Apple’s “hobby,” the Apple TV, is in store for some changes, and possibly some big changes. Unnamed sources told The New York Times that the company is working on new interface for the set-top box, as well as other changes.
The report makes it clear that The Times’ sources are adamant that a major change in the Apple TV is in the works, but the details and specifics of that change seem to be anyone’s guess. That said, the nature of the information suggests this may be one of Apple’s “controlled leaks,” as explained by our own John Martellaro earlier this year.
One of those unclear items is whether or not the new Apple TV will run on iOS or Mac OS X. Another is whether or not a new interface will come with a new hardware design and/or form factor.
However, the newspaper cited a former Apple employee who said that “some of the more advanced work” being done on the Apple TV was being handled outside the Apple TV group itself, but rather by another, unspecified design group at Apple. His (or her) interpretation was that this could signify an entirely new product being introduced as the Apple TV.
Another source said that Apple has been hiring user interface engineers and designers with experience in the broadcast TV market. Hopefully that means TiVo, as the reality is that it’s the horrid interface of every other single settop box on the planet that makes many Apple fans yearn for a more capable Apple-branded device to replace their cable boxes and DVRs.
Apple has long been rumored to be interested in delivering more TV services through iTunes, with one rumor in 2009 saying that Apple was working on a TV subscription service that could effectively replace cable TV in some homes. At the same time, it is mostly a given that Apple is working to turn iTunes media storage and playback into a cloud-based service that would be accessible across all of your Apple products. (BoyGeniusReports fed fuel to this rumor on Thursday).
Whether or not these various services are tied to The Times’s leak of a new Apple TV remains to be seen, but there is certainly a convergence line to be seen in these rumors and leaks. Don’t forget, too, that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is reportedly attending this year’s Sun Valley media retreat, an event attended by technology and media moguls (and politicians and sometimes LeBron James), this summer. That also fits nicely into this new round of Apple gossip.