Steve Jobs planned revolutionary TV sets

Steve Jobs wanted to create a fully integrated line of Apple TV sets with “the simplest user interface you can imagine.”

According to a report in The Washington Post reviewing Walter Isaacson’s new biography of the Apple co-founder, Jobs saw the company’s current Apple TV-branded set-top boxes as merely the starting point for conquering the home theater space.

The Post quoted from the book:

“He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant … ‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ [Jobs] told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”

There have been rumors that Apple might launch a line of TVs, and this description is certainly intriguing. Manufacturers have been attempting for decades to improve the way users interact with TV content. But remotes and set-top boxes have only managed to get more complicated (though Tivo, at least, made strides toward making the process more user friendly and intuitive). Apple revolutionized personal computing when it popularized the computer mouse in 1984 (wrote one critic at the time: “The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse’. There is no evidence that people want to use these things”). What would an Apple-style TV remote look like?

Issacson, btw, will be interviewed on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday.


Comments (131 total) Add your comment
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  • superjoe

    When I clicked the link I thought it was going to be about TV show sets where they film.

    • HIV

      We’ve come to claim you, Steve.

      • Steve’s Ghost

        Darn, I wish I could have lived long enough to make TV proprietary so only Apple users could watch it. Don’t have an Apple? No TV for you morons.

      • HIV

        Ahhh. So the accounts of you not being such a nice guy were true.

      • James

        Not a new TV set. Just the same TV just more expensive. White. And with an Apple on it and a remote that looks like a french tickler.

      • Steve’s Ghost

        I just got my iDeath in the mail, and I did a vlog of me opening the package. These instructions read like Chinese though. I guess it must be hell.

      • Michael Jackson

        Hi Steve, let’s do lunch tomorrow.

      • Amy Winehouse

        Will there be plenty of alcohol? I sure hope so.

      • Ronald Reagan

        Can someone tell me how Nancy is doing?

      • Zha Zha

        I got my legs back ronny.. come back to bed darling

      • Acaseofgeo

        OMG OMG. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. You are ALL wicked!!!!

      • Hmmm

        Zsa Zsa’s still alive.

        Way to ruin the consistency of what could have been a brilliant thread.

      • Corey Haim

        You….you…uh……we….uhh….I didn’t die of drugs….

      • Steve McQueen

        I miss my motorcycle sometimes.

      • Elizabeth Taylor

        Are my eyes still violet?

      • Michael Jackson

        So where’s King Tut?

      • Corey Haim

        Why? So u can molest him 2?

  • justsayin™

    I’m so glad he’s gone, the guy was all about the dumbing down of people and taking over the world it’s too bad he built subpar electronics. The apple style remote would be an on/off button, a channel up and down button and an ok button so they could agree to apples terms and conditions.

    • James

      You’re an idiot.

      • EverydayJoe

        You too James!!

      • avlisk

        Idiot might be a bit unfair. Perhaps he’s only ignorant and slow and unable to learn.

      • Old’n’Slo

        Sounds like the kind of guy who gets his tech info from the Walmart greeter…

      • Devin

        Morons gotta hate!

      • Steve’s Ghost

        You were going to pay to watch TV thanks to me. Explains much.

      • James

        I don’t know how to fix my own computer. Welp, I’m going to pay 2000 for a iBook because I’m just too stupid to learn new things. DUH

      • @James

        Welp, if you paid $1200 (only about $400 over the laptop you buy every 3 years) you could get a computer that you wouldn’t HAVE to fix.

      • Corey Haim

        STEVE I LOVE YOU!!!!!

      • DDubSolider

        STEVE I LOVE YOU! NEVER LEAVE ME!

      • Steve’s Ghost

        Look fan boys…. I’ve got new things to do.. Sorry.. Just go buy my book. Thanks.

      • DDubSolider

        YES STEVE YES!!!

    • griff

      have you watched TV lately? He didn’t need to “dumbdown” people, your television networks do that….. all he did was play to the existing audience….. besides, if he didn’t do that, we’d all be running Unix anyway…

      • Cunamara

        Mac users are already running Unix, griff. Apple’s OS X is POSIX compliant. Darwin, which underpins OS X and iOS, us POSIX/SUSv3 compliant.

