Steve Jobs on an Apple Television: No Need for 'All These Complicated Remote Controls'

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The New York Times publishes an interview with Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson which among other topics may touch a bit further on Apple's plans for a connected television set.

Isaacson had quoted Jobs in his biography as saying that he had "finally cracked" the difficulties in building an Apple television set, describing "the simplest user interface you could imagine" and iCloud integration for content. In the wake of the book's release, it was reported that Apple is indeed working on a Siri-enabled TV, an innovation that would fit with Jobs' description of his rethinking of the television.

The new interview with Isaacson suggests that input methods were indeed one of Jobs' primary concerns regarding a TV set, lending credence to the idea of a Siri-enabled device.
I didn't go into details about these products in the book because it was implicitly Apple's creations and it's not fair to the company to reveal these details. But, he did talk about the television. He told me he'd "licked it" and once said, "There's no reason you should have all these complicated remote controls."
Essentially reiterating comments shared last week at a Fortune meeting, Isaacson notes that beyond television, Jobs was also working on textbooks and photography as his next areas of focus, but it remains to be seen whether and how Apple pursues those areas of exploration without Jobs at the helm.

Article Link: Steve Jobs on an Apple Television: No Need for 'All These Complicated Remote Controls'
 

Spectrum Abuser

macrumors 65816
Aug 27, 2011
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The downside with a Siri-enabled TV set is that it would need to be smart enough to realize when you are just talking while the show is going so that it will not do any unexpected commands. I'd also imagine that you'd need a quiet room in order to speak to the TV set. Even with dual-noise canceling microphones it would still be strained.
 

KPOM

macrumors P6
Oct 23, 2010
15,298
3,667
It's about time. Remote controls for TVs are very complicated, and there are so many of them (TV, DVR, cable, etc.).
 

waloshin

macrumors 68040
Oct 9, 2008
3,183
69
What's complicated with pressing a power button the changing the channel or the volume. Talking to your t.v is dumb. "Change channel" "The increase volume" "The go to channel 34". What a joke.

Besides to the person above there would be a remote with athe button to let siri know when to listen.
 

Gemütlichkeit

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2010
1,276
0
It's great reading about the universal remote that Woz was coming up with and having Steve block it's design.

I can see how present day apple could do a whole redesign of the remote.
 

joneill55

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2007
396
81
The downside with a Siri-enabled TV set is that it would need to be smart enough to realize when you are just talking while the show is going so that it will not do any unexpected commands. I'd also imagine that you'd need a quiet room in order to speak to the TV set. Even with dual-noise canceling microphones it would still be strained.

Somehow I gotta believe they've figured this one out :)
 

Eidorian

macrumors Penryn
Mar 23, 2005
29,085
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Indianapolis
It's about time. Remote controls for TVs are very complicated, and there are so many of them (TV, DVR, cable, etc.).
What's complicated with pressing a power button the changing the channel or the volume. Talking to your t.v is dumb. "Change channel" "The increase volume" "The go to channel 434". What a joke.
The number is the problem and not the complexity.
 

Peace

Cancelled
Apr 1, 2005
19,546
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Space The Only Frontier
Steve had some great ideas but a Siri activated TV ? Unless the interplay took place between the consumer and an iPhone there would be way too much human chatter to use it with a TV.

I just can't visualize someone telling everybody else to shut up then turning down the TV just to tell Siri to change a channel.
 

furqan8421

macrumors regular
Jun 27, 2007
109
97
if you prefer a different interface thats perfectly fine but to complain about owning multiple remotes at this point doesn't make sense

plenty of universal remotes exist and are very easy to setup. not saying this would or wouldn't do well, but pointing out that complaining about owning multiple remotes doesn't make sense for someone posting on a tech forum.
 

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,297
23
Why not just current Apple TV box with more apps and 1080P?

Optionally control with iOS.
 

c3pa

macrumors member
Sep 6, 2011
50
204
Can HE just be revived, or cloned, or something?

Guys like JOBS should live 200 or 300 years at least.

THAT would be a game changer. Revolution every couple of years. Joy in products, technology dreams, great - INSANELY GREAT stuff.

Now imagine if we're left with only GATES and BALMERS.
 

drewyboy

macrumors 65816
Jan 27, 2005
1,360
1,423
Spectrum Abuser said:
The downside with a Siri-enabled TV set is that it would need to be smart enough to realize when you are just talking while the show is going so that it will not do any unexpected commands. I'd also imagine that you'd need a quiet room in order to speak to the TV set. Even with dual-noise canceling microphones it would still be strained.
Somehow I gotta believe they've figured this one out :)
They have. They're no point in the "dual-noise canceling microphones". Because it's processing the audio output and looking for input, the generated output audio signal is compared internally against the input so it knows exactly what to cancel out. There still will be a need for noise canceling microphone for ambient noises, but really, it's not that difficult since they are controlling the audio output.
 

