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iTunes creator working on Apple TV, report says

Jeff Robbin, who helped create iTunes and develop the iPod, is said to be hard at work on an Apple television set.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
What does Apple have planned in the TV space?
What does Apple have planned in the TV space? Apple

Apple vice president of consumer applications, Jeff Robbin, is heading up a team at the company that's working on launching a television, according to a new report.

Citing multiple sources, Bloomberg says Robbin's team has a prototype in the works right now, but there is still a possibility that Apple won't even release a television.

Robbin's involvement in the Apple television is notable. After joining Apple more than a decade ago to head up the company's iTunes product, Robbin also helped create the iPod, making him a key player in the firm's executive lineup.

Although talk of an Apple television has surfaced from time to time over the last few years, it has become a hot topic recently, due to comments made by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs prior to his death.

"I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use," Jobs told his biographer, Walter Isaacson. "It would be seamlessly synched with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it."

According to Bloomberg's sources, Robbin and his team are working on making that dream a reality. The software in the television, a Bloomberg source says, will allow users to check for a movie or television show across multiple platforms, such as cable service and Netflix, within a single pane. In most cases today, users must separately access their cable box or Netflix to find content.

That said, in an interview with CNET published yesterday, Isaacson tossed some cold water on hopes that an Apple television was nearing its launch, saying that Apple wasn't "close at all" to developing a television.

"He told me it was very theoretical," Isaacson said, speaking of Jobs' comments to him regarding an Apple TV. "These were theoretical things they were thinking about in the future."

However, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, a noted Apple analyst, said recently that he believes Apple is hard at work on a television, and he expects the set to launch late next year or early in 2013 with a host of the company's services thrown in.

"iCloud stores TV shows and pictures, but we believe Apple may add movies," Munster said. "While a solution for live TV combined with previously aired shows 'recorded' in the cloud remains a significant hurdle, perhaps this code is precisely what Jobs believed he has 'cracked.'

"We also believe Apple could use Siri, its voice recognition, personal assistant technology to bolster its TV offering and simplify the chore of inputting information like show titles, or actor names, into a TV (typically with a remote)," Munster continued.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on the television.