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Steve Jobs closeup

Steve Jobs Was Planning To Revolutionize the TV Set Before He Died

Unfortunately, we still haven't see it
Apple TV
September 1, 2016

According to a new report from Recode, Steve Jobs was focused on changing another industry right before he died: The television. No, not like the Apple TV we have today, but instead, an actual TV set.

“I think we figured out a way to do it, and it’s going to be fantastic,” Jobs told Mossberg, and invited him to see what he was working on.

But Jobs died less than two months later. And to this date Apple has only taken tentative steps into the TV industry.

First off, how insane is it that Jobs told Walt Mossberg they were working on television, and he didn’t catch the first flight out there to see what it was? I mean, we’re talking about the legendary Steve Jobs here. The guy who changed computers, music, the mobile phone, and the tablet. Wow, just wow.

Second, I still think Apple wants to sell a television in the future. The problem, of course, is getting everything set in place so that it makes sense.

Here’s what I wrote about a year ago:

If Apple were to build a television, one of its main goals would be to do exactly what they did with the iMac. Provide a great picture, with great sound and networking, in a simple, beautiful and cluster-free package.

I believe this new Apple TV box is step one. Step two will be the streaming service. Once those two elements are in place and working well, that’s when step three comes in: the real Apple TV.

Unfortunately, we’ve heard a ton of information since suggesting that Apple is having a hard time getting the streaming deals it wants. That said, Apple seems to be taking steps to make the Apple TV more and more attractive. For example, with the next version of tvOS, set to debut this fall, Apple will have a feature called “Single Sign-On” which will allow existing cable subscribers to log in once and have all the available Apple TV apps presented to them.

Current Apple TV

Current Apple TV

Still, I look at televisions today and can’t help but be somewhat disappointed. They’re still these super dumb screens that I believe can do so much more. Why not integrate wireless in them? Why not have it be a home hub of sorts? Why not offer something like “True Tone” that would change refresh rates and colors based on what you’re watching. Just like the smartphone and tablet, the television can be smart in both hardware and software. Jobs clearly saw it that way and quite frankly so do I.

Seeing these kinds of articles makes me sad because I believe that if he were still with us today, we might have seen an Apple television.

Maybe it’ll still happen one day, who knows. For now, though, I’ll just have to enjoy the little black box Apple sells along with the apps it shows on my dumb screen.