Apple iTV: Rumours and Reality
When we talk about a future Apple product, nothing can remain elusive. Rumour mills start churning out fresh pieces of information, tipsters don a sleuth’s clothing and start spying Apple’s Chinese factories, and tech pundits (like us) go about collecting each bit of the jigsaw puzzle to present the entire story.
That’s what we are going to do now. This time the mysterious product is Apple iTV, known to be in a testing phase for several years but still not able to see day’s light. We take a look at how Apple and other sources have hinted about an iTV in the making, and how will the Apple iTV be like?
Apple iTV timeline
Mid 2011: It all started in mid 2011 when just a few days before Mr. Steve Jobs’ death, Walter Isaacson penned down his biography. Steve Jobs then told him about his dream television, one that “would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud” and “will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.” Steve Jobs even asserted that he had “cracked” the television segment.
February 15, 2012: The newly ascended CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, hinted at the company’s earnings call at the release of something bigger and better than the current Apple TV. For those who don’t know, Apple TV is the set top box which Apple claims that it makes your television ‘smart’.
November 2012: The famous industry analyst and repeated Apple tipster Gene Munster created ripples when he predicted that Apple iTV will be launched in November 2013 with a price tag of $1,500 – $2,000 (Rs 1 lakh) and will come in sizes from 42-inches to 55-inches. There are still 10 months to go before we can refute this prediction.
December 2012: The biggest hint yet from Apple came from Tim Cook, when he lamented on the present television technology and expressed his interest in the segment. “When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years. It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”
December 2012: The Wall Street Journal cited sources saying that an Apple iTV was indeed in the testing phase from several years, and could hit the markets in late 2013.
That timeline certainly looks like that of any other Apple’s oncoming product. One can definitely expect a smart TV from Apple, may be an iTV or an unlikely iPanel. But how will it look like? What will set it apart from Smart TVs of Samsung, Sony and LG? How will it justify the rather lavish price tag?
Apple iTV specifications
Display: The display has to be top-class – 1080p with 16:9 aspect ratio and the iconic Retina Display which debuted in iPad 3. Apple really has to put its best efforts in this category, for a television is nothing without its display. We’ve heard Samsung rebuking Apple’s displays, “We’ve not seen what they’ve done but what we can say is that they don’t have 10,000 people in R&D in the vision category (like us)”. It’s time Apple does away with all criticism.
Size and processor: Gene Munster said 32 and 55 inches. Sharp, the manufacturing partner of Apple, announced the production of 32” HI-DPI panels. It’s certain that Apple will restrict the no. of size variants to a maximum 3, as it does not like to dilute the product. As far as processor is concerned, Apple can put a new A7 processor with high graphics performance, something that is also rumoured to come in new iPad and iPhone as well.
Form and Design: The ultra-sleek unibody design of Apple’s iMac is a clear hit. We can see a very similar form factor for the iTV as well. However, there were reports citing that the speakers of the new iMac weren’t that good. Apple’s iTV will have to be brilliant in sound clarity and bass power for that surreal home theatre experience.
Software: The iOS will be the operating system of choice for Apple iTV. The new iteration of Apple’s OS, iOS 7, is in rumours and can find its way into iTV, but it can be a tweaked version of what will go into next iPhone and iPad devices. An iCloud integration of the iTV is evident – Apple would definitely want the TV to become a part of its ecosystem of products that are all linked via iCloud. Even AirPlay: the live video syncing from your Mac/iPad to your TV: will feature with iTV.
Content: This can be a problem area for Apple. We know that its App Store is larger than that of Android, but it’s mostly apps. TV Programmes subscriptions are not too many which might deter a prospective buyer of the iTV. Apple’s top management will need to show their skills here in partnering with content providers across the globe.
As should be clear from above specifications, Apple iTV as Apple would want it to be will not be an easy thing to pull off. Still, we have high hopes from the company that has been known for trendsetting innovations since decades. Apple iTV can be the ‘next’ big thing the company’s been looking for since iPad.
I am a simple and focused guy currently pursuing Electricals & Electronics from BITS Pilani Hyderabad and serving as co-editor at Gadgetronica.com
22 January, 2013