Become a MacRumors Supporter for $50/year with no ads, ability to filter front page stories, and private forums.

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
64,408
32,218



When Steve Jobs stepped down from his position as Apple CEO on August 24, 2011 due to illness, he didn't intend to leave the company. Instead Jobs told Recode's Walt Mossberg he planned work on an Apple-branded television set to re-invent the television industry.

Recode today shared a full recounting of Jobs' conversation with Mossberg, which took place on the same day that Jobs left the company. The two discussed his plans for television experience that would be "fantastic."

appletvappstore.jpg
"He was going to still be involved. Their press release made some vague nod toward that. But he wanted me to know that he was going to be involved in big strategic things, and also that he was going to reserve one particular thing for himself."

"I said, 'well, what's that?'"

"He said, 'Well, it's television ... I think we figured out a way to do it, and it's going to be fantastic. I want you to come out, in a few months, and I want to show it to you.'"
According to Mossberg, Jobs didn't share in-depth information about his television ambitions, offering no details on hardware or programming, but Mossberg believes he was talking about a full integrated television set and software experience.

Mossberg says Jobs was "really excited" about the project and he came away with the sense that Jobs was going to "reinvent the whole TV set" at the conclusion of the conversation. Unfortunately, Jobs didn't get a chance to further pursue the television project because he passed away from pancreatic cancer on October 5, 2011, less than two months after stepping down as CEO.

Jobs famously made similar statements on TV to biographer Walter Isaacson. He told Isaacson that he wanted to develop an integrated television set that's "completely easy to use," syncing seamlessly with iCloud. "It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine," Jobs is quoted as saying. "I finally cracked it."

Since Jobs' death, Apple has tried to gain a stronger foothold in the television industry, but it has failed time and time again to establish the deals that would allow it to create the full integrated television programming experience and television set that Jobs envisioned. Most recently, Apple wanted to create a streaming television bundle of approximately 25 channels at a cost of $30 to $40 per month, but negotiations fell through.

There were also rumors for many years suggesting Apple was pursuing a full television set, but those plans are said to have been shelved because Apple couldn't find untapped features that would give it a clear edge in the television market.

Instead, Apple has focused on its Apple TV set-top box, introducing a new version with a full App Store and Siri support last October. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said several times that "the future of TV is apps," with Apple working to position the Apple TV as a platform that allows other content providers to distribute their content instead of offering a streaming service itself.

Article Link: Steve Jobs Planned to Work on Apple TV Set After Stepping Down as Apple CEO
 
  • Like
Reactions: 997440

thekeyring

macrumors 68040
Jan 5, 2012
3,493
2,154
London
It'd be interesting to know if it was simply a set running tvOS with the current remote + Siri functions.

I know a lot of people weren't that impressed, but imagine the product built directly into a TV set in 2011/early 2012.

I noticed recently that not many people are happy with broadcast TV. My in laws regularly go through the TV Guide on their Sky+ box and record things. Then whenever they want to watch TV they have a load of shows 'on demand'. You really want the TV to take care of the first part for you.

Fair enough I need to pay for Comedy Central, but give me everything on demand. Then I can't fast forward the ads, so they'll be worth more. Give it to me to view on my iPhone and Mac while we're at it. Having things broadcast seems like a really odd way to do things.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ktecac and Mactendo

djcerla

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2015
2,312
12,005
Italy
Hardware-wise a possible way to do it is to build an Apple TV set top box that attaches to the back of the body of the screen via magnets; the same set top box that would work standalone could provide the brains for the TV set, and be upgraded on the cheap as technology improves.

The body could contain additional SSD space, other than the panel itself.
 
  • Like
Reactions: xnu

Lapidus

macrumors regular
May 14, 2012
202
174
I embrace the comments that I'm silly.. But sometimes I really get sad that he's not here anymore. I really believe it would've made a huge difference. And boy, waiting for a keynote he's about to present was so exciting every single time :) Well..
 

azentropy

macrumors 601
Jul 19, 2002
4,066
5,497
Surprise
I still think TV would be a much better product category than Watch. Although I don't think an Apple branded TV is the answer. Don't think you are going to convince people to replace TV's every 2-3 years. But a relatively inexpensive set top box would be a much bigger reoccurring market. Just wish the AppleTV did more. While a nice product it really is what they should have released 3-4 years ago. There is so much more it should be able to do by now.
 

zorinlynx

macrumors G3
May 31, 2007
8,264
18,138
Florida, USA
Apple doesn't need to make a TV. There's plenty of companies in this market. Competition is fierce, and it's doubtful Apple will succeed with the profit margins they want and expect from their other product lines.

