Is Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) long-rumored new television product actually an Apple TV device with expanded capabilities? According to unnamed insider sources cited by 9to5Mac’s Mark Gurman, Apple is currently developing a successor to its digital media receiver device that may include new types of content and a reworked operating system. The new set-top device is expected to be unveiled in the first- or second-quarter of 2014. Although the upgraded Apple TV may include new hardware, owners of the previous-generation device should be able to upgrade to the new software.
According to 9to5Mac’s sources, the new types of content will likely include an App Store for the Apple TV, or even a “Game Store.” Another Apple news site, iLounge, cited its own “reliable industry sources” that indicated Apple TV will be getting game support that will allow users to directly download games to the digital media receiver. ILounge’s sources also suggested that Bluetooth-enabled controllers are in development.
If Apple does add game support to the Apple TV, the new device may also include motion-sensing control functions similar to what is found in Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox Kinect system. Last November, Apple acquired motion-sensing technology company PrimeSense. PrimeSense’s 3D vision and gesture technology is used in Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect system and allows the device to distinguishes users with its face-recognition capabilities, as well as interpret their gestures. This technology could be used to play games or could simply be used as a basic control system for the Apple TV.
As noted by 9to5Mac, Apple has already made it easier for content providers to create video-streaming apps for the Apple TV. However, it is unknown if content would be organized around individual apps or grouped into an Apple TV App Store.
Last year, Quartz reported that Apple had entered direct negotiations with content owners in a bid to do an end run around the cable companies. According to Quartz’s unnamed sources, Apple has held discussions with Disney’s (NYSE:DIS) ESPN, Time Warner’s (NYSE:TWX) HBO, and Viacom (NYSE:VIA). It is unknown if those negotiations resulted in additional content for the upcoming Apple TV.
Rumors of a revolutionary Apple television product have been around ever since Steve Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson reported that the late Apple CEO told him, “I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. 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.”
Although many analysts have predicted that Apple would create its own television set, the latest rumors suggest that the California-based company’s television innovation may simply be an improved Apple TV. Here’s how Apple has traded over the past five sessions.
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