Wednesday, March 28, 2012

iTV - Steve's Parting Gift?

Steve Jobs left us far too soon, but not without a making sure there was something new and different in development that bore his fingerprints. According to a Huffington Post article published earlier today, Taiwan's Hon Hai (assembler of Apple's touchscreen hardware) took a 10 % stake in Sharp Corp., manufacturer of Sharp flat screen TVs. With this information, Techies know they just inched a bit closer to Apple's long-rumored "smart" TV. The device was teased in Walter Isaacson's biography of the late Steve Jobs.
"'I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,' [Jobs] told me. 'It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.' No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. 'It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.'"
The veil of secrecy surrounding new concepts out of Cupertino, CA is roughly five feet thick. It isn't clear if Apple's physical TV will pair with, or replace the current Apple TV box you can use to connect and stream content to your current flat screen.

Most pundits seem to agree that Apple's TV will utilize the interface of the ubiquitous iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Based on the information from today's article, that sounds like a sure thing. Since the touchscreen component is an unlikely sell to couch potatoes, what we'll likely receive is:
  • A motion sensor will allow viewers to swipe and point into the air, similar to the gaming interface of an Xbox Kinect
  • A remote app to control the TV from your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad
  • A voice recognition and response feature (Siri may soon be getting to know us even better)
Of course, the most interesting tidbit from Jobs's quote is "cable channels" - I have a notion this device will give cable TV services their first big shake-up. Should the networks and channels open up to make their broadcast content available to Apple's TV, the game will forever be changed. If it catches on like the iTunes store, you may find some steep discount offers from the local cable provider lining your mailbox and inbox.

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