KnightWRX

macrumors Pentium
Jan 28, 2009
15,046
4
Quebec, Canada
How does an Apple Siri based TV solve the "multiple" remote problem ? My TV only has 1 remote, the others are for the different boxes that hook up to the TV...
 

longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
2,830
1,348
Falls Church, VA
I actually just talked about the challenges Apple will face when creating an Apple Television, including the remote issue, on TechPerfect.

In essence, my guess is that Apple will leverage AirPlay and have all your other devices in the living room essentially be slave to the TV, with the TV sending commands (like volume, etc) via AirPlay. I kinda doubt Apple will get into the macro remote business like Logitech. EDIT: Dagless has a good point below in that the same functionality can also be accomplished by HDMI Control.

This doesn't preclude a Siri-enabled TV... In a Siri-enabled Apple TV, I can almost imagine the remote consisting of only one button: a button that activates Siri just like on iPhone 4S. It would also have a microphone. Alternatively, you could have your traditional Apple remote with still a minimal number of buttons, and just hold down the play/pause button to bring up Siri.
 
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drewyboy

macrumors 65816
Jan 27, 2005
1,360
1,423
Why not just current Apple TV box with more apps and 1080P?

Optionally control with iOS.
Because that just gives you the same crap, hardly even evolutionary. I'm sorry but you don't get it. Jobs was about large evolutionary steps if not revolutionary. You seem to want to keep status-quo.

----------

How does an Apple Siri based TV solve the "multiple" remote problem ? My TV only has 1 remote, the others are for the different boxes that hook up to the TV...
WHole point of this tv is to remove all said "different boxes". Just stop and think about it. A TV that would NEVER need anything attached other than ethernet.
 

vartanarsen

macrumors 6502a
Jul 2, 2010
666
252
Cable Companies are like Wireless Providers...no matter how hard Steve tried to bypass them, there is no way around going through these "dump pipes" as it were.
 

KnightWRX

macrumors Pentium
Jan 28, 2009
15,046
4
Quebec, Canada
WHole point of this tv is to remove all said "different boxes". Just stop and think about it. A TV that would NEVER need anything attached other than ethernet.
So Apple is planning on giving me Blu-ray, PS3, Xbox360, a complete 7.1 DTS sound receiver with speaker hook-ups and HDMI switching in their Apple TV set ?

Talk about a nightmare... having to upgrade this 3000$ TV each time I wanted to upgrade one part of the setup.
 

Hastings101

macrumors 68020
Jun 22, 2010
2,159
859
K
I must be one of the only people that thinks talking to my TV would be a lot more work than just pushing a button on a remote control lol
 

ProVideo

macrumors 6502
Jun 28, 2011
427
157
The downside with a Siri-enabled TV set is that it would need to be smart enough to realize when you are just talking while the show is going so that it will not do any unexpected commands. I'd also imagine that you'd need a quiet room in order to speak to the TV set. Even with dual-noise canceling microphones it would still be strained.
I would imagine it would still have a remote control with a few buttons and a microphone for voice commands (like the Wii-mote), or use your iphone or ipad to interact with it. He said "complicated remote controls" so I suspect the need for something to be separate from the TV is still apparent.

In the book, Jobs calls the head of Comcast to tell him the Comcast box is a piece of ****. I would guess Steve saw the need for an easier way to program DVRs and such, instead of just saying "Change channel to 55". It would be a lot better to say "Set recording for 5pm on channel 55" then to have to go through the piece of **** menu on the Motorola box that Comcast currently has. Or tell the TV "I want to watch Breaking Bad" instead of pressing the OnDemand button and going through the menus which takes about a minute of time or more.
 

KnightWRX

macrumors Pentium
Jan 28, 2009
15,046
4
Quebec, Canada
I must be one of the only people that thinks talking to my TV would be a lot more work than just pushing a button on a remote control lol
Considering you'd have to first push a button the remote and then speak into the microphone, I tend to agree.

Siri is not it. Nor is the "single remote" which is not a problem TVs have.
 

0098386

Suspended
Jan 18, 2005
21,574
2,909
I hope this isn't going to be plagued by Apple's simplicity. It's a blessing and a curse.

When it comes to games and media I want to optimise it to my own tastes. I want to be able to adjust the rear surround speakers if need be, change the tone, record something on Sky TV and watch something on Freeview.

Didn't Steve know about HDMI Control? My equipment can talk to each other so I need to use one controller for day-to-day use. It even controls my PS3 (works in-game too).
 
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