Rumors of an Apple television have been swirling around for years, but the company has yet to come up with anything except its boring old set-top box, nor even admit if it’s ever really considered building such a product.
So is there any truth to these rumors?
First to clarify, the Apple television we’re referring to is an actual television, not the Apple TV streaming box the company sells. Fanbois are hopeful that the company would revolutionize television the same way it did for mobile phones and personal computers when it introduced the iPhone and iPad.
In the book Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs, author Yukari Iwatani Kane, stated that before Steve Jobs stepped down from the company, he revealed to Apple’s Top 100 execs and employees that a television was not something the company will be delving into, as it’s not a very lucrative business.
According to the book, Apple hosted a Top 100 meeting, with the only attendees being the “Top 100 executives and employees” of the company. The attendees were brought to a resort where they were given presentations on Apple’s business, as well as new products in the pipeline. This yearly meeting is shrouded in secrecy and attendees are forbidden to speak to anyone about it, even to other Apple employees.
In 2010, Jobs held his last Top 100 meeting and introduced the iPad 2 with its magnetic cover. During the last day of the meeting, Jobs sat in front of the Top 100 and told them they could ask any questions they wanted, no matter how dumb or insulting, and he would give an honest answer.
Someone immediately piped up to ask if Apple’s next product would be the hallowed television everyone was talking about. But alas, Jobs was quick to rule it out, adding that “TV is a terrible business. They don’t turn over and the margins suck.”
But Kane’s revelation will probably do little to put these iTV rumors to rest, as we shouldn’t forget what Jobs said to his biographer Walter Isaacson before he died.
“I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use … It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud … It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it,” Jobs said to Isaacson.
Jobs’ statements contradictory statements are confusing, as it just makes you wonder what Apple really has in store for its consumers. Will it or won’t ever build an iTV?
Jobs is known for saying one thing then doing another, so changing his stance regarding the iTV is not that surprising.
Current CEO Tim Cook recently revealed that the company would be introducing new product categories this year, and though he didn’t give any more details about what these may be, it’s not surprising that the iTV is thought to be one of them.