I don’t have any inside sources of information on the inner workings at Apple. I get most of my information from a handful of well-regarded tech blogs. (See the link list at the bottom of this post.) In fact, I would probably be doing the world a service by deleting my blog entirely and setting up my URL as a redirect to daringfireball.net.
But my lack of well-sourced information doesn’t preclude the formation of opinions, based on what I’ve heard. On rare occasions, those opinions might even merit sharing with others, and today I think may be one of those times.
The topic is an Apple-branded television, and whether or not such is coming in 2012, or ever. I was inspired to reflect on this after today’s post on the topic on Revert to Saved.
Past performance as an indicator of… something
I have a poor record regarding Apple rumors. I insisted in early 2007 that Apple couldn’t possibly be developing a smartphone. (You won’t find any traces of that insistence here, however, as I did have the good sense not to publish anything about it.)
Most smartphones then on the market sucked. I couldn’t envision what an Apple phone might look like, especially one with a touch screen and only one button. Much like The Homer, my mental abomination would likely resemble a cross between a Nintendo DS and the Cinco-Fone. Besides, it would have to be called the iPhone, and Cisco already owned that name. We know how that turned out.
In late 2009 and early 2010, I couldn’t imagine Apple releasing a tablet. (And that time around I had plenty of stupid stuff to say on the matter.) Every tablet I’d seen before that sucked, and I was certain there would be issues with screen resolution.
We know how that turned out.
Now, an Apple-branded TV, or, as the rumors would have it, iTV. Most TVs today suck, and there are few pieces of technology known to humanity more craptastic than a cable TV set-top box. There are open questions pertaining to the potential device’s screen dimensions. (Today’s flood of rumors says they’ll come in three sizes.) And, of course, ITV is already the name of a British network.
Given the eerie similarity of this scenario to the seemingly insurmountable challenges Apple previously faced with the iPhone and iPad, therefore, I am forced to deduce that Apple must have a TV in development, and… we know what it will be called.
Don’t listen to me
Where Apple excels is not in creating whole new technologies, but rather in combining existing and emerging technologies in novel ways, and optimizing the hell out of their performance. And they integrate their hardware seamlessly with software platforms that deliver content and experiences to create a cohesive and engaging ecosystem that no one else can match.
So, my inability to predict or even imagine what Apple has in the pipeline is partly a failure of imagination, and partly a lack of knowledge of the kinds of hardware and software engineering that Apple is keeping under wraps, guarded with jealous secrecy unmatched by any business or government agency on Earth.
So what, indeed? What is Apple doing, and more importantly, will it be awesome? Scratch that: How awesome will it be?
But the biggest question I actually have right now is: How much of this (hypothetical) iTV was invented before Steve Jobs died, and how much of Apple’s mojo did he take with him? In the coming months we should have an answer. This will be Apple’s first major product introduction of the post-Jobs era, and it will tell us how well that obsessive attention to detail has truly been woven into the “Apple DNA.”
As promised, here’s a list of some of my favorite tech blogs/podcasts at the moment. I subscribe to their RSS feeds and check them daily.
- 5by5 (Dan Benjamin et al)
- Ars Technica
- Daring Fireball (John Gruber)
- GigaOM (Om Malik et al)
- Marco Arment
- Matt Gemmell
- parislemon. (M.G. Siegler)
- rc3.org (Rafe Colburn)
- Revert to Saved (Craig Grannell)
- Shawn Blanc
- SplatF (Dan Frommer)
- The Verge
I cranked out the bulk of this post in the Notes app on my iPhone while standing in a hallway, waiting for SLP. I had the idea in my head and I wanted to get it written before I lost it. I’m not sure what that really says about anything, but I thought it was worth noting.