iTV: Not If but What
May 11, 2012 2:56 PM PT
Terry Gou, chief of Foxconn, has confirmed that Apple has an iTV in the works. The news, which instantly sent the consumer electronics industry into a tizzy, came at the end of a China Daily article about the plans of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (aka Foxconn) to expand into e-commerce and distribution.
Yes, an iTV is coming, according to Gou, who provided the publication with some detail about the product, even though neither development nor manufacturing has begun.
The iTV will sport an aluminum construction casing, Gou said. It will also feature Siri and FaceTime video calling.
Although this is not a lot of information, it's enough to launch a new round of speculation -- and anticipation -- about an Apple TV.
"The industry has heard plenty of rumors about an Apple television, of course," Rob Walch, host of Today in iOS, told MacNewsWorld. "This is different, though. It comes from a credible source that was willing to go on the record."
The TV Viewing Experience
With the answer of whether Apple plans to develop an iTV settled, Walch said, the focus is now on what it will do, what it will look like, and how it will change the viewing experience.
The latter question is most important of all, he said, since that is what Apple is all about.
"Will Apple build a beautiful TV? Undoubtedly," Walch declared. "Will there be equally or more beautiful TVs on the market to compete? Certainly. Whatever Apple will deliver is going to compete on the end-user experience with television -- not how many pixels it has."
Based on the information at hand, Walch guessed that will mean a better user experience with search on television, as well as a better user interface.
A Friendly TV Remote - Finally
Certainly the remote control is due for a makeover, said Azita Arvani of the Arvani Group.
"We all know that if we wanted to name the most accomplished version of unfriendly user interfaces, it would be our TV remotes," she told MacNewsWorld.
Siri will play a key role in the TV remote's makeover, and its integration into iTV will result in very intuitive and easy-to-use controls, predicted tech analyst Azita Arvani.
It will also be enabled by the high-speed home WiFi system, she added. "Siri on iTV will be much more responsive than Siri on the iPhone 4S."
FaceTime could also be a big boost to the innovation on iTV, suggested Arvani.
"Instead of video conferencing being something that only techies could install on their TVs, and the user would have to sit in a certain way to be able to use it, she said, Apple iTV would most probably make FaceTime really easy for ordinary folks to be able to install and use right out of the box."
A New Content Consumption Device
It is also important not to forget where Apple's key strength is, said James Brehm, senior strategist and consultant with Compass Intelligence.
It is an extraordinary creator of content consumption devices and gadgets, and "it will bring that legacy to whatever it does for the television," he told MacNewsWorld.
"Being able to select different types of content from iTunes, from books and movies, and being able to upload that to the cloud will be a part of whatever Apple does," he predicted.
Siri will be crucial too, added Brehm. "If Apple can build an interface that joins TV [and] Internet content and embed Siri in the middle, it will have created an entirely new medium."
Ultimately, that is the direction Apple is heading, according to Brehm.
"Apple has made a number of patent filings in which Siri is associated with different devices," he noted. "That leads me to believe that is where Apple is going with this. An iTV could be just the start."
Apple did not respond to our request to comment for this story.