Apple iTV availability to escape Macworld Expo

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple Computer chief executive Steve Jobs should have more to say about the company's forthcoming iTV set-top media hub at next week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, but the launch party may have to wait a few more weeks.



Despite efforts to the contrary, the Cupertino-based company will reportedly stay a plan to push the streaming media device into the hands of consumers during the first half of the month. Instead, it's working to abate a series of quality assurance-related concerns stemming strictly from the gadget's operating system software.



People familiar with the matter say Apple now aims to begin shipping iTV (likely under a different product name) in late January or early February. They added that the additional time is necessary to fine-tune an embedded version of the Mac OS operating system that will reportedly run on the device -- a most vital component responsible for ensuring a flawless user experience on the consumer end.



Since introducing iTV last September to a crowd of invited guests at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, Apple has said little of the $299 device that should place every big-screen household television within the company's crosshairs. But even then, it kept many of the product's specifications and features to itself.



What Apple did make clear is that iTV will finally bridge the gap between the home PC and the living room, promising to deliver wireless streaming content -- such as movies, music, and photos -- from computers running iTunes to televisions located throughout the home.



Apple also said iTV will boast a comprehensive set of I/O connectors, from the computer-centric Ethernet, USB, and Wi-Fi to yesteryear's component video and today's more advanced HDMI and optical audio standards.



Following a personal preview of the device, Walt Disney chief executive and personal friend of Jobs, Robert Iger, disclosed that each unit will also include a "small hard drive" that will allow for some local content storage.



"It's wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home," Iger told analysts at a Goldman Sachs conference eight days after Jobs introduced iTV. "In a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it, and it wirelessly feeds whatever you've downloaded on iTunes, which includes videos, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library, to your television set."







It's now believed that much of that software fluidity will be achieved through the core foundations of Mac OS X, which will form the bedrock of iTV by sharing many of the same software assets that have returned the Mac to the forefront of the personal computer industry over the last five years. As AppleInsider has reported, the Mac OS appears to be the key to Apple's ensuing consumer electronics strategy, beginning with iTV and iPhone and extending far beyond.



Indeed, there has been at least one other report to suggest Apple has yet to reveal its full hand when it comes to iTV.



Following a meeting with members of the company's leadership this past November, Bear Stearns analyst Andy Neff told his clients that "Apple emphasized [the] focus of iTV [is] to improve user experience by leveraging its software expertise and implied that there may be features beyond the mere streaming of video content." During the meeting, executives hinted at additional features such as an "internal hard disk drive for storage" and "advanced user interface software," Neff wrote.



The shared software foundation between Macs and iTV also paves the way for Apple to more closely tie the streaming media device to the upcoming iLife '07 and Leopard operating system releases, of which several features remain "top secret." And it's almost a sure bet that Jobs & Co. will be up for some disclosure in that regard, as well, come next Tuesday.







In the meantime, Apple continues to work on securing new content licensing deals with major motion picture studios who are feisty for bigger royalties and more restrictive digital rights management schemes than the company currently offers. But people familiar with the negotiations believe it's only a matter of time before content from more studios starts popping up on the iTunes Store.



Thus far, only Disney has made the plunge into digital movie downloads through iTunes. The entertainment conglomerate has expressed no regrets over incremental sales of more than half a million flicks as a result, and is a clear proponent of Apple's digital media strategy.



"I found it to be pretty compelling," Iger said in September after toying with an iTV prototype. "I sat in a living room setting. It felt like a game changer to me in many respects. As a content provider, that was very exciting."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 188
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple Computer chief executive Steve Jobs should have more to say about the company's forthcoming iTV set-top media hub at next week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, but the launch party may have to wait a few more weeks.



    Despite efforts to the contrary, the Cupertino-based company will reportedly stay a plan to push the streaming media device into the hands of consumers during the first half of the month. Instead, it's working to abate a series of quality assurance-related concerns stemming strictly from the gadget's operating system software.



