Steve Jobs wanted Apple to reinvent TVs, textbooks & photography

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A new interview with the biographer of Steve Jobs reveals that before he died, the Apple co-founder had three things he wanted to reinvent: the television, textbooks and photography.



Jobs' biggest issue with modern televisions, according to Walter Isaacson, was their "complicated remote controls." In an interview with The New York Times published Friday, Isaacson revealed that Jobs said he had "licked it," as he felt there was "no reason" for TVs to be so difficult to use.



But televisions were only one of the product categories that Jobs apparently had interest in revolutionizing. Isaacson also noted that Jobs wanted to push more change with textbooks, something Apple has already begun to do with the iPad in schools, and photography, where change has been brought about by the convenience and quality of picture taking on the iPhone.



Isaacson said he chose not to go into detail about Apple's future products in his book, in particular how they might relate to the interest of Jobs in TVs, textbooks and photography. The author said he didn't feel it was fair to the company to reveal those details publicly.



Isaacson's book, which came out last month, does mention that Jobs said he felt he had "cracked" the secret to a simple HDTV. The late CEO said the television set he envisioned would have "the simplest user interface you could imagine."







That revelation has led to newfound speculation and rumors that Apple is planning to release a full-fledged television set at some point in the near future. The Times itself said last month that Apple is expected to release a TV with Siri voice recognition functionality by the year 2013.



It has also been claimed that Jeff Robin, an Apple vice president who helped to build both iTunes and the iPod, is spearheading the company's efforts to produce a connected TV. Such a device is expected to have integrated search functionality that will allow users to seamlessly find their content from a number of locations, including iTunes, Netflix or a cable subscription.



Wall Street analyst Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee also said in October that while Jobs was "very excited" about the prospect of a true Apple TV, the project remains held up by content licensing deals that the company feels are necessary to release a competitive product.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    irelandireland Posts: 17,587member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Jobs' biggest issue with modern televisions, according to Walter Isaacson, was their "complicated remote controls."



    My my, Ireland, it looks like you nailed it. Here comes 20 people telling you never said this. In fact, the area of remotes was my number 1 concern/reason I've had for why Apple needs to build an all-in-one TV, and has been for years. That's the whole reason for no HDMI ports on the back; to force simplicity on the situation. Not just for simplicity of set up, but for one remote, one remote, one remote.
  • Reply 2 of 64
    I wish somebody would reinvent textbooks and the exorbitant prices charged schools and college students.
  • Reply 3 of 64
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,595member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    My my, Ireland, it looks like you nailed it.



    You are just too damn clever for your own good, young man! (Even if you have to say so yourself!)



    One of my favourite moments in The Osbournes (remember that?) was when Ozzy got a new top of the line plasma with a HUGE remote control.
  • Reply 4 of 64
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post


    You are just too damn clever for your own good, young man! (Even if you have to say so yourself!)



    One of my favourite moments in The Osbournes (remember that?) was when Ozzy got a new top of the line plasma with a HUGE remote control.



    It was a lot longer ago than that when JObs, in some interview, (before he came back to apple?) said he wanted to design the best universal remote - the Controller Of Remote Electronics. I doubt he was serious at the time, but he was complaining about the number of boxes he had to play with, just to watch a movie
  • Reply 5 of 64
    pt123pt123 Posts: 696member
    I would be interested in seeing an Apple TV just to see how Apple would do it and how many people would buy one.
  • Reply 6 of 64
    shaun, ukshaun, uk Posts: 1,050member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    My my, Ireland, it looks like you nailed it. Here comes 20 people telling you never said this. In fact, the area of remotes was my number 1 concern/reason I've had for why Apple needs to build an all-in-one TV, and has been for years. That's the whole reason for no HDMI ports on the back; to force simplicity on the situation. Not just for simplicity of set up, but for one remote, one remote, one remote.



    Who in their right mind is going to spend a lot of money on an Apple Television just so they can have one remote control? Just buy a multi remote which controls all your devices for £20.



    No this has nothing to do with remotes. This is about extending Apple's cloud strategy. The cloud will become your digital hub rather than the computer. Store and stream or download as you wish. The Apple TV will simply be another "device" in the Apple ecosystem. Instead of beaming programmes from your iPod/iPhone or mirrored games - everything will be accessible fom the TV: iTunes movies, tv, music, games, the internet, etc. It will replace your hifi coz it will have fantastic internal speaker system.



