Apple founder Steve Jobs' comment to Walter Isaacson in his biography about Apple's television project has sparked much speculation about how Apple would remake television.
"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it," Jobs was quoted as saying in Walter Issacson's biography "Steve Jobs".
Now Sony is apparently on the same trail as Jobs and Apple and is also working on the next generation of television. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Sony CEO Howard Stringer revealed that the company is spending a serious amount in research and development in "a different kind of TV set".
Stringer's revelation that all major television manufacturers are "scrambling" to figure out how to change the television as we know it only shows how much clout Apple has in any industry. Just think back to the smartphone. It wasn't new technology when Apple started tinkering with it but then it released the iPhone and the masses took notice. Now the smartphone market is booming and Apple is leading the charge. It's not a stretch to think that Apple could do the same with an Apple TV.
But what exactly would constitute an Apple TV? Aside from Jobs' cryptic comment that he had cracked it, there's little information to go by. Of course that didn't stop people from speculating what an iTV would look like and the number one feature that would tie it together with other Apple devices is Siri. With Siri viewers can ditch the remote control forever. You can now sit on your couch and tell Siri what movie or TV show to play or what channel to record. A Siri-powered television set could also set-up other content from iTunes or the Internet. Tell Siri you want to see "cute cat videos" and she'll take you to a YouTube channel of cute kittens. All this will make for what Jobs envisioned as a television that "will have the simplest user interface you could imagine."
So where does this leave Sony? The company is already working on its so-called "four screen strategy" that will emulate Apple's sharing and networking abilities among the Apple devices.
"I spent the last five years building a platform so I can compete against Steve Jobs," Stringer said during the Journal's event. "It's finished, and it's launching now."
Of course Sony doesn't have the greatest track record against Apple. Its Walkman music player gave way to the iPod and even Sony's gaming console, the PlayStation is under fire against smartphones and tablets like the iPhone and iPad. Can Sony release the next-generation television set before Apple, and will it really matter when Apple does release its iTV? Stay tuned to find out.
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