Apple HDTV project led by iTunes creator Jeff Robbin, say sources

“Apple Inc. is turning to the software engineer who built iTunes to help lead its development of a television set, according to three people with knowledge of the project,” Adam Satariano reports for Bloomberg. “Jeff Robbin, who helped create the iPod in addition to the iTunes media store, is now guiding Apple’s internal development of the new TV effort, said the people, who declined to be identified because his role isn’t public.”

“Robbin’s involvement is a sign of Apple’s commitment to extending its leadership in smartphones and tablets into the living room,” Satariano reports. “Before his Oct. 5 death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had “finally cracked” how to build an integrated TV with a simple user interface that would wirelessly synchronize content with Apple’s other devices. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine,’ Jobs told Isaacson in the biography ‘Steve Jobs,’ released yesterday by CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster.”

Satariano reports, “One of Apple’s goals for a new TV is to let users more seamlessly search for a show or movie, said one of the people. For example, instead of having to separately check to see if a movie or show is available through Netflix or a cable service, all the material could be integrated, this person said… Robbin, the software engineer helping lead the TV effort, was hired in 2000 to develop iTunes after Apple bought the SoundJam digital music player he developed. ITunes, introduced in January 2001, became Apple’s digital hub for synchronizing music, video and applications across Apple’s devices, including the iPod, iPhone and iPad. According to the biography, Jobs considered Robbin such a valuable employee that he wouldn’t let a Time magazine reporter meet him without agreeing not to print his last name, for fear that he would be poached by a competitor… Robbin also was closely involved with the development of the iPod.

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Oh dear – this does not bode well.

    iTunes is a bloated pile. Often slow and unresponsive even on a quad-core i7, especially when trying to manage apps and home screens on iOS devices. They really should throw it away and start again.

    So now we hear that they’re letting the guy responsible for that turd run their HDTV project?

    Let’s hope this rumour isn’t true.

    1. Oh dear- I’m thinking there’s something amiss with your system. iTunes here is managed by an ancient C2Duo, Rev B MacBook Air (2GB RAM, 128GB iPod HDD) and it’s quite snappy!

      I’ll admit that I only serve 2 Apple TV’s (original and current) a library of 200 movies and 8,000 songs, but I’ve never had an issue.

    2. ON THE MAC — iTunes v 10.5 (141) 64 bit seems to be far
      more responsive. Perhaps it is handling far to many roles.

      Since iTunes has grown out of the title it carries and is no longer merely a music player and ripper — here my suggestion – which would dismantle and replace iTunes:

      toggle in-between iOS apps and MAC apps and track those purchased — for simplicity and logical reasons – but also to slim the load that iTunes had.

      toggle in-between MUSIC, MOVIES, TV SHOWS, BOOKS and MAGAZINES and keep track of those purchases – again it makes more sense and iTunes is no longer needed.

      totally replaces the VIDEO and AUDIO playback of all purchased songs and movies in a fashion perhaps like iTunes does — so iTunes no longer handles this – logical because this is the player.

      would this be possible?

      1. And if they were all separate programs now, people would be asking, “Why don’t they just integrate these?”

        I think Apple is damned if they do and damned if they don’t. I will say, though, that as the Mac (and PC) become merely “devices” with iOS 5, we’ll all be using iTunes a lot less than before and maybe it is a good time to re-imagine it.

    3. Xan,

      I agree with you. iTunes has been terribly bloated and slow since at least version 7. Unfortunately, one of my favorite apps, iPhoto, is also joining it in slowness.

      I do admit to having a large collection of music and photos, but these apps seem to be getting worst (not better) with every upgrade.

  2. Agree with those who don’t really have a problem with iTunes. An argument can be made that it does too much, but offhand, I can’t think of a single thing it does poorly. And it’s certainly not sluggish on my 2008 MacBook running Lion.


Reader Feedback

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