    If you want to add cable/sat ok then add the extra box. If not you have a one box solution for all your enterainment needs.
  • Reply 7 of 64
    pt123pt123 Posts: 696member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    It will replace your hifi coz it will have fantastic internal speaker system.



    Considering how Apple goes thin, sound is not going to be fantastic. It is unfortunate that thin and small just does not make for fantastic sound.
  • Reply 8 of 64
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    My my, Ireland, it looks like you nailed it. Here comes 20 people telling you never said this. In fact, the area of remotes was my number 1 concern/reason I've had for why Apple needs to build an all-in-one TV, and has been for years. That's the whole reason for no HDMI ports on the back; to force simplicity on the situation. Not just for simplicity of set up, but for one remote, one remote, one remote.



    yeah, you and about 100 other people on these forums have all said the same thing. I said it too.



    There are about 100 other reasons (also mention by many on these forums) why this rumored Apple HDTV will have to fight a pretty big uphill battle to release something affordable and accessible to the general public of comportment driven entertainment systems. This isn't an iPhone/ipod that most people replace every other generation or so. It will have to sustain at least a 10 year period of use before being replaced. And that will have to be in the form of iOS.



    It's been said 1001 times that most people don't replace their TV (and/or entertainment system) more than once every 10 or so years. I bought my current HDTV in 2005 and that replaced a 15 year old 31" tube.



    I sure hope there is a Set-top version of this rumored new device. I love my Apple TV and all it's features. And I also love my BD player and Plasma TV and Surround Sound receiver and speaker set I purchased just 2 years ago. However, I hate my 5 remotes. But that's not enough to prematurely replace all my components for one device anytime in the near future. And many people like being able to pick and choose their components. My point is I hope they offer both a set and a STB as to adopt the highest margin of consumers.



    The only way this will be successful is the price. The feature set will get a lot of early adopters, but to be as successful as the iphone or ipad they will have to be very aggressive with pricing. And it will have to be compatible with at least a set of after-market speakers and have a built-in HD Surround receiver. I can see them giving the middle-finger to the BD player, which would be a non-starter for me, but i can see that.



    I wouldn't want to guess on pricing, but $1500 would sound just enough to get early adopters to ditch their current set-up and too much for the price conscious.
  • Reply 9 of 64
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    Who in their right mind is going to spend a lot of money on an Apple Television just so they can have one remote control? Just buy a multi remote which controls all your devices for £20.



    No this has nothing to do with remotes. This is about extending Apple's cloud strategy. The cloud will become your digital hub rather than the computer. Store and stream or download as you wish. The Apple TV will simply be another "device" in the Apple ecosystem. Instead of beaming programmes from your iPod/iPhone or mirrored games - everything will be accessible fom the TV: iTunes movies, tv, music, games, the internet, etc. It will replace your hifi coz it will have fantastic internal speaker system.



    If you want to add cable/sat ok then add the extra box. If not you have a one box solution for all your enterainment needs.



    Plenty of folks would simply love a voice-responsive remote that works only with Apple products.
  • Reply 10 of 64
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Right_said_fred View Post


    It was a lot longer ago than that when JObs, in some interview, (before he came back to apple?) said he wanted to design the best universal remote - the Controller Of Remote Electronics. I doubt he was serious at the time, but he was complaining about the number of boxes he had to play with, just to watch a movie



    Wasn't it Woz that was working on a remote control?
  • Reply 11 of 64
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    My my, Ireland, it looks like you nailed it. Here comes 20 people telling you never said this. In fact, the area of remotes was my number 1 concern/reason I've had for why Apple needs to build an all-in-one TV, and has been for years. That's the whole reason for no HDMI ports on the back; to force simplicity on the situation. Not just for simplicity of set up, but for one remote, one remote, one remote.



    "To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions."



    You and everyone else have always wanted things to work better and be easier to use, but most realize that it's more than just saying you want something is required to make something happen. You won't be able to devise a solution until you step out of Narnia and understand the problem.
  • Reply 12 of 64
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,755member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post


    Who in their right mind is going to spend a lot of money on an Apple Television just so they can have one remote control? Just buy a multi remote which controls all your devices for £20.



    No this has nothing to do with remotes...



    I think you are missing the point--it is not just the annoyance of having multiple remotes (though it is annoying). The real issue is how clunky the remote interface is.



