Can Apple make TVs sexier than the ones on display at CES?

The look and feel of televisions is already one of stark simplicity. If Apple were to do a piece of TV hardware, how might it improve on what's already there?

Samsung's latest seems plenty sleek and simple. Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

LAS VEGAS--I spent quite some time staring at TVs today.

Whether it's Samsung, Sharp, or Panasonic, all these things look large, tasteful, dazzling and, most of all, simple.

I can't pretend to want to surf the Web on them. I just want to stare at them. And so many of the TVs at CES are eminently oglable.

As I walked out of the exhibition hall, I bumped into an Apple spy. Well, it was 2:30 p.m. He probably had work to do.

He was standing in the line for a bus. Yes, quite openly. Not like last year, when I had to sneak up behind them and shout "Microsoft!"

Which got me to thinking. At last.

The wise and knowing have been mumbling about Apple making forays into television for quite some time. Some say it will merely be at the level of software.

I, though, prefer to think of Apple as a company that seduces you with the hardware and then strokes your neck and thighs with the software.

So I want to believe that if Cupertino puts a new piece of furniture into my home, it will be one that would be appreciated by Brad Pitt as well as Michelangelo. (Those two may be the wrong way around.)

If there's one principle that flows through Apple's product design, it is that of simplicity. The look of every product oozes a sophisticated design that is, rather than shouts.

But one look at the current offerings that are mesmerizing attendees (well, what are they going to look at? Health apps?) shows that, though the size may vary, as might the thinness, it's simply one large screen with nary a border. Simply that.

When Apple created the iPhone, the BlackBerry was common currency in the things that are now called smartphones.

Asking the Apple designers to create a phone more sophisticated and sleek than the iPhone was like asking them to create a vegetable more sophisticated and sleek than the potato.

But defeating the physical design quality of the TVs displayed at CES is surely a slightly harder task.

When I say the physical design quality, I mean the pure look of the thing. I feel sure, for example, that if the Apple logo was on my Sony Bravia, it wouldn't look out of place. TV design has been attractive for a long time.

Perhaps, if it ever comes to pass, Apple will decide that its TVs will have rounded edges. None of the oblong squareness. None of this boxiness.

Rounded edges reflect the Apple humanity and that will be transferred to your TV. Come on, Apple has the patent on rounded edges, doesn't it?

But a task like this would surely vex the most talented of designers. What would truly make a physical TV an Apple TV?

It has to be more than just the logo.

 

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