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Apple may be deeper into the television project than we thought, as the company is reportedly visiting media companies to share its technology plans.
Since Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs was released, people have been buzzing about what the late Apple chief executive suggested was Apple’s next adventure: televisions. Many have speculated what an Apple television could be like. Former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée sees it as another box, supporting applications, a function that has recreated how people use mobile phones. Others envision classic Apple designs, product marketing, and being told what they want without ever knowing they wanted it.
Today, however, the Wall Street Journal reported that the television’s features may already be in the works. According to the Journal’s sources, Apple is visiting media companies in a sort of technology pitch roadshow. These companies want to know about Apple’s plans, which are generally kept extremely confidential, in order to know whether the TV venture is worth joining.
So what are the features that may be in the television, according to these sources?
Voice controlled channel surfing may be the answer to every remote-loser’s prayers. The feature sounds similar to what the Xbox Kinect can currently do — read your motions to determine actions. This, plus voice response technology may be integrated into Apple’s TV of the future, though the company has reportedly said this function would take a lot of developing and time.
Streaming sync would serve the tv-watcher on the go. Ever been walking out the door when suddenly Luke finds Laura has come out of her delusional state and wants to come home to raise Lu Lu (any General Hospital lovers in the audience)? With Apple’s television, you wouldn’t have have to miss a single soap opera second, as your streaming show would sync between devices. Turn off the TV, the show would be waiting for you on your iPad where you left off, according to sources.
Compatibility with your existing Apple products. Having the new Apple-made television may not make the current Apple TV device superfluous. Instead, it may actually use the set top box, which competes in the realm of Roku boxes, for streaming Netflix, YouTube and connecting you to your other content in the cloud.
Apple mobile device control further pushes Apple’s reported television from the remote control. According to the Journal’s sources, Steve Jobs wanted a television that could be linked to his existing mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad, perhaps even the iPod touch. According to the Journal, this could potentially be executed by connecting the TV and those devices using AirPlay, Apple’s wireless technology, which already connects many of its products.
Streaming media from mobile devices directly to the television, would remove the set top box from the quation. This feature would allow anyone watching a YouTube video, listening to a song, or watching a movie to transfer that viewing experience from one screen to the next without having to route it through a box, such as the Apple TV.
DVR storage within iCloud tops off the potential features list. Using this feature, you would not have to download rented or purchased movies more than once to view them on different devices.
Some have wondered if Apple will include Siri in its television plans, perhaps as a way to understand your voice, aiding the first reported feature. In order to make these plans come to fruition, however, Apple will need to convince media companies to jump on board, and if we’ve learned anything from iTunes, that will take a lot of effort.
Hat tip the Wall Street Journal