I’ve been using it as a 4K, 3840×2160 display for my MacBook Pro 2013 base model (no discrete graphics) off and on for a week.
How is it as a HDTV? Can you use it as a 4K display? Should you? Here’s my take:
An iPhone may fall under the generic heading of a mobile phone, but a combination of the convenience of apps and the ability to use the iPhone as a remote for everything from playing a movie to changing the color of our lighting means that many of us use them at home almost as much as we do when out & about.
In a patent published today, Apple explores the potential of the iPhone to act as an intelligent remote with the kind of functionality typically associated with high-end home automation setups. The idea is based around the concept of ‘scenes’. Having a romantic night in with your partner? You probably want the lights dimmed, the music on softly, the TV off. Movie night? The big-screen on, Apple TV selected as the source, surround-sound speakers selected, volume up higher – and so on …
After years of rumors, we’d like to think the Apple TV set is a reality…and so would Time Warner Cable’s CEO. Speaking at Business Insider’s IGNITE conference this afternoon, CEO Jeff Bewkes said he believes Apple has what it takes to change the television market. When asked about the company delivering the Apple TV set, Bewkes said, “I hope they do. I think Apple is a great device company. They bring good interface and navigation skills.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard Time Warner talk about the Apple TV. In September, COO Rob Marcus said the company would be willing to give up control of the user interface, but he wants to keep the “customer relationship.” We’ve noted before the difficulty Apple will face to get cable companies to relinquish control of the user interface and user experience.
Recently, analysts have pegged the Apple TV set launch for the 2013 holiday season, but that’s not without timeframe misses in the past. Analyst Gene Munster said the HDTV size will be between 42- and 55 inches and priced between $1,500 and $2,000. At any rate, it looks like we’ll have to wait a while longer to get official word—if ever. In the mean time, check out a solid Apple TV concept.
A member of The Verge forums, going by the name of “Knowledge”, posted the Apple TV concept below that envisions a future Apple TV OS where users could tap into multiple content sources from cable/satellite providers, local devices, and elsewhere. It would also integrate Siri (and Facetime) for scheduling recordings, changing channels, etc., and a unified search of all content.
Unified search looks for content in library, app store, iTunes, and TV Guide. Also brings the ability to use Siri for scheduling recordings, setting reminders, changing channels, playing music, playing video from library, opening an app, finds content available for purchase in iTunes, etc etc.
The full gallery is below:
In recent months, several reports from Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and most recently Jefferies seem to indicate Apple is in talks with cable companies for a new Apple TV-related service. It depends on whom you ask as to whether that service would center on a next-generation Apple TV set-top box or mark Apple’s introduction of the much-rumored Apple HDTV. There are still a couple analysts betting on an Apple TV set in the near future. Peter Misek of Jefferies is one. Misek estimated sales of 4.9 million units in CY13, and Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster is once again adding to the rumors today…
Munster, who has many times in the past predicted a full-fledged Apple HDTV, reported in a note to clients today that Apple will launch a TV set in time for the 2013 holiday season (via Business Insider). Not to be confused with a possible refreshed TV set-top box, Munster believes Apple will release an HDTV somewhere between 42-inches and 55-inches and priced between $1,500 and $2,000.
Perhaps more interesting than the Apple TV rumor is Munster’s claims that Apple is set to launch a new radio service in March of 2013—possibly alongside a Retina iPad mini. As for the rest of Munster’s 2013 roadmap for Apple: in June 2013, he is predicting previews of iOS 7, OS X, and new Retina MacBook Airs.
Munster’s other not-so surprising predictions from the note:
Report: Time Warner Cable COO would relinquish cloud-based TV UI control to Apple, prefers ‘customer relationship’ control
We reported earlier this month on Apple’s TV plans, specifically relating to its alleged difficulty in getting cable companies to relinquish control of user interface and user experience, but now a new report quoted Time Warner Cable’s COO as willing to concede as long as it maintains the “customer relationship.”
Time Warner Cable is “hard at work at a cloud-based [TV] guide experience” and is open to giving up control of the user interface as it looks to make its service accessible via new devices, including Apple’s iPhones and iPads, president and COO Rob Marcus told an investor conference in New York on Wednesday.
But he emphasized that this does not mean that the cable giant is willing “to give up the customer relationship” as the company is committed to ensuring that people know its TV services are provided by TW Cable and not any device maker or other third party.
Recent reports from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal often mention the possibility of an Apple-branded HDTV. However, at this point, negotiations with cable companies appear to relate to an existing form factor of the Apple TV set-top box.
While the media is quick to jump on any hint that Apple might be working on an HDTV—and many analysts even pinpoint a late 2012 launch—CEO of video cloud company Brightcove Jeremy Allaire said Apple’s approach to cable TV will not focus on a traditional TV monitor product (via AllThingsD). Instead, he makes the case for beaming content from iOS devices through dedicated cable TV apps using AirPlay. This follows reports late last month that claimed Apple is set to introduce a new Apple TV OS at WWDC this month. Allaire explained:
I believe Apple will seek partnerships with the top cable companies for them to open up their APIs for their EPG, VOD libraries and Network DVR infrastructure so that Apple can offer a superior user experience on top of those services… In such a model, you’d purchase and use an Apple TV device (more on what the devices will actually be below) and use it in concert with an existing subscription from a TV operator, and access the TV functionality as an App. Yes, cable TV will just be an app among what will be tens and then hundreds of thousands of apps on your Apple TV.
