Steve Jobs’ told biographer: ‘I finally cracked’ the secret to an easy-to-use integrated HDTV

Steve Jobs told his official biographer, Walter Isaacson, that he had been thinking about a full-fledged Apple television.

Hayley Tsukayama reports for The Washington Post:

“He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant,” Isaacson wrote.

Isaacson continued: “‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple makes an Apple television, it won’t be about hardware specs (they’ll be solid enough), but about the user interface, ease-of-use, and a new way to Think Different™ about “watching TV.” It’s not at all difficult to imagine Siri on board (hopefully after having already spread to iPad, iPod touch, and, of course, Mac.)

After it’s unveiled, the naysayers will pooh-pooh it, the Gizgadgets of the world and Apple’s soon-to-be-steamrolled TV set “competitors” will produce spec sheet shootouts pitting it against the Samdung XJ45b-Q11 and/or the Sony QMK-32L-1029, and then millions upon millions of Apple units will be sold in the first weekend after huge crowds line up on launch day.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Brawndo Drinker,” “Lava_Head_UK,” “Lynn Weiler,” and “Will Rhea”for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple reportedly gearing up to produce Apple HDTV set for Christmas 2012 – October 20, 2011
Apple is working on a television for 2012, say sources – August 28, 2011


    1. I have the last Sony TV that lived up to Sony’s reputation… HA! A Trinitron… Rarely watch TV as it is… I know this Trinitron wont burn out like current sets that are rated to last so many hours per set.

      Apple would in fact be a game changer ‘when’ they reveal what Steve Jobs cracked…

    1. It wouldn’t need to. As long as this Apple TV could accept a Bluetooth controller (like the ps3 and Xbox use) you could easily play any of the games made for those consoles.

      Looking forward to playing CoD on this Apple device!

      1. They’d need to line up every publisher to blow off having any ports on the thing.

        There is also the isse of delivery and storage.

        Games on the 360 are starting to routinely ship on 2 dual layer DVDs. First you gotta stream all that down and then store it.

        If they are dumb enough to ship a tv with no expansion then it wont be a tv at all. It will be a glorified ipad that sticks to your wall. Lol

      2. Not necessarily – unless they could build in some sort of Playstation/XBox emulator into the Apple TV, too. Plus, as the other guy said, there’s the issue of storage space – unless it comes with an optical drive that can read Playstation and XBox discs.

    1. Siri, find and record all broadcasts of the “NCIS” to my iCloud storage.

      “Recording set.”

      Siri, play episodes from Tuesday, October 1st.

      “Now playing NCIS from October 1st.”

  1. All of use that are fans have preordered the book and made it a best seller. All this shameless promotion and spoilers are quite annoying. Apple how about giving us a guift and push it it out to iPad early. We won’t tell 😉 😉

  2. A complete Apple TV is inevitable. Apple would not have released the original Apple TV box as a “hobby,” and continued with the $99 2.0 version, if the ultimate goal was not to release a complete TV product. THAT is when Apple TV is no longer a “hobby.”

  3. So, what device was missed? “It’s not at all difficult to imagine Siri on board (hopefully after having already spread to iPad, iPod touch, and, of course, Mac.)” The AppleTV is missing from that list.

    AppleTV runs iOS and has an A4 (and will have the A5 or A6) chip in it. So, what would make anyone think it could not work with Siri. We could just ask Siri to find media you want to enjoy on your HDTV and home entertainment center from the most comfortable seat in our home?

    Is the next AppleTV about to be released without the hobby comment this time?

      1. I think Apple is heading toward having “iOS” be the base OS for ALL of its computing devices, including Macs. Lion, the last major release of Mac OS X, will be around for the next two years or so. During that time, iOS will gain enough sophistication to be the OS for the Macs, when Lion is “retired.” But I’m NOT talking about touch-based Macs…

        Each type of device will have a different user interface that is optimized for that device. The interface for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will be based on multi-touch (user touching screen). The interface for Apple TV will be streamlined, for use with a simple remote control (user sitting across the room). The interface for Mac will be cursor-based, for use with a keyboard and mouse/trackpad (or equivalent pointing device). And they will all use a subset of iOS as the “base” operating system.

        Plus, they will all share what Siri will evolve to become during the next two years, an artificial intelligence “assistant” that can take input by voice, or by any other interface method.

        1. “And they all will use a subset of iOS as the “base” operating system”.

          Ahem, that is what they’re doing already. Mac OS X, Apple TV, and iOS run on exactly the same underpinnings.

          No need to replace Mac OS X with iOS…

          1. iOS may have descended from Mac OS X, but they are not “exactly the same.” Not even close, especially from a developer’s perspective (such as with their respective API sets). Mac OS X is descended from NeXTSTEP; was it still “exactly the same” by the time Apple finished Mac OS X (10.0.0)?

            At this point, iOS is more modern. Mac OS X is more than ten years old and needs a top-to-bottom “rebuild.” Things like the fixed-size Menu Bar (or even the need to have a Menu Bar) must be addressed. Mac OS X is not as efficient as iOS and the future of Apple is all about power usage versus processing power efficiency.

            Since Lion is obviously named to signify it is the “king” of Mac OS X and the last major release to be called “Mac OS ten,” it is a great time right now to work on a MAJOR overhaul. It would also be a great time to start using Apple’s “A-chip” (quad-core A7?) in some Mac models. A unified iOS becoming the “base OS” for all Apple computing devices, with a different optimized GUI for each type of device, can make it happen.

  4. If Apple’s solution is to buy all of your television programming directly from Apple, not interested unless they can provide local channels and unless it costs less than what I currently pay. Buying a new television is also a deal breaker. I’ve bought three in the last five years. Why would I want to buy another one for another ten years? Also, who wants to replace their TV every few years?

    1. You may as ask why Samsung and Sony keep manufacturing new models of TVs. After all, you already have one. Millions of televisions are sold every year. It’s a constant churning of customers. Your other points are good though. Apple has had problems working out all the content deals it needs. To do what they want to do, an Apple TV would need to allow you to cut your cable vendor, eliminate any antennas, and still not force you to miss out on a show that you love. Forget about hardware and software; we know Apple can do that. It’s the content deals that make me wonder. I suppose that Apple could set itself up as a defacto “Cable” company and cut the same content deals that a Comcast/Time Warner/Cox Communications have, and then rewrite the rule s on how that content is delivered customers.

      1. As I keep saying, all they have to do for content is buy Disney. That gives them ABC, ESPN, Touchstone, Disney, etc.

        After that it’s some kind of wireless delivery system. WiMax? Satellite?

    2. I think you are right. Apple’s whole model is to buy content only from Apple. Can you access Hulu from AppleTV? Can you access ANYTHING from AppleTV except for what comes from the iTunes store?

      The same will hold true for the Apple TV/Display if/when it comes out. It too will be an All Apple device…. not a bad thing..but the idea that you can say “Siri-Find and record all NCIS episodes” and actually have it do it, are pretty slim.. at least if your expecting it to happen for FREE.

      As it is, I’m using Elgato and a TV antenna, so I’ve been Cable Free for several years now. I can record and play back OTA programs on my TV just fine w/o the need for a new TV to do the same.

      And of course, the other huge problem is the quality of streaming media….. it’s still kind of crappy. Most of the US does not have access to the kind of bandwidth that is need for truly stunning streaming HD media, so for now, I’m sticking with Netflix(or Blockbuster….) for watching movies at home. So unless Apple’s TV comes with a new ISP service…. which blows away both cable and DSL…. it will be cool, it will be fun, and they will sell millions of them… but I won’t be first in line for one.. not by a long shot.

    3. What the hell are you doing to your TV’s to require three in five years? I’ve only had three in twenty five years. A 21″ FST Panasonic, a 32″ CRT Philips Black Line, and my current four year old 40″ LCD Sony Bravia. Both the Pana and the Philips lasted into the last five years, I just passed them onto my folks until each died.

    4. I love the concept, but I hope they would make it longer lasting. And given that the family TV is a major investment, I hope they would make the AppleCare plan last longer for a full TV than they would for the computer that you replace every few years. (And my wife even thinks it’s silly to want to replace the computer just because your AppleCare plan expires.)

  5. TVs are a big business for Samsung, which they make by copying what others have done. They are probably already plotting with Google to make an Android TV. Only problem is they have to wait to buy the Apple version to copy it, and the key features will be Apple’s patented IP. Not that it will stop them.

  6. Absolutely love this , Steve is marketing from the grave …..
    There will be an gigantic amount of speculation and hype until this product is announced

  7. Jobs: “I’d like to provide an easy-to-use HD solution like Blu-ray but I can’t give them that because I need to be able to make a lot of money off of it.”

    1. Yes, because nothing says “Easy to use” like piles of fragile disks that cost 40-100 bucks each, require storage space and manual changing. Not to mention easy to use second remote and $50-100 HDMI cables. Ask your self why blue ray disks are so expensive, the answer is because Sony want to make lots of money off them..

      1. “… and $50-100 HDMI cables.” Boy, did they see YOU coming! Anyone who pays more than ten bucks for HDMI cables is a halfwit. They’re not carrying an analogue signal, they’re just carrying data, no need for high cost. I’ve got my Cambridge DVD99 hooked up with one that cost less than a dollar fifty. Works fine. I had to pay a bit more, around seven for the one from my Mac Mini to my Bravia, ‘cos the really cheap ones were sold out.

  8. You guys are missing the point. If AppleTV isn’t selling, then AppleHDTV isn’t going to sell either.


    Television is do devoid of decent content that the most beautiful interface and controls won’t save it. Studios refuse to make their decent legacy content available a la carte, so there’s no business case for a smart, user-friendly TV. Cable companies and studios won’t let Apple undermine the shitpipes that consumers have become conditioned to accept. No new distribution channel can get around that.

    As for the next generation: except for live sports (again, practically unavailable without an expensive subscription) kids don’t watch TV, they’re on iPads, Macs .. and yes, PCs, Xboxes, and Playstations. Nor can many working families justify the price of a new TV … which makes an upscale model a niche player at best, except even harder to sell than the $99 product Apple already offers.

    Apple, don’t waste your time. If you can’t guarantee reliable a la carte content, they you’ll just end up being another Tivo / Hulu / Netflix competitior but with more expensive hardware requirements.

    1. Can you say “iTunes Movie Match” if it works for music, why not your existing movie collection. Suddenly all your kids Disney movies are available on all your devices.

      And I think Apple WILL work out the cable bundling limitations. People are tired of it. It is the live Sports that will be the issue, not all the channels on cable.

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