Steve Jobs in 2010 on Apple TV’s future: Magic Wand, apps, Web browser

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

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New Steve Jobs email a treasure trove of information about Apple TV, Google ‘holy war,’ and behind-the-scenes strategy

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A new email from Steve Jobs that was published during today’s Samsung lawsuit (via The Verge) has revealed a lot about Apple’s plans for its products in 2011 and beyond. As we’ve previously noted, Jobs referred to 2011 as a year of “holy war” against Google, but this document goes above that and describes how exactly Apple planned to wage this war.

A few choice bits are below, followed by the complete email.

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Amazon announces $99 Fire TV set-top box shipping today: automatic recommendations, voice search, games and more

Amazon has just announced its Apple TV competitor, dubbed ‘Fire TV’. You can buy it now from Amazon.com for $99. The product roughly resembles an Apple TV in size and shape, but is thinner by a few millimetres and has square (rather than rounded) edges. Spec-wise, Amazon claims it is three times as powerful as Apple TV or Roku. It runs on a quad-core processor with 2GB RAM. The fireTV can stream video at 1080p over HDMI, alongside Dolby Digital surround sound.

Input comes via a Bluetooth remote that features a five-way directional pad and some ancillary buttons. The remote has an inbuilt microphone, so you can speak show titles to have it automatically search for them.

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Roku CEO says Apple TV ‘loses money’, calls it an iPad accessory

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CNET is reporting that Roku CEO Anthony Wood described Apple TV as an ‘iPad accessory’ at Re/code’s Code/Media conference. Until recently, even Apple characterised the product as a ‘hobby’. The Apple TV box has not changed much since its major revamp in 2010. More controversially, Wood followed up by claiming that the Apple TV actually loses money for Apple – which would immediately seem strange since Rokus have similar hardware and cost less.

“Apple TV is essentially an accessory for the iPad. They lose money, which is unusual for Apple,” he said Thursday, speaking at the Recode conference here. “If you’re losing money, why would you want to sell more?”

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Apple reportedly discussing the possibility of a TV streaming service with Comcast

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is now in talks with Comcast about the possibility of a collaborative television streaming service. The plan, according to the report, is for Comcast to provide preferential streaming treatment to an Apple-built set-top box like the existing Apple TV.

The service would allow subscribers to stream live TV shows as well as on-demand content provided by Comcast. The agreement between the two companies would allow Apple’s box to continue streaming smoothly even when other connections were bogged down by high traffic and bypass bandwidth issues.

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Logitech’s Harmony Smart Keyboard for Apple TV & your entire living room

Logitech just announced a new Harmony Smart Keyboard that it says is specifically designed for controlling Apple TV and similar living room devices. The idea is that the Harmony Smart Keyboard, with support for “225,000 home-entertainment devices and over 5,000 brands,” will become your ultimate living room controller. The keyboard packs in a touchpad on the right hand side, a ton of quick launch functions for changing channels, browsing menus, and controlling media, and a number of interesting new features powered by the included Harmony WiFi hub and companion app. It’s essentially the best of both worlds from Logitech’s keyboard and Harmony remote products.  Read more