    People familiar with the matter say Apple now aims to begin shipping iTV (likely under a different product name) in late January or early February. They added that the additional time is necessary to fine-tune an embedded version of the Mac OS operating system that will reportedly run on the device -- a most vital component responsible for ensuring a flawless user experience on the consumer end.



    Since introducing iTV last September to a crowd of invited guests at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco, Apple has said little of the $299 device that should place every big-screen household television within the company's crosshairs. But even then, it kept many of the product's specifications and features to itself.



    What Apple did make clear is that iTV will finally bridge the gap between the home PC and the living room, promising to deliver wireless streaming content -- such as movies, music, and photos -- from computers running iTunes to televisions located throughout the home.



    Apple also said iTV will boast a comprehensive set of I/O connectors, from the computer-centric Ethernet, USB, and Wi-Fi to yesteryear's component video and today's more advanced HDMI and optical audio standards.



    Following a personal preview of the device, Walt Disney chief executive and personal friend of Jobs, Robert Iger, disclosed that each unit will also include a "small hard drive" that will allow for some local content storage.



    "It's wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home," Iger told analysts at a Goldman Sachs conference eight days after Jobs introduced iTV. "In a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it, and it wirelessly feeds whatever you've downloaded on iTunes, which includes videos, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library, to your television set."







    It's now believed that much of that software fluidity will be achieved through the core foundations of Mac OS X, which will form the bedrock of iTV by sharing many of the same software assets that have returned the Mac to the forefront of the personal computer industry over the last five years. As AppleInsider has reported, the Mac OS appears to be the key to Apple's ensuing consumer electronics strategy, beginning with iTV and iPhone and extending far beyond.



    Indeed, there has been at least one other report to suggest Apple has yet to reveal its full hand when it comes to iTV.



    Following a meeting with members of the company's leadership this past November, Bear Stearns analyst Andy Neff told his clients that "Apple emphasized [the] focus of iTV [is] to improve user experience by leveraging its software expertise and implied that there may be features beyond the mere streaming of video content. During the meeting, executives hinted at additional features such as an "internal hard disk drive for storage" and "advanced user interface software," Neff wrote.



    The shared software foundation between Macs and iTV also paves the way for Apple to more closely tie the streaming media device to the upcoming iLife '07 and Leopard operating system releases, of which several features remain "top secret." And it's almost a sure bet that Jobs & Co. will be up for some disclosure in that regard, as well, come next Tuesday.







    In the meantime, Apple continues to work on securing new content licensing deals with major motion picture studios who are feisty for bigger royalties and more restrictive digital rights management schemes than the company currently offers. But people familiar with the negotiations believe it's only a matter of time before content from more studios starts popping up on the iTunes Store.



    Thus far, only Disney has made the plunge into digital movie downloads through iTunes. The entertainment conglomerate has expressed no regrets over incremental sales of more than half a million flicks as a result, and is a clear proponent of Apple's digital media strategy.



    "I found it to be pretty compelling," Iger said in September after toying with an iTV prototype. "I sat in a living room setting. It felt like a game changer to me in many respects. As a content provider, that was very exciting."



    Holy guacamole!
  • Reply 2 of 188
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Wow, the guy whose company would sell the overpriced movies and tv shows that would be used on the device thinks its a game changer! Who'd a thunk that.
  • Reply 3 of 188
    It's amazing how the market has changed here in the UK since iTV was announced. Most TV companies here now do on-demand TV and movie downloads. Apple still hasn't even launched TV show downloads in the UK. eg. http://www.channel4.com/4od/ which is Windows only sadly.



    I suspect iTV will be a dead duck on release for Europeans.
  • Reply 4 of 188
    Assuming that because it takes HDMI and Component, I'm hoping we can see seamless Streaming HD content over a standard Wireless G network. 802.11n (which wont be cert. til 2008) seems to be already taking a scene with LinkSys, D-Link, and Asus which they advertise support for HD streaming content.





    Also wondering if we'll see a support for DivX/XviD and DivX/XviD HD.



