Mossberg: Steve Jobs continued work on Apple television set after resignation

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2016
Laying years of rumors to rest, veteran technology journalist Walt Mossberg this week confirmed knowledge of Apple's work on a full-fledged television set, saying Steve Jobs phoned him to discuss the project shortly before his death in 2011.




Mossberg received a call from Jobs on Aug. 24, 2011, the same day Apple announced his departure from the company after a years-long fight with pancreatic cancer, reports Recode. Incidentally, it just so happened that Mossberg was penning a feature on Jobs' legacy.

"I'm writing this thing. And the phone rings. And it's him," Mossberg said. "I think he wanted to talk to me because he was feeling a little sentimental. And also because he wanted me to know that he wasn't going away."

Apple had issued a press release earlier that day announcing Jobs' resignation. In the brief, Jobs said he was no longer fit to serve as the company's CEO and as such would hand the reins over to Tim Cook. He did, however, retain his position as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

"He was going to still be involved. Their press release made some vague nod toward that. But he wanted me to know that he was going to be involved in big strategic things, and also that he was going to reserve one particular thing for himself," Mossberg said. "I said, 'well, what's that?' He said, 'Well, it's television...I think we figured out a way to do it, and it's going to be fantastic. I want you to come out, in a few months, and I want to show it to you.'"

Jobs died two months later. Mossberg never got the chance to see Apple's TV, but he believes Jobs was hinting at a full-fledged television set, the report said.

"If you would have asked me five minutes after we hung up, I would have said he was going to reinvent the whole TV set," Mossberg said. "It would be Apple-esque, meaning it was high quality, and very easy to use. But he was thinking about more than hardware -- that was clear, too."

Rumors of an integrated Apple television date back to 2007 when the company was said to be committing research and development resources toward "large screen technologies." A number of similar claims followed. In 2008, serial entrepreneur Jason Calacanis said he knew "first-hand" that Apple was working on an Internet-connected television. Analyst Gene Munster put a timeline on Apple's production plans in 2010, predicting an entry in the $2,000 price range by 2014.

Perhaps most notable, however, is an excerpt from Walter Isaacson official Jobs biography in which the late tech guru said he "finally cracked" the code to simple television.

Apple weighed its options and ultimately took a different tack and positioned itself as a player in the set-top streaming business with Apple TV. The latest version features Siri integration and the specialized tvOS operating system with standalone App Store.

Artifacts from Jobs' contributions to the project might still be integrated into the Apple TV line, as Apple is said to be developing a universal digital viewing guide for streaming content providers. Described as a TV guide for apps, the feature would go a long way toward simplifying the over-the-top viewing experience.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,626member
    Let it go, Walt. 
    mwhitetimboramatallest skil
  • Reply 2 of 40
    singularitysingularity Posts: 1,329member
    The cracking it was not to do a TV but a box connecting to it.
    jony0
  • Reply 3 of 40
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,461member
    jungmark said:
    Let it go, Walt. 
    Right?! This guy seems obsessed.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,635member
    Soli said:
    jungmark said:
    Let it go, Walt. 
    Right?! This guy seems obsessed.
    Does he?  Haven't heard Walt talking about a TV much, it's normally Gene Munster that keeps on about it.
    Solisriceanantksundaramronnlolliverdasanman69irelandjony0
  • Reply 5 of 40
    Who really knows what he was talking about.

    Still took Apple another 4 years to release the latest Apple TV and it failed to have 4K capability.
    xixo1983
  • Reply 6 of 40
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,461member
    crowley said:
    Soli said:
    Right?! This guy seems obsessed.
    Does he?  Haven't heard Walt talking about a TV much, it's normally Gene Munster that keeps on about it.
    Mea culpa. It is Munster that has been incessant about the notion.
    edited August 2016
  • Reply 7 of 40
    xixoxixo Posts: 417member
    maybe the secret to perfect television is, there is no "ON" button....
    loquituraylk
  • Reply 8 of 40
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,461member

    ArmDog said:
    Who really knows what he was talking about.
    There are too many variables to be certain of anything, but I have to think it's based on logistics and SW, not the HW. Specifically, making the proper deal with content providers, which may or may not have been possible. For example, one possibility is getting deals with cable companies, which doesn't seem like it's going to happen.

    Still took Apple another 4 years to release the latest Apple TV and it failed to have 4K capability.

    I'm still rocking the 3rd gen model. I have no reason to update until 4K is available, which I don't think will happen until they can add an H.265 decoder, which I don't think will happen until the iTS is ready for HEVC content, which seems to depend on licensing.

    stompykevin keecornchip
  • Reply 9 of 40
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,635member
    xixo said:
    maybe the secret to perfect television is, there is no "ON" button....
    Or, from another perspective, there is no OFF button >:)
  • Reply 10 of 40
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 190member
    "... the late tech guru said he "finally cracked" the code to simple television..."

