s remote control.

      Also, Apple TV only has enough local storage to keep and run its version of iOS. It cannot store a set of its own apps. However, using the method I described, apps (and supporting data) are stored on the iOS device and the Apple TV just has to temporarily hold a small portion of it at any given time, probably in system memory.

      The marketing advantage… There does not need to be a separate “ecosystem” of Apple TV apps and a separate Apple TV App Store. Developers will want to support Apple TV mode in their apps, because the potential audience is all iOS users. The apps are “normal” iOS apps that have an additional Apple TV mode, which is hidden unless the user has an Apple TV. However, the fact that there IS an Apple TV mode will make the iOS device customer want to get an Apple TV as an extension of their iPad or iPhone user experience. In this way, Apple TV is tied directly to iPhone and iPad, instead of being mostly a stand-alone product as it is now.

      1. I am in total agreement with ken1w. Apple is getting ready to show it’s hold card as far as the ATV goes. There is one game out already that does that. I don’t remember the exact name of the game but, I know it is a racing game. The game stays on your iOS device while the data for the display is AirPlayied over to the ATV. This in turn makes the iOS device a touch screen controller. Look at what the next Wii is supposed to be like. A console and a touch screen controller. Nitendo has an idea what Apple might be up too that is why they are moving in this direction. There are also TVs out now that has Internet Apps. like Visio. So everything for Apple now is ripe. Apple has display technology. Then take the ATV’s board out add a A5 and bring it up to 16GB and slip it into the display. Then you will have a connected TV/Game Console killer. With this ATV, they will sell more iOS devices as well.

    2. I thought it was obvious: TV’s and all the sattelite/dvr software is butt-ugly and way too complicated. An AppleTV where you pay a la carte and buy shows via the web is what Apple is offering. Can you imagine a ‘dvr’ so simple your mother could use it? That’s the trick. Never mind auto-syncing with your bloody cell phone/ipad.

      1. Ken’s idea also still skips the real problem: data caps/bandwidth. I believe a new streaming technology is required, the content needs to be HQ, AND consume less bandwidth to replace cable/satellite.

        I do believe iOS devices will be the remotes and game controllers. IOS app scaling is also an issue that would require solving.

        1. My idea is to make the Apple TV popular “despite” the restrictions posed by the TV networks and bandwidth. Make it popular as an extension to the iPad and iPhone user experience (for running apps especially games), not as a standalone product that is only used to “watch TV” (because that’s where those external restrictions come into play).

          If just 10% of current iPhone and iPad users device owned an Apple TV because it made using their iPhone/iPad a lot more “fun,” there would be a 10-fold increase in the Apple TV user base. Once those number get up there, THEN Apple would have the clout to negotiate to lessen some of those TV-related restrictions.

  3. I can’t see Apple replacing the whole living room set-up (receiver, X-box, Wii, Playstation, DVD and/or BluRay player, and other add-on device – ATV, Tivo, etc.). And TV’s are pretty low-profit items – it’s such a competitive market. Not to mention the fact that they tend to last quite a few years, so people aren’t buying new ones every 3-4 years. And finally, what would we do with our old ones if Apple offered one? Lots of people have already invested several thousand dollars in high-end, large models.

    On the other hand, what I’d love to see is a device (TV or set-top box) that simplifies my content and choices among the devices I already have. Imaging a Mission Control that shows you what’s offered on each of those devices, and a universal remote (or App) that can quickly and conveniently control each one. I’ve got a Harmony remote. It’s OK, but still not the ideal solution.

  4. Also, I should point out that having “multiple sources” and only being able to say “almost certainly working on” doesn’t lend any more credibility to this rumor than the fact that multiple websites have been promulgating this rumor for several years. All just a collective circle-jerk of wishful thinking? Or a misinterpretation of the development process of the AppleTV in its current form? Are they talking hardware? Or just software? Time will tell (or so rumor has it).

    Here’s another one – Apple will license its iOS for use in all major appliances and automobiles – anything that would benefit from a brain and connectivity. Waaaaait a minit! Didn’t somebody already try that?

  5. And one final thought: I’m sure Apple’s working on tons of stuff all the time, and that much (most?) of it never sees the light of day, if it doesn’t meet their criteria for a successful or satisfying product.

  6. There will be no Apple branded television sets. Technology analysts have simply run out of ideas for what Apple may cook up next. The set top box, like AppleTV, can provide any service or interface Apple wants to provide to any HDTV without having to replace every set on the planet. No Apple branded TV sets. Ever.

  7. Apple was supposed to be licensing AirPlay to CE hardware manufacturers. There may not be Apple branded sets but there may be AppleTV logo’d sets.
    Once the specs of ATV settle into the established broadcast specs (ie it supports 1080p etc..) then it will be a little more safe to include the technology in an all-in-one TV where it can’t be upgraded. But I still prefer the model of the external ATV box that I can upgrade every so often.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.