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Apple reportedly pulled plug on 4K Apple TV set more than a year ago

Executives shelved the idea of a branded ultra-high-definition TV because the features weren't considered compelling enough, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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No Apple TV set for you. CNET

It appears that Apple's much-anticipated Apple TV set isn't coming to market anytime soon.

Apple quietly shelved plans to produce an ultra-high-definition television set more than a year ago, according to a Wall Street Journal report that cited people familiar with the matter. The company hoped to include cutting-edge features in the new set, including a camera that would allow users to make video calls through the appliance.

In the end, though, the features were not compelling enough to impress executives, the Journal reported.

Analysts have been forecasting that Apple would sell such a product for the past few years, but so far Apple has yet to produce one, instead continuing to focus on mobile devices. The company has also offered the Apple TV set-top box for many years.

But at least one prominent Apple stockholder still expects the Apple TV set to materialize next year. In an open letter explaining why he thinks Apple's stock price should be much higher, billionaire investor Carl Icahn said the iPhone maker is about dominate two new markets: televisions and automobiles.

"Apple is poised to enter and in our view dominate two new categories (the television next year and the automobile by 2020) with a combined addressable market of $2.2 trillion, a view investors don't appear to factor into their valuation at all," Icahn wrote.

Apple cofounder Steve Jobs was also allegedly interested in bringing an Apple-branded TV to market. In his 2011 biography on Jobs, Walter Isaacson said the late Apple CEO wanted a TV with a simple user interface and that Jobs told Isaacson that he had "finally cracked it."

"He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant," Isaacson told The Washington Post in 2011. Jobs told Isaacson he wanted to "create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud."

The company is expected to make a slew of Apple TV announcements at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, including a new set-top streaming box due later this year that will come with a new remote that will feature a touch pad for navigating the interface.

Apple is also said to be working with television networks to launch a service later this year that would let users stream programming from a range of providers, including ABC, CBS and Fox. The service would be available on Apple's iOS devices and the Apple TV. (Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET.)

Apple has hinted for quite some time that it's working on a more complete, over-the-top video streaming service. However, there have been no signs such a product is close to ready, which largely has been attributed to difficulties securing content deals at reasonable rates.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.