Bloomberg is reporting that the rumored Apple HDTV is being led by iTunes creator Jeff Robbin (introducing iTunes 9, above). Jeff Robbin led Apple to create both the original iPod and iTunes — so obviously he’s the man for the job.
Apple Inc. is turning to the software engineer who built iTunes to help lead its development of a television set, according to three people with knowledge of the project. Jeff Robbin, who helped create the iPod in addition to the iTunes media store, is now guiding Apple’s internal development of the new TV effort, said the people, who declined to be identified because his role isn’t public.
Bloomberg also quotes Piper’s Munster who believes that the HDTV is in prototype, due out late next year or 2013. He also postulates that the Apple TV will have Siri and iCloud functionality. Siri would act as the controller (think Kinect) and iCloud would help deliver user’s content.
In Steve Jobs’ biography, Jobs told Isaacson “that he cracked the code for building an HDTV.” Robbin is an interesting character. Bloomberg explains:
Robbin, the software engineer helping lead the TV effort, was hired in 2000 to develop iTunes after Apple bought the SoundJam digital music player he developed. iTunes, introduced in January 2001, became Apple’s digital hub for synchronizing music, video and applications across Apple’s devices, including the iPod, iPhone and iPad.
According to the biography, Jobs considered Robbin such a valuable employee that he wouldn’t let a Time magazine reporter meet him without agreeing not to print his last name, for fear that he would be poached by a competitor.
Robbin was among the Apple executives who helped persuade Jobs to allow computers running Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows software to use iTunes, according to the biography, a move that helped the company add millions of new customers. The iTunes digital store, with more than 225 million registered users, generated almost $1.5 billion last quarter.
Robbin also was closely involved with the development of the iPod, including participating in a crucial 2001 meeting when Apple decided on the spin-wheel design of the digital music player and charted its expansion beyond personal computers to mobile computing, according to the book.