Report: Apple ‘iTV’ prototypes at TV makers’ labs

February 7, 2012

Tornoto’s Globe and Mail reports that two major Canadian television makers — Rogers and Bell Canda Enterprises — have Apple interactive television prototypes in their laboratories and are talking with Apple about becoming launch partners.

The report, citing unnamed “sources,” says that the iTV will be integrated with Siri — Apple’s voice assistant program — and can be controlled with hand gestures or an on-screen keyboard.

From the report: “An on-screen keyboard, meanwhile, can also be activated in a similar manner, allowing viewers to surf the web, conduct video chats and use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook – all without any physical interface.”

The newspaper also reported that a television set from Apple could work with mobile devices and be used as a game system, citing an analyst report and an analysis of patents from Jeffries’ Peter Misek.

Gene Munster, an analyst for Piper Jaffray and an Apple iTV champion, said in an analyst note late last month that Apple is building prototypes, Apple Insider reported.

Munster said that he had spoken with unnamed sources in Apple’s supply chain and a “major TV component supplier” who said that Apple is definitely planning to make a television.

Content-wise, Munster said that Apple could be working on deals to show live TV or work with subscription video services such as Netflix and Hulu. He projected that, if Apple released its set this year, it could sell 1.4 million units.

In last month’s earnings call, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told Munster that he had nothing to announce on the Apple TV front.

Related stories:

Apple releases record earnings

Jobs’s final plan: an ‘integrated’ Apple TV

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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