The New York Times reports today that Apple will finally release the long-awaited Apple-branded television in 2013.
Apple TV–or iTV, as we think it’ll be called–will feature the Siri-based voice functionality that has been a big hit on the new iPhone 4S.
In his new autobiography, the late Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had finally figured out an elegant way to reinvent TV. The Times purports that Jobs wasn’t necessarily talking about rebuilding the TV, but getting rid of the remote control by using Siri:
Apple engineers and designers, spurred by Mr. Jobs, have been struggling for years to find a new interface for the television. One of the biggest hurdles, according to people with knowledge of the project, has been replacing the television set’s annoying best friend: the awkward and confusing remote control. Apple would give people a way to choose the content on their television that is as easy as choosing the content on their iPod, iPhone or iPad.
Alternative remote ideas floated by Apple included a wireless keyboard and mouse, or using an iPod, iPhone or iPad as a remote. None of these concepts worked. But there was one “I finally cracked it” moment, when Apple realized you could just talk to your television.
On iPhone 4s, Siri can read text messages, send text messages by voice and perform many tasks like letting the user know what the weather is like or even scheduled and move meetings. On a TV connected to the Internet, Siri could — potentially — search for websites, YouTube videos, launch content from iCloud. It could play back your TV content via DVR, schedule recordings. Add in other Apple services like FaceTime video calling and even iMessage, and the iTV box or iTV hardware could be a major seller. And couldn’t this be baked into the current Apple TV, too, for users who weren’t willing to shell out thousands for a new set?