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WSJ: Apple discussing voice-powered TV, enhanced AirPlay, iCloud DVR service

iTV Mockup

The Wall Street Journal published a lengthy report that details everything known about Apple’s upcoming television set rumored to be called iTV. The report sources information from meetings with media companies and Apple during recent weeks. The WSJ said newly appointed Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Services Eddy Cue is a large proponent of the set, and his expertise with music labels and studios is critical for the creation of the dream that Apple cofounder Steve Jobs “cracked.”

Here is what Apple is said to be working on for the TV set:

  • The Apple television set is said to be very reliant on the cloud, something we’ve heard before, in order to download (and likely stream) television shows, movies, and other content. There does not seem to be a large differentiating factor here from the $99 Apple TV set-top-box, but this content component is just the surface of the TV set.
  • Apple is looking at new forms of interaction with not only TV sets but with mobile devices like iPhones and iPads. These new ways of interacting with technology include voice and movements. The voice aspect (Siri) is something we’ve heard in reports before and movement is something that Apple has been prototyping for a while now. The Siri component would be used to change channels and search for content.
  • Apple is also said to be working on an enhanced version of AirPlay that allows a user to start watching video content on a television, for example, and pickup the video on their mobile device. This would be the opposite of the current AirPlay solution where someone starts watching content on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and continues via streaming to their Apple TV box. The WSJ says this may simply be an Apple TV box feature, not exclusive to the set.
  • The report also says late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs has been an advocate for controlling the Apple TV box with iOS devices (via the App Store Remote application), so we’ll likely see the Apple TV set being controlled with iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches versus a standalone remote control.
  • Obviously, this Apple TV set would eliminate the need for the Apple TV set-top-box, and would allow users to stream content directly from the iOS device to the Apple TV set. Companies like Time Warner Cable have not been a fan of Apple’s current go through the set-top-box for streaming solution, according to the report.
  • Finally, the report says Apple is working on an iCloud-based DVR service, purportedly for this Apple television set.

The WSJ is a historically well-sourced publication, so it is likely that the above report is in discussion between Apple and TV studios. Of course, plans do change, and users may never see the above goals come to fruition. The creator of iTunes, Jeff Robbin, was reportedly left in charge of the TV project. Another report claimed Apple is set to launch the voice-powered TV by 2013.

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