Report: Apple looking to launch Siri-powered TV by 2013

The Apple (s aapl) television is the latest, hottest subject of the rumor mill that surrounds the company. On Thursday, the New York Times‘ Nick Bilton (s nyt) published a lengthy report related to the still-unconfirmed product, revealing many details sourced from Apple employees and others close to the company who spoke to him on the condition of anonymity.

Bilton says Siri is the key to Jobs’ feeling that he finally “cracked it,” as Walter Isaacson’s biography quotes him saying. What he cracked was a streamlining of the interface so that control is intuitive and simple. Thanks to Siri, Bilton says, you could now just talk to your TV set, and it would respond to your commands.

Other new details include plans dating back as early as 2007, after Apple had released the original Apple TV, to make a complete set. The product has since been definitely in the works at Apple, its development spurred on by the fact that “Steve thinks to the industry is totally broken,” according to one of Bilton’s source. In the Isaacson biography, it’s revealed that many other successful Apple products, including the iPod and the iPhone, were created based on the same sense on the part of Jobs that what was already out there was sub-par.

As to when this might arrive, Bilton says it is “close enough” now that it might be announced as early as late 2012, with a 2013 release date in terms of actually getting the product in the hands of consumers. The hold-up is mainly about waiting until the cost of large display components falls far enough to make it possible for Apple to offer the TV at a competitive price point. Making the product thin and light is also another development hurdle facing its release, according to the report.

Many pundits have proclaimed an Apple television a bad idea, but it’s a chorus we’ve heard many times before; the iPod, iPhone and iPad all had very vocal detractors, with plenty of negative reaction even after the product was actually unveiled.

Also, as John Gruber points out, commenting on the release of the Bloomberg TV 24-hour live video app, “Apps are the new channels.” If Apple can get more content providers to produce similar content-delivery solutions for its iOS devices, it’ll have much bait with which to lure potential Apple television customers whenever that product does make it to market.