With the drumbeat surrounding an impending Apple HDTV becoming louder by the week, Bloomberg reports that Apple engineer and iTunes developer Jeff Robbin has been tapped as the lead developer of the rumored television set.
Robbin’s involvement is a sign of Apple’s commitment to extending its leadership in smartphones and tablets into the living room. Before his Oct. 5 death, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had “finally cracked” how to build an integrated TV with a simple user interface that would wirelessly synchronize content with Apple’s other devices.
And earlier this week came a report that Apple already has several HDTV prototypes in production. Now manufacturing an HDTV with a sleek form factor wouldn’t be especially challenging for Apple. Indeed, there are no shortage of inspiring and dare we say Apple-esque TV form factors already out on the market – take a look at some high-end Samsung models for example. That said, the success or failure of an Apple HDTV will rest on Apple’s ability to deliver content to users as a means to bypass cable providers. Otherwise, an Apple HDTV would be nothing more than a late entrant into an already saturated market.
Some features an Apple HDTV might likely sport if it ever comes to pass includes the ability to rent and purchase movies, DVR functionality, and perhaps a’la carte subscriptions. Hell, maybe even throw Siri functionality in there as well. There is, after all, something appealing about watching a movie and being able to ask, “Who directed Wedding Crashers” and have the answer show up on the screen.
As to the man behind Apple’s HDTV efforts, Robbin was initially hired on at Apple after they acquired the SoundJan digital music player. He then went onto help develop various iterations of iTunes and was a key part of the original iPod team as well. Notably, Jobs’ biography relays that Robbin’s was considered such a crucial asset for the company that Jobs didn’t want his last name mentioned in a feature for Time Magazine, fearing competitors might lure him away.