Mossberg: Steve Jobs continued working on Apple television set after his resignation

“Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple five years ago, but he didn’t plan on leaving the company,” Peter Kafka reports for Recode. “Instead, Jobs was going to focus his energy on one very specific, secret project: Apple’s reinvention of TV — including the TV set itself.”

“Walt Mossberg, Recode’s editor at large and an executive editor at The Verge, says Jobs called him on the night he announced he was formally handing over control of his company to Tim Cook, and told him about his TV ambitions,” Kafka reports. “‘I think we figured out a way to do it, and it’s going to be fantastic,’ Jobs told Mossberg, and invited him to see what he was working on. But Jobs died less than two months later. And to this date Apple has only taken tentative steps into the TV industry.”

Steve Jobs“Now, Jobs’s interest in TV is only a historical footnote. But his intent, as conveyed to Mossberg, helps clear up conflicting reports about Apple’s TV ambitions,” Kafka reports. “Jobs didn’t go into details about the hardware and the programming Jobs wanted it to carry. But Mossberg believes he was talking about an integrated set, not a version of the set-top box Apple sells today.”

If you would have asked me five minutes after we hung up, I would have said he was going to reinvent the whole TV set. It would be Apple-esque, meaning it was high quality, and very easy to use. But he was thinking about more than hardware — that was clear, too. — Walt Mossberg

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Surely Jony Ive, at the very least, knew what it was as well as knowing why it doesn’t exist today or, more precisely, which parts of it exist in current Apple TVs and which parts may well be unveiled in future Apple TVs.

Apple’s rumored “new” TV guide plan may well be based upon Steve Jobs’ original plan all along since content discovery, as it was in 2011, remains one of the most vexing problems with “TV” today.

Apple’s new TV plan is a TV guide – August 4, 2016
Steve Jobs’ told biographer: ‘I finally cracked’ the secret to an easy-to-use integrated HDTV – October 21, 2011
Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple; Tim Cook named CEO, Jobs elected Chairman of the Board – August 24, 2011


  1. Hmm. Considering that the ‘TV’ of today typically has no built-in antenna system, it’s been demoted down to the level of being a monitor. As such, it simply displays what it’s fed through its various inputs. Therefore, from my limited insight on the subject, the TV device could well integrate everything Jobs intended. Whether it does at this time, would be fascinating to know. It would be great to uncover Job’s notes on the subject. Did he keep journals of his ideas? Or was everything in his head?

  2. I think Steve Jobs wanted the Apple TV as one to eliminate as much wires and buttons as possible. That would be his goal to simplify the setup and bring joy to people.

  3. There was a brief window where Apple might have been able to make a significant move in that space, and it was never going to be with display tech – that had already become a race with too many runners, too little margins, and too little differentiation.

    If they had come out with a full-featured set-top box capable of an easy-interface, elegant but simple hardware, app market, media-serving, hi-end console game playing, home control, etc., they might have made a bigger dent, and created a foothold to disrupt the Playstation and X-Box space (and yeah, Wii, etc.). Either because of Steve’s passing, or just a lack of vision, they only managed the AppleTV, and while it ticks a couple of those boxes today, it still withered on the vine, a fraction of what it needed to be, and not well differentiated from its competition (Roku, Chromecast, etc.) and smart TV’s themselves. A missed opportunity from the company that had all the tools – iPad, iPhone, OS X, iOS, media deals and a huge ecosystem, not to mention the most avid, loyal pre-installed fan and developer communities.

    I think it was largely a combination of distraction by the success of their other other iOS devices (and some lack of vision) that let that chance slip away, and it’s also partly responsible for how the pro software and mac hardware have languished.

    It will be interesting to see if they can move fast enough to make a serious inroad into the car space before that window closes as well, or if in 5 years we’ll be wondering what that would have been like as well. The future of the automobile (10 years from now) may not look anything like it is today.

  4. I’ve said it for years, 55″ iMac

    Too bad he wasn’t able to complete the project. That and create a media division, but that would lead to Monopoly charges again… 🙁

  5. Timid Tim. This is why Apple trades at 1/2 MSFT. Fraction of GOOG, FBand AMZN. No more moon shots in the current management. Very Sad. Never a WI Fi Satelite being destroyed on the launch pad under Tim Cook.

  6. I don’t see the big deal with this project, but maybe it’s just because I don’t watch much TV. I do however watch a lot of YouTube and other media online. My iPhone, iPad and Macbook are my “TVs”. Until Apple sorts out content deals it doesn’t matter how great their hardware is.

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