    Edit: 200 Smiles = 2008
  • Reply 5 of 188
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quite possibly, aegisdesign, but iTV is hardware, not software. What you need to be comparing to the service you pointed at is the iTunes Store. That's the download service. iTV will be how you watch those downloaded computer-centric files on your *TV*, not on your computer monitor.



    Think AirPort Express for video instead of audio.
  • Reply 6 of 188
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post


    It's amazing how the market has changed here in the UK since iTV was announced. Most TV companies here now do on-demand TV and movie downloads. Apple still hasn't even launched TV show downloads in the UK. eg. http://www.channel4.com/4od/ which is Windows only sadly.



    I suspect iTV will be a dead duck on release for Europeans.



    It'll be a dead duck for Europeans, but that has nothing to do with what you've mentioned, except for one important thing: Lack of downloadable video content. If they don't offer content (and don't support easy additions of your own content - aka DVDs) then why buy it?
  • Reply 7 of 188
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by domerdel View Post


    Assuming that because it takes HDMI and Component, I'm hoping we can see seamless Streaming HD content over a standard Wireless G network. 802.11n (which wont be cert. til 2008) seems to be already taking a scene with LinkSys, D-Link, and Asus which they advertise support for HD streaming content.





    Also wondering if we'll see a support for DivX/XviD and DivX/XviD HD.



    If it has a hard drive, it doesn't need to 'stream' HD content real-time. Abd XVid/DiVX content could be supported, if you can install any of the Quicktime extensions that support them. But that's the bigger question, can you get to the internal OS on this thing.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kickaha


    Quite possibly, but iTV is hardware, not software. What you need to be comparing to the service you pointed at is the iTunes Store. That's the download service. iTV will be how you watch those downloaded computer-centric files on your *TV*, not on your computer monitor.



    Think AirPort Express for video instead of audio.



    Except its not going to support any video format except Apple's format, so it won't be possible to get those windows only formats to your TV.



    And iTV is not "hardware", its "hardware" and "software". It'll run OS X and, most likely, Front Page to deal with the computer/media/etc. I doubt seriously if its just going to take a video stream and just play it. There's just too much "What? But the video stream is accessible and can be pirated by everyone around! We can't let people do that!". The box has to be able to control the media, not just stream it. Otherwise, rewind/pause/etc will just have too much of a delay to it.
  • Reply 8 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post


    Quite possibly, but iTV is hardware, not software. What you need to be comparing to the service you pointed at is the iTunes Store. That's the download service. iTV will be how you watch those downloaded computer-centric files on your *TV*, not on your computer monitor.



    Think AirPort Express for video instead of audio.



    If the embedded OS X (Lite) is true, then it is as much a software solution as a hardware one. From the article, at least, that seems to be the driving force behind the product. If it weren't, it might just be another wireless media switch with HDMI output.



    I'm wondering, on that front, which version of HDMI it will be using.



    It's interesting to note that there are some rather expensive products, such as receivers that are new, that still have HDMI 1.1, even though it has been superceeded by 1.2 almost a year ago. Now that 1.3 is out, and has a few new products using it, it will be interesting to see where Apple will go here.



    This isn't a trivial question either. There is a big difference between the various versions, with the new 1.3 offering much better functionality and quality possibilities. I'm assuming DRM will be included, otherwise no hi def viewing will be possible once the studios insist on its being used.
  • Reply 9 of 188
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Louzer View Post


    Except its not going to support any video format except Apple's format, so it won't be possible to get those windows only formats to your TV.



    Where 'Apple's format' is to be read as 'anything QuickTime plays, including a myriad of Windows codecs if you have the plugins, ala Perian'. If Apple is going to go to all the trouble to write a 'embedded OS X', and have QuickTime running on it (and they'd be insane not to), then you can be pretty damned certain that it'll have the same plugin architecture.



    The only major thing I wouldn't expect it to play would be DRM'd WMV files for which there is *no* Mac codec.



    Why, what were you expecting? MPEG-4 + FairPlay and that's all? Talk about a product killer.



