The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple's plans to release a possible Siri-powered HDTV is "advancing," as the company is now pitching the idea and other streaming services to "media executives at several large companies."
Senior Vice President Eddy Cue is one of the Apple executives involved in meetings with the media execs over the last few weeks, and is reportedly outlining ways Siri and/or iOS could recognize users across multiple devices: phones, tablets and TVs. There's even talk that Apple will implement motion control for waving through content and channels, following Microsoft's lead with the Xbox and Kinect device.
News of the Siri-based HDTV began to surface back in October, stemming from an "I've finally cracked it" comment made by Steve Jobs before his passing. An Apple employee confirmed that a device is in the works, and even claimed that Jobs believed the television industry to be broken. Later in his biography, Jobs said that an Apple-based TV would have "the simplest user interface you could imagine."
This latest report from the Wall Street Journal offers additional insight into the device, claiming that it will rely on wireless streaming technology for accessing shows, movies and other content, and Apple's AirPlay to control the content from an iPhone or iPad. Unnamed sources have backed up the October report, stating that users will be able to search for a show or change the channel simply by speaking to the device. So far there's no indication that the HDTV will receive broadcast channels.
More broadly, insiders close to the meetings claim that Apple is discussing ways to stream multimedia content to iOS devices. As an example, users could start a movie on one Apple device, pause it, and continue on another. This could be accomplished with current Apple gadgets like the iPhone, iPad and the Apple TV set-top box. But despite its success with iTunes, Apple may have a long battle ahead. A representative for HBO told the paper that it would use AirPlay only when it was comfortable with the antipiracy protection.
So here's where we are in regards to Apple's plans for a "TV takeover":
1. Use wireless streaming technology to access content.
2. Recognize the end-user across multiple devices.
3. Respond to user voices and gestures.
4. Watch a video on one device and continue on another.
5. Control content using iPhones and iPads.
6. Store purchased content in the cloud.
"What kind of cooperation Apple is seeking from media companies remains unclear," the paper reports.
On Monday Forbes poked fun at headlines like "Apple Preps TV Takeover" and "Apple Plots its TV Assault." The magazine points out that most of what was discussed in the Wall Street Journal's report is already available in other services and devices: whatever Apple is brewing isn't necessarily new and innovative at this point. Hulu Plus and Netflix allow users to start on one device and continue on another. The Xbox 360 with Kinect has already mastered the voice and gesture aspect. DirecTV subscribers can even control their content via an Android smartpohne or tablet.
Will Apple revolutionize the TV industry as it did with the mobile sector? That remains to be seen, but based on these details, there doesn't seem to be any kind of real assault on the way. Of course, that could change real quick...