The new software in the works will "effectively add an Apple layer on top of the TV screen," according to a report published Thursday by The New York Times. Apple's own programming guide will allegedly offer an experience "far superior" to anything Time Warner can offer customers on its own.
The fact that Time Warner Cable is willing to hand over so much control to Apple should not be a surprise: The company's chief operating officer, Rob Marcus, signaled last year that he would be willing to give up user interface control to Apple if it were to offer customers a better experience and earn more subscribers.
Thursday's report explains that Apple has apparently switched its approach with content providers and is allegedly looking to cooperate cable providers, rather than sign exclusive deals with individual channels. It's said that Apple intends to collect a fee from distributors like Time Warner in exchange for enhancing their television service.
The Time Warner Cable app said to be in the works would join the likes of WatchESPN, HBO Go, and Sky News, which were given their own dedicated applications on the Apple TV in an update pushed out to users in June. Users who access WatchESPN on the Apple TV must have an active cable subscription, while HBO Go can only be streamed to customers who subscribe to HBO through their cable provider.
Word of a content deal with Time Warner first surfaced earlier this month, but few specifics were given. It was then said that Apple's agreement could be similar to Time Warner's current content deals with Roku and Microsoft's Xbox 360.
Apple is also said to be considering a "premium" service for Apple TV that could allow users to skip through commercials. Rumors claim that customers would pay for such functionality, and a cut of that fee would then be given to cable providers.