    The rest of the sentence reads:

    "...I finally cracked it. It will a little bit taller than the current Apple TV, a remote in which you speak into and tell it what you want to watch. At first you'll have to type by swiping, but then we'll release an external TV Keyboard, much better than the WebTV one. At first it'll be difficult to tell whether the remote is upside-down or downside-up, but we'll figure that out later."
    edited August 2016 elijahgsingularitycornchipbadmonk
  • Reply 11 of 40
    ArmDog said:
    Almost 5 years since Jobs passing and all we have gotten is a watch that has gotten  lukewarm reception.

    Nothing really else seems to be coming out.

    Yeah, a car I guess and I am real skeptical about that. Just WAY out of Apple's wheel house.


    Wasn't a phone out of apple's wheel house back in the day? They were an MP3 and computer company, after all.
    pacificfilmronnstevehlolliverwaverboynolamacguy
  • Reply 12 of 40
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member
    ... Artifacts from Jobs' contributions to the project might still be integrated into the Apple TV line, as Apple is said to be developing a universal digital viewing guide for streaming content providers. Described as a TV guide for apps, the feature would go a long way toward simplifying the over-the-top viewing experience.
    The "universal digital viewing guide" can and will help to disrupt the TV mess as it is now.
    I don't care what network or cable provider is dumping out the content I want to see.
    I don't care if CBS or USA Network or Toys 'R Us produces Mr. Robot.
    I just want to watch tonight's episode of Mr. Robot.

    This is terrible news for CBS, USA Network, and any of the old-school networks and providers.
    Their carefully polished brands mean nothing now.  Their silos are about to be shattered.

    Note: sooner than we think, we'll start to see this kind of direct access to content happen in mobile devices.
    Poking at icons on your mobile device screen will be how your grandfather accessed information.
    The OS will act more as a platform for data plug-ins than as a GUI app platform.
    Think "Her" (2013).  Just my silly wild-ass-guess here.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,093member
    I think Comcast, et al, killed Jobs' TV.  They locked Apple out of the media and thus the product.  

    It's just a hunch.  
    cornchip
  • Reply 14 of 40
    jungmark said:
    Let it go, Walt. 
    Why? I think it's a fascinating story. Probably the most interesting thing AI has reported all day. 

    In any event, you read it, didn't you? (As did @soli). ;
    lolliver
  • Reply 15 of 40
    The cracking it was not to do a TV but a box connecting to it.
    According to Walt that's not true.
  • Reply 16 of 40

    ArmDog said:
    Who really knows what he was talking about.

    Still took Apple another 4 years to release the latest Apple TV and it failed to have 4K capability.
    Doesn't have 4K because Apple doesn't seem the least bit interested in future proofing any of their products.
    boredumb
  • Reply 17 of 40
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,704member
    Maybe Steve did crack simple television, but one thing it he didn't crack was getting the type of cable TV into your living room at an affordable price....something like a-la-carté type channel selections.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,866member
    I'm pretty sure if you go back in time a smart TV or a box like and Apple TV with a TV was pretty revolutionary.  Apps, that's what Steve saw coming, such as Netflix or NBC Olympics.  Now it all seems obvious.  Watching the events you wanted when you wanted at the Rio Olympics on the Apple TV without all that ridiculous 'back story' crap and millions of ads was pure magic.
    lolliverration alcornchip
  • Reply 19 of 40
    Soli said:

    ArmDog said:
    Who really knows what he was talking about.
    There are too many variables to be certain of anything, but I have to think it's based on logistics and SW, not the HW. Specifically, making the proper deal with content providers, which may or may not have been possible. For example, one possibility is getting deals with cable companies, which doesn't seem like it's going to happen.

    I'm still rocking the 3rd gen model. I have no reason to update until 4K is available, which I don't think will happen until they can add an H.265 decoder, which I don't think will happen until the iTS is ready for HEVC content, which seems to depend on licensing.

    Like you I held out with my 3rd gen model until last month when I finally broke down and bought the latest model as a birthday present for myself. I'm glad I did. The 4G model is a paradigm shift from the last version. I just wish Apple could sell more as the device is awesome. Certainly it could be improved (4K and always-on Siri are the top two things I can think of), but the UI is amazing. I don't have a 4K TV right now so that may be a more important consideration for you.
    edited August 2016 lolliverwilliamlondonnolamacguy
  • Reply 20 of 40
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,866member

    ArmDog said:
    Who really knows what he was talking about.

    Still took Apple another 4 years to release the latest Apple TV and it failed to have 4K capability.
    Doesn't have 4K because Apple doesn't seem the least bit interested in future proofing any of their products.
    Give it up please.  This has been hashed over a million times.  Apple will support 4k and even 8k when the time is right, fear not.
    lolliverroundaboutnowration alwilliamlondonnolamacguybrucemc
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