Cupertino could be trying the waters for starting a full-scale development of their own TV-sets. In fact, the truth may be that it started a long time ago.
So, what is that all about? First, an interesting patent application by Apple, dated on September 2011, broke the tech industry surface. Second, the Siri developers presented their new speech recognizing software, tuned up specifically for the TV-sets. Third, Wall Street Journal reported about talks between Apple's execs and media companies' bosses.
Here's all that in detail.
The Patent Application
Apple is reported to have submitted a curious patent application back in September 2010. The patent describes a dream gizmo of every geek in the world: a universal remote control.
For one thing, this thingie seems to have a number of definite advantages over the remotes for individual devices. Above all, it's universal, so you'll never fiddle with the three remotes of yours that look so similar, wasting time searching for the right one, ever again. Besides, the number of buttons on the Apple's new device will be many times lower than that on the traditional plastic remotes, so controlling the new remotes will be way easier. In fact, reducing the overall number of buttons is the major concept behind the device: Apple claims that 'the controls that are not normally used clutter the remote control and can cause confusion to the user when trying to locate a seldom-used feature'. Bringing the button set into a more orderly condition would unclutter the remote and make the adjustment period much shorter than it is now.
On the other hand, the device will have a touch-screen, which is extremely unhandy for a remote. To check this point, just try to remember when you last time looked at your remote buttons when switching between the channels. The chances are: never. With the Apple universal remote, you'll have to do it every time because it will be impossible to find the needed buttons by feel.
Nevertheless, it is a bit early to weigh up whether you should pre-order the new remote when it's made available to the public: the company's brand TV sets will apparently be controlled in another way.
Dragon TV by Nuance
Apple seems to have put all its hope into the voice control. The company bosses are definitely envisioning it as the technology of the future. This point is strongly supported by the recent presentation of Dragon TV, the speech recognizing software for the TV-sets by Nuance Communications, the developer of the iPhone 4S software assistant Siri.
Taking into account the long-time co-operation between Nuance and Apple, it would be reasonable to regard the newly presented software as part of the future AppleTV. If this scenario is true, the universal remote patent starts looking a bit weird: it's becomes unclear what Apple could need it for. An alternative way to control your whole bunch of Apple devices, including iPod, iPad, and iPhone? Sounds legit.
The Exec Talks
Finally, the most delicious piece of news came from some internal media sources. In their interviews to Wall Street Journal, they gave a brief account of what was discussed in the meetings between high-profile Apple managers, including Senior Vice President Eddy Cue, and several media companies representatives.
In fact, the Cupertino guys disseminated no specific details as to what technologies they are going to implement in their TV paradigm. However, the outline of their strategy has taken a much more definite shape than earlier. So, Cue and Co presented to the media bosses a picture of a seamless TV experience, when the user can watch a show on his TV set and then keep watching it on his or her iPhone or iPad. The TV content will be managed with a new control technology, making use of the user's voice and movements (that's where Dragon TV comes into play).
Unfortunately, the new control technology is going to take some time to accomplish. Meanwhile, Apple is reported to be wrapping up work on its AirPlay technology. It will allow wireless streaming of videos from the mobile iDevices on TV-sets without using the set-top box.
Should all the rumors we have just discussed prove true, the world will soon see television fully revolutionized by Apple, just as they did it with the mobile and tablet devices industry earlier. Don't forget to visit mac.informer to keep abreast of the latest news about AppleTV!