    Try this: you know a show is on, but you don't know what channel--what is your process for finding that show? (Answer 1: scroll through hundreds of stations. Answer 2: use the DVR's search feature which, at least on my Verizon box, would include 15-30 button presses through a hirerarchal menu and letter choosing menu. Fun.)



    We put up with this because we grew up with it and don't have better options. Problem is, the number of channels has exploded as has the number of options (watch TV, rent movie watch show recorded off TV...)

    If Apple has found a way to make this massively more simple without giving up much in the way of content options, it would be worth a lot to consumers.

    I assume it would involve some Siri like interface (what could be simpler?) but the question is can they get networks, cable providers and movie studios to play ball? This is where I have my doubts!
  • Reply 13 of 64
    antkm1antkm1 Posts: 1,441member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dkimak View Post


    Wasn't it Woz that was working on a remote control?



    I believe Woz was the first to invent the programmable universal remote.



    From Wikipedia:

    "In 1987, the first programmable universal, remote control was released. It was created by CL 9, a startup founded by Steve Wozniak, the inventor of the Apple II."
  • Reply 14 of 64
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    I think you are missing the point--it is not just the annoyance of having multiple remotes (though it is annoying). The real issue is how clunky the remote interface is.



    Try this: you know a show is on, but you don't know what channel--what is your process for finding that show? (Answer 1: scroll through hundreds of stations. Answer 2: use the DVR's search feature which, at least on my Verizon box, would include 15-30 button presses through a hirerarchal menu and letter choosing menu. Fun.)



    We put up with this because we grew up with it and don't have better options. Problem is, the number of channels has exploded as has the number of options (watch TV, rent movie watch show recorded off TV...)

    If Apple has found a way to make this massively more simple without giving up much in the way of content options, it would be worth a lot to consumers.

    I assume it would involve some Siri like interface (what could be simpler?) but the question is an they get networks, cable providers and movie studios to play ball. This is where I have my doubts!



    Even if you get the excessive and complex remote control and on-screen UI for finding shows with something like Siri there is then TW issue of speed and reliability. Having it take longer than accessing the channel guide or being down intermittently makes for a bad experience.



    Of course, these are just the superficial issues Apple would have to deal with when trying to crack this nut.
  • Reply 15 of 64
    The only thing more amazing than all the constant rumors about what Apple is going to do, is all the comments from people who think they are smarter than Steve Jobs was. Everyone dismissing their own ideas, since they can't dismiss SJ ideas that have never be stated beyond rumors. I don't know if there will ever be a stand alone Apple TV or not. If there ever is, I am confident that the user interface will something no one posting their ideas here will have ever thought of. Otherwise I would have to assume all of them would be too busy managing the company that beat Apple to the punch with the iPad.
  • Reply 16 of 64
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Jean Louis-Gassée had a couple articles about the elusive iTV concept that are worth reading.
  • Reply 17 of 64
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,354member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alphajack7 View Post


    I wish somebody would reinvent textbooks and the exorbitant prices charged schools and college students.



    Yes. Information should be free or inexpensive to all.



    In other news, I wish someone would do something about the exorbitant prices colleges charge for education. Information should be free or inexpensive to all.



    And gosh, could someone do something about the exorbitant prices teachers charge? Information should be free or inexpensive to all.



    That's my policy. I just haven't figured out how to make it happen. One day I will "crack this."
  • Reply 18 of 64
    I think that, had Steve lived to begin to see this part of his vision through, Apple would have bought that plenoptic camera startup, Lyra.



    Because being able to choose where the focal point is AFTER the picture has been taken is a complete reinvention of photography.
  • Reply 19 of 64
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SkateNY View Post


    Plenty of folks would simply love a voice-responsive remote that works only with Apple products.



    So, instead of punching 803 to watch the Science Channel, I'll have to do this:



    "Change Channel"



    Okay, which channel do you want to watch



    "Science"



    I don't know what that is



    "SCIENCE"



    Okay, I'm going to change the channel to syfy Do you want me to do this?



    "cancel"



    etc etc etc.



    I find it sort of funny that the modern day Edison couldn't figure out a remote. Did his VCR blink 12:00 too?
  • Reply 20 of 64
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Jean Louis-Gassée had a couple articles about the elusive iTV concept that are worth reading.



    Who? Jean-Louis Notworthyofcomparisontostevejobs?



    Personally, I want Sony to develop a simpler TV remote. It will have 200 buttons (half of which are hidden behind a door panel), and include such obvious functions as Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow.
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