They should just focus on the Apple TV. The ATV4 is a wonderful little box. I'm absolutely in love with mine and use it all the time! I even take it on trips with me to use in hotel rooms because it's so small and portable.
 

Cineplex

macrumors 6502a
Jan 1, 2016
741
2,012
Steve would have made the deals and got everyone to participate. The music business didn't go along with Apple because it was Apple, Jobs' salesman ship and passion sold it in the end. Tim Cook just doesn't have the magic and that is why Apple is not anything special right now. Without Steve they are just riding the success train and at some point, it will run out of track.
 

MH01

Suspended
Feb 11, 2008
12,107
9,297
I really like my ATV4, it does the job.

Though adding an App Store to ATV3 is just lazy. Im confident Steve had a better solution he was working on, that would have turned the ATV into a mainstream product and not a "hobby" category . Guess we will never know as the ATV continues to be a minor product for apple.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,539
25,302
A television, hardware wise, is basically a slab of screen that you watch stuff on.

But in terms of software, it needs three main things to put itself above the competition: an intuitive UI, as much content as you can imagine, and consolidation of content in one place. I don't think paying 5 different providers for content, which you just happen to access on one device, was Steve's vision.

Not to say it would have been any different had Steve still been here. After all, it's the providers calling the shots with who gets what, and how much people pay for that. Having the perfect vision doesn't always mean it can be achieved if everybody plays hardball.
 

cmichaelb

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2008
2,280
740
Italy
Gene Munster must feel somewhat vindicated LOL.


I still think TV would be a much better product category than Watch. Although I don't think an Apple branded TV is the answer. Don't think you are going to convince people to replace TV's every 2-3 years. But a relatively inexpensive set top box would be a much bigger reoccurring market. Just wish the AppleTV did more. While a nice product it really is what they should have released 3-4 years ago. There is so much more it should be able to do by now.
Maybe the current Apple tv is a step in that direction, and they are still perfecting their model. It makes mention of iCloud, maybe they are still building out the behind the scenes infrastructure. Who knows?
 

_mdavenport

macrumors 6502
Aug 23, 2015
250
493
California, USA
Very interesting to think about what the tv would be had Jobs not passed. I think I remember reading somewhere that he didn't want to get into the television set market because the "margins suck," so maybe the set-top box would still have been the way to go. I'd imagine at the very least that the 4th-gen tv would have launched with some of the features that are yet to come out in the next version of tvOS (universal log-in, etc.), and that the Siri Remote iPhone app would have been available at launch. And of course, all of the features now present would have somehow been 10X more dazzling if Steve had presented them at the keynote :)
 

cmichaelb

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2008
2,280
740
Italy
Hardware-wise a possible way to do it is to build an Apple TV set top box that attaches to the back of the body of the screen via magnets; the same set top box that would work standalone could provide the brains for the TV set, and be upgraded on the cheap as technology improves.

The body could contain additional SSD space, other than the panel itself.

My Samsung tv has an upgradable 'connect box' as they call it. Very much like what you are suggesting.
[doublepost=1472680253][/doublepost]
Very interesting to think about what the tv would be had Jobs not passed. I think I remember reading somewhere that he didn't want to get into the television set market because the "margins suck," so maybe the set-top box would still have been the way to go. I'd imagine at the very least that the 4th-gen tv would have launched with some of the features that are yet to come out in the next version of tvOS (universal log-in, etc.), and that the Siri Remote iPhone app would have been available at launch. And of course, all of the features now present would have somehow been 10X more dazzling if Steve had presented them at the keynote :)

I imagine the set top box would have HDMI pass through and the apple software would overlay the screen and become your guide, tuner,, dvr control etc..
 
  • Like
Reactions: rjohnstone

_mdavenport

macrumors 6502
Aug 23, 2015
250
493
California, USA
Not to say it would have been any different had Steve still been here. After all, it's the providers calling the shots with who gets what, and how much people pay for that. Having the perfect vision doesn't always mean it can be achieved if everybody plays hardball.

Perhaps Jobs would have entertained us all with an open letter entitled, "Thoughts About TV Content" in the wake of the failed negotiations :)
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.