According to our source, who has asked to remain strictly anonymous, the Apple HDTV looks like Apple’s current lineup of LED-backlit Cinema Displays but is “much bigger.” It has a built-in iSight camera for making free FaceTime video conference calls. And it has Siri, the iPhone 4S’s voice-activated virtual assistant.
Such an attempt could revolutionize the living room and disrupt the businesses of the television industry, much like what happened when Apple released the original iPhone back in 2007. TV — and especially cable — is widely seen as ripe for some Apple-like disruption. Rumors that Apple was planning a full frontal assault on the living room reached a fever pitch last year, when Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs revealed that Jobs claimed he had “cracked” TV.
Our source claims to have seen a working prototype of the exact device Steve Jobs was talking about when he said he had “cracked TV.”
According to our source, the Apple TV looks a lot like Apple’s current lineup of Cinema Display monitors.
“It resembled an Apple monitor, only much larger,” our source said.
The Apple HDTV makes FaceTime calls using the built-in iSight camera. The camera is sophisticated, with facial recognition and the ability to zoom into the user’s face and follow them as they walk around the room. This allows users to make video calls from the couch across the room, rather than having to stand smack in front of the TV.
In addition, calls are initiated by Siri, the iPhone 4S’s virtual assistant. “[Apple] used Siri to make a FaceTime call,” the source said.
Unfortunately, we don’t know any more about other Siri integration, or the TV’s interface in general. We also don’t know the specs, pricing or release schedule.
Our source is well-placed and has provided us with great tips in the past. However, not all of them have panned out, ostensibly due to the fact that our source tends to see products in the prototype or early development stage and Apple doesn’t always ultimately choose to release them. We hope this is one of our source’s tips about an upcoming Apple product that actually sees market.
The mockup above is a concept made by designer Dan Draper. Explaining his methodology, Dan says, “Obviously it’s very visually similar to the Thunderbolt or Cinema display, but trying to put myself in the shoes of Jony Ive I’ve made the stand shorter, wider to make the user more trusting that it can support the weight, and (see the side view) less angled. I figured users don’t care about the distance from a wall required by a monitor stand, but for a thin, expensive TV they likely want it to sit as close to the wall as possible, so the stand in the mockup allows for that, which I think the Apple industrial design group will do for the real thing.”