        And if you use a *nix the odds are you’re using Apple software within it, because Apple owns and maintains CUPS.

      • Acaseofgeo

        I hate how my iPhone 3, which I bought in February of 2010, is already sooooooooo slow doing EVERYTHING because it was made OBSOLETE by the iPhone 4 and all the technology from Apple changing to make sure response for “older” products would be hindered. READ: I MUST go out and BUY new everytime they update or else I suffer through slow signalling to save myself some bucks. I think its evil. You used to be able to used products for DECADES before replacement. Not anymore. FORK OVER THE MONEY. EVERY YEAR BABY. EVERY UPGRADE. Its’ not very “Zen”.

    • Joe Blow

      Did you wait a whole week before you started bashing Jobs? Classy, dude.

      • npco543

        Well, it’s longer than Jobs himself waited to bash people. From the snippets of his bio book released so far, Jobs used it to take one last swipe at any colleagues that dared compete with Apple. You want to talk about classy, that’s it right there.

      • Devin

        Fandroid butthurt flows within you.

      • justsayin™

        tell ya what devin, you go head and stick with your icrap and ill take my galaxy. Jjust be happy that you are paying the highest markup on your apple hardware compared to any other company on the planet. Just know that you pay extra for that apple logo and therefore are “cooler” because you pay more and apple doesn’t have the dominant market share.

      • Michelle

        Actually, Just, he’s paying for a smoother product that actually *GASP* works! I tried Android, it sucked massively because the interface is so sluggish. I tried iPhone and haven’t had an issues yet with my device crashing….unlike my Android phone, which crashed all the time. Enjoy the buggy product.

      • Steve’s Ghost

        I took a completely free open source operating system called Unix and turned it into the most profitable venture ever devised by mankind.

      • Satan

        That’s why you are safe right here with me now. Let’s watch Toy Story again, okay?

      • DDubSolider

        Give me Steve back Satan or I’ll kill myself then come up there and kill you,then send Steve back to earth!

      • Steve’s Ghost

        I’m glad that compass comes in really handy on those iPhones. Too bad I didn’t include an Up and Down App so people could know which way is Up and Down.

      • DDubSolider

        WE NEED YOU STEVE WE NEED YOU!! TELL US WHAT DO DO!!! WE’RE SO LOST!!! I DONT EVEN KNOW WHICH WAY IS UP AND DOWN! WHAT WAY DO I GO WHEN IM ON AN AIRPLANE?! HELP ME STEVE HELP ME!!!

    • Pete

      Wow, what a way to look at things! Has it ever occurred to you that most genius things are actually simple in hindsight? Maybe too genius for you? I wished we had more people like Jobs and fewer of you.

      • Brian Wallace

        Pete you’re an idiot.

        That is all.

        Brian

      • Brian Wallace

        I just wet myself.
        That is all.
        Brian

    • TV Viewer

      Justsayin is right!

    • Roger C.

      I completely agree. The guy was a con man.

  • Rudy

    When I clicked the link I thought it was going to be about TV sets that could become self aware robots-that in turn became “revolutionary” against us humans-like Steve Jobs planned it

    • James

      LOL!

  • Jules

    “Just sayin” is what people say when they are being douchy. Way to be. The guy came up with innovative stuff that has changed they way the world uses various media.. He died of cancer for crikeysakes. Take your douchbaggery elsewhere, moron.

    • EverydayJoe

      Jules – Justsaying has every right to post his opinion that you may not agree. S/He does not need to go anywhere just because you do not like his/her opinion.

      Think before you blurb out.

      • Jan

        Justsayin has every right to be a doosh and Jules has every right to comment on it. So think before you blurb out.

      • Normal Dude

        I don’t mind paying twice as much for computers and phones.. As long as it gets me all those ladies.. (wink wink!!)

    • TV Viewer

      Your all dumber then my dog Asslee.

