An interesting email chain between Steve Jobs and various Apple executives has surfaced via court records for the latest spat between Apple and Samsung. Our earlier article on the matter detailed some parts of the email in which Jobs revealed roadmap plans for 2011 and some of 2012. The discussions were a preview of what was to be discussed at an off-site for Apple’s “Top 100” employees. Presentations regarding the yet-to-be-announced iPad 2, iPad 3, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, Verizon iPhone 4, Apple Campus 2, and iCloud took place, but the talking points regarding Apple TV deserve a closer look in light of recent rumors of an imminent update…
The late-2010 Apple executive meeting took place following the introduction of the second-generation Apple TV, which brought a new design, new content, new internal components, streaming, and a refreshed user interface. Since that product’s debut in fall 2010, the only updates to the product were a spring 2012 speed boost with 1080p content streaming, an overhauled user interface, and new content channels.
But what did Steve Jobs have in mind all the way back in 2010 for future versions of the Apple TV? In the email chain, Jobs proposed “apps, browser, [and] magic wand?”
Apps and browser seem fairly straight forward: an App Store on the Apple TV and probably a forked version of the Safari web browser from iOS. The apps talk is interesting in light of sources telling us earlier this year that Apple is planning to soon release an updated Apple TV set-top box with new kinds of content, including the possibility of an app or gaming store.
The Magic Wand topic is more interesting in light of some recent Apple patents. The Magic Wand, based on the patents, is a wireless motion controller similar to what Nintendo has offered for its Wii gaming console. Sources previously told us that Apple is exploring motion control for future versions of the Apple TV. Jobs famously told his biographer that he “finally cracked” how to simplify the TV experience. Perhaps the Apple TV’s Magic Wand is what Jobs was envisioning.
Jobs also discussed new types of content, including TV subscriptions, shows from NBC, CBS, & Viacom, and it is unclear if Apple has been in negotiations with content providers over those channels. Apple has reportedly been meeting with cable providers such as Time Warner and Comcast about opening up their content for simple integration with future Apple TV models.
Given the timing of the email chain, it is uncertain if anything Apple TV-related mentioned by Jobs will actually become reality or if that email was purely on-the-fly brainstorming. Only time will tell, and that time will likely come soon.