Get ready for the next wave of television. Following news this week that Intel will be coming out with an Internet-based TV service and box this year, comes word that Apple plans to release a software development kit (SDK) in March for a new interactive TV set.
That report comes from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek, citing unnamed sources. Misek has said that a new Apple HDTV could be released in early fall, with a price tag around $1,500 and a screen in the 42-inch to 55-inch range. In a note to investors, he also said the technology giant "is likely to largely rely on leveraging content via partnerships with existing pay-TV operators."
This is not the first, nor the hundredth, report of an impending release of a new kind of TV from Apple, but rumors have never before placed the release of a key component within a matter of weeks.
'Backwards in Time'
The late Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder and CEO, told his biographer that the company had finally "cracked" the problem of creating an integrated Apple TV product, and Jobs said in late 2010 that he wanted to add an app store for a new TV platform.
Current Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has also indicated that his company is looking beyond its Apple TV box, a minor product that Jobs once described as "a hobby." In an interview with NBC News' Brian Williams late last year, Cook said that when he turns on the TV at home, "I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years." He added that TV "is an area of intense interest," and noted that he couldn't say more.
Additionally, shares in Germany high-end TV maker Loewe have jumped following reports that Apple is preparing a bid to buy that company.
Apple has not launched a completely new line of products in nearly three years. Recently, there have been a slew of reports that it was hard at work on an Apple watch.
New Intel Platform
The release of an SDK would make sense, since the company has led the revolution of device makers creating platforms for apps, with at least some apps ready to go when the new device is released. Interestingly, the "hobby" Apple TV box has not been opened up yet in a broad way to third-party developers.
Some observers have speculated that the current Apple TV has remained tightly controlled as Apple continues in its efforts to find a way to bring in content from networks and film studios. With TV in particular, this line of thinking goes, thousands of small apps on the existing Apple TV box would result in a very different sense of the product if the big content owners were first on board.
While Apple generally follows it own timeline, the news that Intel plans a new set-top box for an Internet-based TV service could well mean that the chip-maker is also creating a platform for a new ecosystem of apps. Google, Samsung and Sony are also steadily updating their TV products, increasingly endowing them with the capabilities of an interactive computing platform.