As for new devices and software, Allaire claimed Apple’s main focus would be to enhance its current TV platform and integration with iOS devices, while possibly entering the TV monitor business. He further claimed Apple will release a completely redesigned Apple TV set-top box as a “thin black bar,” a “TV monitor” device that includes the same features as the set-top box, and updates to iOS APIs and AirPlay to include “new camera and microphone, motion detection and speech recognition” capabilities:
First, Apple will release a new Apple TV add-on product, though I expect that rather than using the current “puck” design it will instead be a thin black bar, perhaps 1 inch tall and 3 inches wide, that can easily mount to the top of almost any existing HD capable TV set. Like the existing Apple TV, it will have HDMI and power jacks on the back, but it will also include a high-def camera built into it’s face, as well as an embedded iOS environment that provides motion-sensing and speech processing.
Second, Apple will also release a TV monitor product as well with identical capabilities as the updated Apple TV add-on device, but in a design and form factor that presents the Apple brand effectively. Why would they do this when it is such an established market with such long replacement cycles? In short, because they can, and it will be gorgeous and include the latest innovations in display technology, and will sell at a premium price that ensures a reasonable gross margin for Apple.
Third, Apple will provide updates to iOS that include significantly enhanced and improved AirPlay functionality, and where AirPlay capabilities become a more front and center aspect of the iOS experience. Additionally, they will release new iOS APIs for dealing with second screen device capabilities such as the new camera and microphone, motion detection and speech recognition. Developers will be encouraged to build iOS apps that are Apple TV ready, using dual-screen features and motion user interaction, among other things.
According to a report from BGR, which cited a “trusted source,” Apple is preparing to demo a refreshed version of its Apple TV OS at WWDC next week. The report also claimed it is the same OS that runs on the much-rumored Apple HDTV that many reports indicate the company is working on. BGR also said Apple is testing a new “control out” API. The report explained:
Continuing a long string of recent exclusives that quote un-named sources, CultofMac today claims that someone who saw the Apple HDTV says it looks like a bigger Cinema Display with an iSight camera and Siri, according to the post.
We are filing this one somewhere between the infamous Steve Jobs eating rice pudding post and….
- Analyst: Apple could use ‘iTV’ moniker for HDTV, partner with carriers for programming (9to5mac.com)
A ton of recent rumors all but confirm Apple plans to enter the TV market with a full-fledged Apple-branded HDTV, but today a patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office details an advancement of high refresh rate LCD technology known as “fringe field switching.” As described by PatentlyApple, Apple’s patent offers advancements in the technology that would allow FFS for use with large screen HDTVs. The report noted, “Previous versions of FSS couldn’t accommodate such large displays.” PatentlyApple explained:
The story from USAToday:
[Cincinnati Reds’ manager of video scouting, Rob] Coughlin says the third-generation iPad’s improved resolution will enhance those efforts, noting the Reds installed high-definition cameras at Great America Ballpark this off-season in hopes of gaining a scouting edge.
“With the ‘3,’ now you’re going to be able to see the grip on the baseball, perhaps even the rotation of the baseball and be able to (better) break down mechanics,” he says. ” A decade ago (the latest) was VHS tapes, then the quality of video improved when everything went digital. Now, the next step is getting everything in high definition. The clearer the picture, the clearer you can see what the pitcher is trying to do.”
In a game of inches, every pixel matters.
There has been no shortage of analyst reports regarding an Apple branded HDTV that the company is rumored to have already started work on. Some are calling for a late 2012 launch, but up until now, all have imagined the device as a standalone HDTV. Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair offers up another concept, claiming Apple will introduce a next-gen iMac with TV capabilities that will act as a transitional device before jumping head first into the TV business. The device would essentially integrate iCloud and Apple TV features, in addition to traditional TV hardware, into the larger 27-inch iMac design. Blair explains (via Forbes):
We think this makes sense because while we typically think about the newest TV’s hanging on the wall in large form factors, Apple could effectively start with what they already have on the manufacturing line and slowly push their offering from 27 inches and scale up from there to 32 inches and then move on to the 42, 50 and 55 inch market. In short, we believe the initial Apple TV is their iMac computer that can function as a TV, over the iCloud platform.
While this appears to be entirely speculation at this point, he makes much of his case based on the fact Apple already has the 27-inch iMac in production. We know Apple killed Front Row in Lion, while at the same time introducing iOS-like functionality like Launchpad. The 27-inch iMac is already an excellent display for consuming video content, but how conventional TV features might be baked into Lion is yet to be seen.
We’re pretty sure the Apple HDTV, if it comes to pass, will be based in iOS. It will also be a living room experience unlike the up-close experience of an iMac. Also, Apple seems to be going away from using its Mac Hardware as a TV device killing both Front Row and the included remote on many of its products. Therefore we think this speculation is off.
A rendition of an Apple-branded television set.
The WSJ reports that amid losing money on every television set they make, Sony somehow has a strategy for redemption. Stringer declined to provide details about what Sony is developing but said “there’s a tremendous amount of R&D going into a different kind of TV set”.
He he has “no doubt” Apple’s Steve Jobs also was working on changing the traditional TV set. “That’s what we’re all looking for”, he noted, warning “it will take a long time to transition to a new form of television”. Slim margins, low prices and little innovation make the business of researching, developing and marketing high-definition television sets a cutthroat one, he remarked:
We can’t continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money.
His company, Stringer said, spent the last five years creating an ecosystem to take on Apple, even though the company had seen little success with the Google TV platform and other connected television efforts: