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Apple chief resisted idea of Apple smart TV

Walter Isaacson provided perhaps the most definitively sourced evidence that an Apple, Inc. (AAPL) smart TV was in the works.  Interviewing Steven Paul "Steve" Jobs in his best-selling biography Steve Jobs, Mr. Isaacson quoted the late executive as stating:

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.

While a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter Yukari Kane -- Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs -- doesn't go as far as to say Mr. Jobs had no intention to build the rumored Apple TV, his research suggests that Mr. Jobs' sentiments on the topic were more mixed that Mr. Isaacson's quote suggests.

At the 2010 annual Apple meeting of the company's top 100 executives, an executive allegedly asked the ailing tech icon if an Apple-branded TV set was in the works.  Mr. Kane quotes Mr. Jobs as responding immediately "no", and then elaborating:

TV is a terrible business. They don't turn over and the margins suck.

Apple TV Shiny

Of course Mr. Jobs also infamously said:

7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.  [Increasing screen resolution on small devices is] meaningless, unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size.

A year after Mr. Jobs' death in Oct. 2012, Apple launched the iPad Mini.

So whether or not Mr. Kane's new account shows that Steve Jobs was convinced Apple TV wasn't ready for prime time, it doesn't necessarily means that his successor, Apple CEO Timothy Donald "Tim" Cook, won't look to roll it out in years to come.

Source: Business Insider

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RE: Steve is right
By Solandri on 3/18/2014 2:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
So maybe it makes sense for a 32" TV that runs $300, but what about the 60" that runs $1500? If the computer-side of it becomes outdated, a 32" TV can be shifted to another bedroom, an office, or easily put into storage. If the same thing were to happen to a 60" SmartTV, there are far fewer options that people would want to entertain.

How does the computer side become outdated? We're not talking about running the latest 3D game. The computer in the TV just decodes video streams. In fact even if it's not a smart TV, it has a computer in there to decode video streams (QAM for cable, ATSC for over the air). Making a TV "smart" is just the manufacturer adding some additional software, with maybe a slight hardware upgrade.

I completely agree the "smart" in smart TVs isn't a premium feature, and manufacturers are kidding themselves trying to price them as such. But other than some of the pre-programmed video providers going out of business, I don't really see how this part of the TV can become outdated with time. I suppose some of the newer codecs that achieve better compression ratios might need a more powerful CPU. But that typically happens on a 7-10 year timeframe (MPEG2 for DVDs, to MPEG4 in the interim, to H.264 for Blu-ray), which is about how often you'd replace the TV anyway.

RE: Steve is right
By aliasfox on 3/18/2014 3:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
How does the computer side become outdated?

Say Netflix changes a codec, or authentication methodology, or encryption, or just decides to do things differently. On a computer, this isn't a big deal because your browser will simply take you to the webpage and it's all handled on the backend. On large platforms like Android and iOS, not an issue because Netflix will take care of those apps.

What about the Samsung Smart TV that sold 10k units two years ago? You paid $2-300 extra for 'smart' features and now you can't access Netflix.

This has happened with bluray players (not getting firmware updates to play the latest movies), smartphones (not getting ICS, JB, KK, etc), and lots of other things. Cheap blu ray players can be replaced for $200 or less, cell phones get replaced every two years or so regardless, but what about that TV that you dropped 'real' money on and expected to get on Netflix for as long as you paid for the subscription?

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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