On Sunday the Wall Street Journal published a report on Apple’s television plans. I had to read the story at least three times to really figure out what exactly Apple is doing when it comes to television. Here are my takeaways from the report:
- Apple is working on its own TV, and it will use wireless streaming to get content. It will use Airplay, a wireless streaming technology developed by Apple.
- Apple has worked on integrating DVR and iCloud.
- Apple’s senior VP Eddy Cue is meeting with media companies.
- Cue is talking about various technologies that would allow users to pick up streams of video on different devices. Actually that is par for the course: Hulu, Netflix and Amazon already do this.
- Apple will use voice commands and hand gestures to control Apple TV and look for content. Well, it did launch Siri on iPhone 4S, and it makes the most sense that Apple would move Siri into other devices including television, which is not quite conducive to QWERTY-style keyboards. The New York Times had provided hints of this Siri-based television interface in a report published in Oct. 2011.
- Apple is not saying what devices or what specific software it is building on, and it is not clear what it wants from the media companies. Hello! Should we be surprised that Apple is being Apple?
My interpretation of the WSJ story is that Apple is continuing to work on its hobby project, making progress, and it is integrating all sorts of technologies. Apple clearly has to do something or Google will run away with the Internet TV business. As Janko Roettgers pointed out earlier, Google TV has little or no competition when it comes to next-generation TV-oriented operating systems. Someday in the future there will be a new device from Apple that manages to overcome the shortcomings of the current television ecosystem.
The streaming set-top-box market will reach about 12 million in 2011, and Apple will have about a third of that market with 4 million devices, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics.
My own personal bet is that Apple will come up with a newer, even smaller version of its Apple TV with higher-end graphics, more processing oomph and the ability to seamlessly detect all Airplay-enabled devices on a Wi-Fi network.