    Quote:

    And iTV is not "hardware", its "hardware" and "software". It'll run OS X and, most likely, Front Page to deal with the computer/media/etc. I doubt seriously if its just going to take a video stream and just play it. There's just too much "What? But the video stream is accessible and can be pirated by everyone around! We can't let people do that!". The box has to be able to control the media, not just stream it. Otherwise, rewind/pause/etc will just have too much of a delay to it.



    Well yes, it will have firmware/software. Otherwise it's just a pretty doorstop, no? Comparing it to a download/streaming service as aegisdesign did, however, is just the wrong comparison to be making. The hardware is the critical part, and it has more in common with APExp than it does with downloading a movie to your PC. The rest is engineering details.
  • Reply 10 of 188
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wilco View Post


    Holy guacamole!



    Is there really a need to quote the entire article?
  • Reply 11 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Louzer View Post


    It'll be a dead duck for Europeans, but that has nothing to do with what you've mentioned, except for one important thing: Lack of downloadable video content. If they don't offer content (and don't support easy additions of your own content - aka DVDs) then why buy it?



    Apple has the same problems getting licenses around the world for video and movie content that it had getting audio content.



    I'm hoping that there will be an announcement along those lines at MW as well as everything else.



    Other companies are far more wary of Apple now than they were before, as they see Apple's sales percentage slowly rise everywhere they open the iTunes store. We see that here. As long as the movie companies can get over the demands of WalMart, Target, and others, we should see more content here, as, hopefully, overseas. Now that the holiday sales period is over, we may see some movement. I believe that Fox has just made a move.
  • Reply 12 of 188
    Edit: this didn't quote properly, retracting post.
  • Reply 13 of 188
    kickahakickaha Posts: 8,760member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    If the embedded OS X (Lite) is true, then it is as much a software solution as a hardware one. From the article, at least, that seems to be the driving force behind the product. If it weren't, it might just be another wireless media switch with HDMI output.



    Oh not you too...



    Look, just read the post I made as "it's hardware (with the accompanying firmware and software to make it a standalone playback unit), not software (as in a download-only service to the existing PC you have on your desk)", okay? Sheesh.



    Quote:

    I'm wondering, on that front, which version of HDMI it will be using.



    It's interesting to note that there are some rather expensive products, such as receivers that are new, that still have HDMI 1.1, even though it has been superceeded by 1.2 almost a year ago. Now that 1.3 is out, and has a few new products using it, it will be interesting to see where Apple will go here.



    This isn't a trivial question either. There is a big difference between the various versions, with the new 1.3 offering much better functionality and quality possibilities. I'm assuming DRM will be included, otherwise no hi def viewing will be possible once the studios insist on its being used.



    I just love standards - especially ones that change every few months.
  • Reply 14 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Louzer View Post


    If it has a hard drive, it doesn't need to 'stream' HD content real-time. Abd XVid/DiVX content could be supported, if you can install any of the Quicktime extensions that support them. But that's the bigger question, can you get to the internal OS on this thing.



    It depends on how it would work. The HD, if any, couldn't be large enough to hold an entire collection of movies and videos.



    Perhaps it would work the way downloading works now, assuming that the HD, if any, is used as an intermeriate storage device. The download would start, once enough is there for uninterupped play, the play would start.



    Otherwise how would it work? You can't ask for a movie on your HD to download to the device completely before it plays. That would take too much time if it were to be done wirelessly. People want almost immediate response.



    Quote:

    Except its not going to support any video format except Apple's format, so it won't be possible to get those windows only formats to your TV.



    We don't know that. I would think it would allow unprotected content to flow as well. And what about hi def content? Someone might want to put the movie into the player in their computer and stream it. If the device has HDCP, and I can't imagine it doesn't, then that should work as well.



