@Soli - thanks as always for your input as always
I'm actually going to side with Ireland this time, in that there will be no connectors of any kind on the TV itself save for a power connector. I'm even going to jump off the deep end, and say that the power cable will be either: a) to charge the panel only, or b) be as thin and easy as a MagSafe or 30-pin dock connector now.
I have a question for the tech gurus here: how much juice would a 36", 45", or even a 55" screen need for 5-8 hours of "on time"?
What if the only components in the iPanel itself were the batteries (possibly?), a wifi chip, and stereo speakers? How much would that cost?
No, "naysayers" will be stating it's stupid to include batteries on a device that weighs 45 lbs and isn't meant to be mobile. The power consumption is about 85.8W for the Sony 55".
And what are you going to do if you want to watch TV even though the batteries are drained? Take it off the wall so you can recharge at an outlet?
SJ was well known for a few guiding principles that dictated Apple's products, not least of which:
a) he hated cables(!)... and b) he loved "thin", "connected" and "wireless.
There is nothing uglier and more demanding of the placement of your entertainment system than the power outlets and the sat, cable, and stereo connection coming into a room. Imagine with an Apple iPanel being able to be free to hang it like a picture, or stand it on a table, dresser, where ever... without worrying... at all... about all of the cables needed to use it. Actually, the iPanel could be seen as a giant "mobile device" for the home, garden, garage, den. OK, granted the 55" would not be... but a 36" would only be as heavy as a normal picture in a glass frame.
He said it is always about the software and user interface, coupled with the hardware. What if he found a way to hijack all of the trash UI's in an entertainment system, and replace it with an Apple UI? I mentioned this earlier in the thread. There is nothing worse with current TV and Entertainment systems than all of the assorted remotes and GUI's.
*Speakers: while included in the iPanel for stand-alone usage, and optically connected with a stereo system in the main room, naturally I would expect Airport Express and anything wifi connected and using AirPlay could be used to output "higher" fidelity sound.
A box to control them all so-to-speak, and the only "part" of the Apple entertainment system that would be updated and/or replaced every 1-2 years. Apple also thinks "green", so I certainly wouldn't expect them to create such a large all-in-one landfill device every 2 years. It also doesn't fit their logistics or upgrade model at all. But a device not much larger (but probably not square) than a Mac Mini with every connector you need? That could work.
Naturally, Apple will surely do something to lock in the user and the devices. "iEntertain" would be 2 parts, that would need each other to work: the iPanel and the iDockTV box at a minimum. You got the iPanel, now you just replace the iDock for ~500,- every couple of years.
It goes without saying that the iPanel/iDock is fully iOS compatible. Apps and Airplay and iTunes Store... oh my!
Sorry for the long "brainstorm".
This is is viable since all these ports still exist, just on the Apple AV receiver rather than the TV. Many folks with a lot of inputs have a AV receiver that switches between HDMI inputs. The UI still tends to suck badly.
The downside is you STILL need a mass of remotes and integration with 3rd party devices still spotty. However, IF they can get Comcast to buy into the concept that's 99% of the problems resolved for Comcast subscribers and gives them a huge footprint of potential customers.
I think many of the folks that have been negative about an Apple HDTV has been VERY positive about an Apple AV receiver (which is what you are suggesting). The HDTV in the equation doesn't matter much. I can replicate the scenario with the tiny aTV installed behind a Sony HDTV, a short 0.5 meter HDMI cable and the same power outlet required by the HDTV.
The lineup of the current aTV for direct connection to a HDTV via HDMI for $99 and a apple AV receiver or HTiaB for $399-$599 is a decent one. An apple branded HDTV with just AirPlay inside is a nice adjunct but the whole thing will work with any existing HDTV and a $99 aTV.
Something roughly equivalent to this in features but much improved UX.