      • Lansing

        Than

      • Normal Dude

        I move my family into a Mac Store eventually after the great chaos of 2012. Those sky lights come in mighty hand when trying to collect fresh rainwater to drink.

  • Martinator

    To be perfectly blunt, the old “dial” from pre 80’s TVs was “the simplest user interface”.

    • Andy

      Yea but it wasn’t good for very much. Television had gotten much more complicated (DVR, on demand etc. etc.) Frankly if I could watch what I want without using multiple devices that would be awesome.

  • Carrie

    Don’t know what happened but my previous comment was supposed to go under the first comment. Fail.

  • optimistic

    I’m completely sick of current TV set-ups. Without red box, netflix or other video on demand service, do people realize how boring to watch TVs ? Especially when we all have smart phones & tablets and laptops.

    Hopefully Apple and Google will jump into big competition in TV markets soon so we wouldnt need to be using 1940s technology in our homes anymore.

    Die fast Cox! You deserve it.

    • Ron D.

      You who said pre 80’s Tv was good…. Idiot!
      You who said Jobs inovative… Thanks

      I don’t have an Iphone but, its the leader of the pack..

      Anybody that would bash jobs after dying of cancer… idiot…. sorry. but, thats how i see it.

      oh yeah.. I’m not an idiot… lol

      • Steve’s Ghost

        Guys… guys.. Quit fighting over me and just go buy some more of my iCrap and spend what little money you have left in the middle of a recession on Apple products. That would make me the most happy dead guy ever. And no more viruses either.

      • DDubSolider

        OKAY!! I LOVE YOU STEVE ANYTHING FOR YOU!!!

  • James A. Burt

    The biggest problem with TV is the content. You could get Siri to fetch stuff for you but is there anything there?

    • Jan

      There’s a LOT of quality television to be found. Lots of crap, too, but that’s always been the case.

      • Realist

        It’s not all bad television. Well, it’s kinda bad. Sometimes it can be tolerable. No, well yeah it is mostly crap, and really boring, but oh.. Who I am kidding here! It is a all terrible.

  • Applesux

    Get off Steve Job’s nuts already he was a douchebag. all HAIL the MIGHTY PC

    • Microsoft

      I’m so awesome. Check out Microsoft Surface. It is a big table for your living room. Something you could do in the palm of your hand is now the size of a small car. Wow.

  • frankO

    What? an i-TV to go with the i-everything else? Who cares?

    • Jan

      You, obviously.

      • Microsoft

        What about my DRM and Silverlight? I make it a hassle to watch your favorite movies online. I do stuff.

  • Jiggidy

    “Im glad he’s gone”…??? Really? I pray that when you die know one says that about you. You have every right to speak your opinion but you suck!!!

  • Pepe

    Big whoop! Any competent engineer maybe working with designer can do that. Unfortunately the success of such a product depends on how you market it. That said I agree that a viable TV/Internet/Teleconference product will probably make to the market in the very near future.

  • Jason

    I feel bad for Steve Jobs death. He was a genius and because of him technology advanced. To the one guy on here, you should never be glad someone is gone he has a right to live just like everybody else and he died way to young. Steve Jobs knew the outcome of his fate and he handled it like a Man. He worked all the way up until he couldn’t any longer. Very hard working Man that cared a great deal about his products. Even know he was very ill. He knew he was going to die and he still kept going. That says alot about him.

  • GalacticCannibal

    Excluding sports and say horse racing etc . 99% of the rest on TV programs are pure trash. But eh mass tide of human’s lowest common denominator suck it up. And that will not change

    • Jan

      The best writing is on television right now. That’s why so many former movie stars have come back to television. There are tons of crappy TV shows, but there always have been. Sports do not make for compelling television in my opinion but tons of people suck it up.

  • Lobaner

    The best tv ever would be one that has actual shows instead of commercials with tiny amounts of show in-between. Remember when cable TV came out and we were all like YAY, we pay money, and then never have to see commercials? Then we looked away for a sec and they slid commercials in and we the sheeple paid for it anyway? I doubt there will ever be a pay service that stays free of advertisements.

    “Eat the Marketing Majors, they taste better than Ramen Noodles.”
    NTM

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