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Apple Hints to Media Executives About Its Television Plans

Apple Hints to Media Executives About Its Television Plans

The Wall Street Journal offers up some hints about what Apple’s television plans might be. In recent weeks, Apple executives have disclosed their vision of the future of TV to media honchos at several companies.

Apple HDTVApple is working on its own television that uses wireless streaming technology to access content, such as movies and TV shows, according to sources briefed on the project.

The WSJ reports:

In the recent meetings with media companies, the Apple executives, including Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, have outlined new ways Apple’s technology could recognize users across phones, tablets and TVs, people familiar with the talks said.

In at least one meeting, Apple described future television technology that would respond to users’ voices and movements, one of the people said. Such technology, which Apple indicated may take longer than some of its other ideas, might allow users to use their voices to search for a show or change channels.

Apple has been “vague” about its plans, saying little about what specific devices and software it’s working on. The feeling though, is that Apple is advancing on the project. The company usually keeps its ideas and products as secret as possible until being officially announced.

The WSJ continues: “Apple’s uptick in talks with its media partners is part of the company’s strategy to change the way consumers watch TV, just as the company transformed the music and cellphone industries. Mr. Jobs envisioned building a TV that would be controlled by Apple’s mobile devices in order to be easier to use and more personalized, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company has worked on prototypes for years. Before his death in October, Mr. Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had ‘finally cracked it,’ according to Mr. Isaacson’s book.”

Sources briefed on the matter say that the TV device Apple is developing would use a version of AirPlay, Apple’s wireless streaming technology, to allow users to control it from their iPhones and iPads.  It’s unclear when the company would start selling the device, and whether or not it would receive over the air or cable TV signals.

Apple’s own executives have wondered what the company’s plans were for such a device. Last year, at its “top 100 senior managers meeting, a member asked Steve Jobs if Apple was indeed developing a television. He responded that it wouldn’t be a good business to get into, noting margins are slim, and consumers don’t buy televisions very frequently.