Rumour: Apple Talking to Media Execs In TV Takeover Plan

By Sam Gibbs on at

The Apple TV rumours have been flying lately. Whether it'll be a service, an actual TV, or just another set-top box, isn't exactly set in stone. Adding to the rumour mill, the Wall Street Journal has laid bare everything it's got on Apple's so-called "TV assault". Apparently Cupertino is "in talks" with its media partners to "change the way consumers watch TV".

Unsurprisingly, the WSJ say Apple's TV solution will rely on "wireless streaming", not exactly a stretch at this juncture. Apple's also apparently looking to take TV across all of its device range -- again, not exactly far-fetched.

What is novel though, is that Apple's apparently going to let you control your TV watching experience with your voice and movements -- sounds very Microsoft Kinect-like to me. Apparently Jobs's plan was to make the TV watching experience more personalised to the individual user; to be able to control the TV with your iDevices, and to throw in AirPlay streaming for good measure. If you think about it, and I'm purely speculating here, the beta Siri Apple shoved into the iPhone 4S could be just a taster for more to come. If you wanted to actually beta test your voice recognition to make sure it's idiot proof before shoehorning it into the living room, what better way to get data than to send it out into the mobile field? Collect millions of queries from all accents, languages and topics, and blend it all up in a melting pot to improve, refine and perfect Siri -- before the less tolerant buyers of home entertainment systems get their mitts on it. Imagine this: "I'm sorry, I can only search for TV content if you are in the US and speaking US English"; not going to fly now is it?

The final nugget of WSJ's reveal is that Apple's apparently working on a PVR system, which could revolve around iCloud for both syncing and storage -- considering how well Apple's recent launch of iTunes Match went in the UK, it'd better get its arse in shape before launching anything that relies on iCloud for TV recording. If I were to miss the final of I'm Not a Real Celebrity, Please Let Me Stay because Apple's having a hiccup, I'd be pissed. Does anyone still record anything these days anyway, what with on-demand catchup content freely available, at least in the UK?

If Apple really is talking to media executives about its TV plans, and the WSJ has a pretty good track record with these things, then it's likely it really is working on something new in the space. Apple's notoriously guarded about these things until the very last-minute. It's still firmly in the rumour-land right now, but it's inching its way out of vaporware and into the realm of vague possibility. Would I want to shout at my TV to tell it to change the channel? Probably not. Do I want to be able to voice search for stuff rather than tap it out on my TV remote -- definitely. Whatever happens, I'm sure Apple'll come in with something that's been done before; convince you it's revolutionary, and make a butt-load of money blasting everyone else out of the space. I can't wait. [WSJ]