Regarding Jobs' "cracked" comment, which AI seems to paste into every story these days, I wish he had made this comment in regards to content deals. I don't think anyone is worried about the interface this rumored TV will have; it's what the interface will have access to that worries me instead.
This is why I'm still completely skeptical about Apple making an HDTV. I have no doubt that they've been able to crack it on the hardware end. I can list off at least 10 rather huge ideas that could be game changers on the hardware and software side. I grew up working in the high end custom install industry so I've been doing makeshift automation and integration for years. I know what it would take to make all of this great.
But here's the thing: so do a lot of people, but it has nothing to do with why nothing has really changed.
TV all boils down to content, licensing and delivery, and that whole set of scenes is a phenominally ridiculous mess. So many different groups have competing interests and they're mostly lead by people who are afraid to move forward so as not to possibly give up any ground to new players.
Ask anyone in Hollywood about the original Netflix licensing deals and they'll you they made a huge mistake. They gave content away too cheap because they underestimated the appeal, and now they've learned from that and watching the music industry fall apart.
Then you have the ISP's and cable providers with their own interests and ever-growing overlap.
Then you also have the current hardware industry shipping a ton of shit and making little to no money if they're not simply losing money. Only LG seems to be making any legitimately interesting (though entirely minimal and inconsequential) advancements in control and connectivity. Sony's a joke. Samsung's are just not very good even on the high end. Panasonic makes the best bang for your buck sets but most consumers are still scared of plasma's because they've heard too many outdated or simply untrue horror stories. But bottom line, none of them are having a lot of success selling TV's right now. The margins are too slim, and except to the trained eye, the differences in quality between HDTV's is too subtle for most to justify the price of higher end sets.
The only way Apple makes this work is through amazing advancements in control, connectivity and content delivery. It doesn't all need to be streaming, but they need to be able to control any cable box (very, very possible and potentially very elegant with the right software/hardware combo). The TV's really ought to have Blu-Ray built in for the next 5 or so years as physical media is still too prevelant in the world and the best way to eliminate the complexity of controlling it is to simply integrate it. The HDMI inputs are still necessary for a few years too and need to be able to be configured to exist as sections like on the current Apple TV. If you have an X-Box, you set it up on an input and label it as such and you can access it as simply as you access anything on the current Apple TV main screen. Siri won't be as big of a player here as some think. It'll be an option but it's not even half the battle as too often it won't make sense to use. Perhaps you'd even have customized settings for various gaming systems, cable boxes, etc.
But all this begs the question of why Apple really needs to have this integrated into an actual HDTV at all. In many ways, it makes far more sense for Apple to market an Apple TV with Blu-Ray drive and HDMI inputs that pairs up with a wi-fi HDMI adapter for the TV. You could shove all your crap in a closet, plug it all into the Appel TV box that will then manage it and wirelessly stream the video (and audio unless routed to separate sound system) signal to the TV, any TV. Have a little IR transmitter prism you stick in the front corner in front of all the sources to then control them (specifically the cable box) via Apple's software.
An advanced Apple TV box priced around $199 makes a lot more sense to me than trying to market a full on HDTV. However, I could easily see them offering a $799 42" and $999 50" pair of HDTV monitors with integrated wireless transfer capabilities to communicate with the Apple TV box. The industrial design, panel quality and built-in wireless compatibility with Apple TV combined with very reasonable price points would be very successful. Afterall, the hardware in the Apple TV box is what is going to change far more than the actual display panel, and it'll a lot easier to sell people on upgrading a connectivity box every year or two over an entire TV. No one but ultra nerds like me buy new TV's every year or two.
Anything else they could do likely just won't be possible until the content providers wake up and the ISP's and cable operators get reigned in. That's just not going to happen soon. Again, I have no doubt that Steve Jobs cracked the simple TV code, but I think he was just as serious a year or so ago when he said it simply was too difficult of an industry to crack right now with all the competing industries. More than anything, the success of this venture has very little to do with software or hardware.