Analyst: First Apple HDTV will be integrated into next-gen iMacs (unlikely)

There has been no shortage of analyst reports regarding an Apple branded HDTV that the company is rumored to have already started work on. Some are calling for a late 2012 launch, but up until now, all have imagined the device as a standalone HDTV. Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair offers up another concept, claiming Apple will introduce a next-gen iMac with TV capabilities that will act as a transitional device before jumping head first into the TV business. The device would essentially integrate iCloud and Apple TV features, in addition to traditional TV hardware, into the larger 27-inch iMac design. Blair explains (via Forbes):

We think this makes sense because while we typically think about the newest TV’s hanging on the wall in large form factors, Apple could effectively start with what they already have on the manufacturing line and slowly push their offering from 27 inches and scale up from there to 32 inches and then move on to the 42, 50 and 55 inch market. In short, we believe the initial Apple TV is their iMac computer that can function as a TV, over the iCloud platform.

While this appears to be entirely speculation at this point, he makes much of his case based on the fact Apple already has the 27-inch iMac in production. We know Apple killed Front Row in Lion, while at the same time introducing iOS-like functionality like Launchpad. The 27-inch iMac is already an excellent display for consuming video content, but how conventional TV features might be baked into Lion is yet to be seen.

We’re pretty sure the Apple HDTV, if it comes to pass, will be based in iOS.  It will also be a living room experience unlike the up-close experience of an iMac.  Also, Apple seems to be going away from using its Mac Hardware as a TV device killing both Front Row and the included remote on many of its products.  Therefore we think this speculation is off. Read more

Apple’s next-generation Apple TV moves closer to reality, assigned J33 codename

iOS release history tells us that as a product in development moves even closer to release, it is assigned a proper codename. Not only an identifier like “3,1” but a codename such as N94 (iPhone 4S) or K48 (original iPad). The next-generation Apple TV has reached that stage. Thanks to today’s beta release of iOS 5.1, we have on our hands the codename for this new Apple TV (3,1).

As you can see above, the new Apple TV is rocking a the J33 codename, the second JXX product we’ve seen from Apple. The first was the J2 – a new iPad – that we discovered just last week. Apple’s iPad 2 almost reached the peak of Apple’s KXX options with the CDMA version dubbed as K95, so Apple’s move to JXX nomenclature is something that would have to happen sooner or later. With Apple recently beefing up their flagship tablets and phones with dual-core A5 chips, we think this new Apple TV represents an A5 dual-core model that packs in 1080P playback abilities. As to whether this thing has a display on it, it is too early for us to tell.

Thanks, as always, iH8Sn0w!

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Engineers are dreaming up iPad robots

Update: Ooops. Originally thought this was an Apple patent.

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Patently Apple today publishes some interesting new patents from developers including what appears to be an “iRobot” (oops, name taken) built around an iPad head.

iRobot’s introductory abstract describes the invention this way: “A robot system includes a mobile robot having a controller executing a control system for controlling operation of the robot, a cloud computing service in communication with the controller of the robot, and a remote computing device in communication with the cloud computing service. The remote computing device communicates with the robot through the cloud computing service.”

Subsequent drawings include navigation and obstacle avoidance (below) which seems to indicate that this is a “mobile” device in every sense of the word.  Most of the perceived applications appear to be in the medical setting… Read more

iPad 3 to be 3D? Probably not

Business Insider says they have a friend who knows some Apple employees who say that the iPad 3 will have a 3D display.

We’re definitely not convinced.

What we have heard however is that Apple is working on 3G gestures which they’ve patented and could be used in iOS devices – though those would be more for an Apple TV type device.

There was an app that used the iPad 2 camera to figure out where your head was and made 3D objects appear on the screen.

Perhaps the person making up the rumor got those confused.

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Netflix promises revamped iPad app “in a few weeks”

In addition to a revamped Android version, Netflix said today that a “new tablet experience should be available for members with iPads in a few weeks”. What’s the new tablet experience like? According to a press release and a blog post, Netflix aims to consolidate the app’s user interface across iOS and Android tablets with a “much more immersive” design that manages to cram up twice as many movies and television shows as before without looking cluttered. Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix, says:

In the last 12 months we have seen a threefold increase in how long Netflix members are watching on their tablets. We’re happy to debut a new user experience coinciding with the release of the next generation of devices from industry leaders. The new Netflix interface offers a significant improvement in browsing and searching for TV shows and movies to instantly watch.

Each item in the new interface sports a larger artwork than before and you can swipe between the individual rows of titles. If this sounds familiar, you’re right – a similar experience is built into supported set-top boxes, gaming consoles and other Netflix-ready devices.

Interestingly, the new Netflix software is also available for the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. Netflix also offers a free trail, here.

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Pioneer VSX-1020-K 770W 7.1 3D Home Theater Receiver: $299

From 9to5Toys.com:

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Today only, Amazon has the Pioneer VSX-1020-K Home Theater Receiver for $299 with free shipping.  That’s close to half off the list price of this 770W 7.1 3D iPod/iPhone/iPad-controlled stereo system which features include six HDMI 1.4 inputs, 110 watts of power into seven channels, subwoofer output, and more.

iPhone Screenshot 1iPhone Screenshot 2.

We covered the VSX-1020-K when it was launched last year for $549.  Since then it has been superseded by newer Pioneer products with Airplay. Read more