    Quote:

    And iTV is not "hardware", its "hardware" and "software". It'll run OS X and, most likely, Front Page to deal with the computer/media/etc. I doubt seriously if its just going to take a video stream and just play it. There's just too much "What? But the video stream is accessible and can be pirated by everyone around! We can't let people do that!". The box has to be able to control the media, not just stream it. Otherwise, rewind/pause/etc will just have too much of a delay to it.



    Something like that, I hope!
  • Reply 15 of 188
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    If the embedded OS X (Lite) is true, then it is as much a software solution as a hardware one. From the article, at least, that seems to be the driving force behind the product. If it weren't, it might just be another wireless media switch with HDMI output.



    I'm wondering, on that front, which version of HDMI it will be using.



    It's interesting to note that there are some rather expensive products, such as receivers that are new, that still have HDMI 1.1, even though it has been superceeded by 1.2 almost a year ago. Now that 1.3 is out, and has a few new products using it, it will be interesting to see where Apple will go here.



    This isn't a trivial question either. There is a big difference between the various versions, with the new 1.3 offering much better functionality and quality possibilities. I'm assuming DRM will be included, otherwise no hi def viewing will be possible once the studios insist on its being used.



    I don't have a TV so I would love to pair the "iTV" with one of the rumored Apple Cinema Displays with a direct HDMI connection.



    I'm very excited about Mac OS X Lite.

    The iTV could become the first Mac that many people purchase.

    It could become another gateway drug to future Mac purchases.

    The iTV could further enhance the halo effect.



    I'm also excited about other future products that could use MOSX Lite...the usual suspects
  • Reply 16 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post


    Oh not you too...



    I just pointed out that unlike the Airport, which is a true hardware device, the article points out that this isn't. It doesn't have to be separately downloadable to be so. One might as well say that a computer is just a hardware solution because the OS comes with it.



    It's also possible that the embedded OS (if any) will itself be upgradable as uses and standards evolve.



    Quote:

    Look, just read the post I made as "it's hardware (with the accompanying firmware and software to make it a standalone playback unit), not software (as in a download-only service to the existing PC you have on your desk)", okay? Sheesh.



    I always read a post before I respond to it.



    Quote:

    but iTV is hardware, not software...



    Think AirPort Express for video instead of audio.



    I was responding to those. The first is partly correct, and the second, if we believe the article, is clearly wrong.



    Quote:

    I just love standards - especially ones that change every few months.



    If they didn't evolve according to need, they wouldn't be useful at all.
  • Reply 17 of 188
    I really want to buy an iTV, but have absolutely NO good reason to do so. I wonder if it can be hacked. . . I imagine it either runs an ARM or a Geode of some sort, which means that it should be quite hackable.



    Also, for the record, there aren't many hardware products these days that don't include some level of software. You'd be hard pressed to even find a tube amp that doesn't have some microcontroller on it doing something, no matter how mundane. This is why software development is a very secure career path.
  • Reply 18 of 188
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    It depends on how it would work. The HD, if any, couldn't be large enough to hold an entire collection of movies and videos...



    I believe the USB port on the back of iTV is for attaching external storage.

    I have a strong feeling that Apple is going to start selling external hard drives soon.

    Perhaps even a small RAID unit designed for the SOHO market.



    Time Machine could back up files to this networked RAID which is optionally attached to an iTV.

    iTV could also access the contents of the RAID unit for always available content even when no laptops are home.
  • Reply 19 of 188
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 30,642member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splinemodel View Post


    I really want to buy an iTV, but have absolutely NO good reason to do so. I wonder if it can be hacked. . . I imagine it either runs an ARM or a Geode of some sort, which means that it should be quite hackable.



    I'm pretty much in the same catagory. I haven't bought an iPod yet because I haven't found a real use for it, though I'm still hoping.



    Quote:

    Also, for the record, there aren't many hardware products these days that don't include some level of software. You'd be hard pressed to even find a tube amp that doesn't have some microcontroller on it doing something, no matter how mundane. This is why software development is a very secure career path.



    Yeah, there are some hybrids out there.
  • Reply 20 of 188
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    Is there really a need to quote the entire article?



    Yes there is.
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