After the Steve Jobs biography spilled the goods, everyone's assuming the fabled Apple TV (an actual TV, not a box) is definitely coming. Now the NYT's reliable Nick Bilton says it's definitely definitely coming. And there are prototype parts around.
Bilton — citing his insiders at Apple and its suppliers — says large prototype parts have already been spotted, but speculates Apple is waiting for panel costs to come down before it can manufacture a super-thin set that matches its MacBook Air and iPad design family. Right now, it'd be way too expensive to make, because it's going to be a lot more than just a nice LCD:
It's the stuff of science fiction. You sit on your couch and rather than fumble with several remotes or use hand gestures, you simply talk: "Put on the last episode of Gossip Girl." "Play the local news headlines." "Play some Coldplay music videos." Siri does the rest.
Essentially, Siri murders the remote control. Siri is the remote control. Apple's already shown disdain for the physical remote with the Apple TV, having slimmed it down to its absolute bare bones. It's a beautiful little peripheral, and completely functional, but it shows what we already know: Apple hates buttons. And nothing promises a button-free life like a TV that's always listening to you. Obviously, this will take a more sophisticated version of Siri than the one we're chatting with now, but for a television that's still a year or two off, that's fine. What once sounded dumb and impossible now seems brilliant and inevitable. [NYT]