Apple has announced that its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (better known as WWDC) will kick off on June 8, giving the company a chance to fill in some of the plans it's already laid out for the future of its devices and software, its music service after the Beats acquisition and -- people really hope -- it's long-awaited plans for the television.
It's always fun to try and pick up clues about what Apple's plans are from its event logos, and this year's WWDC invitation is no different. This time around, Apple-focused blogger John Gruber caught the attention of Business Insider by noting that shape in the middle of the WWDC logo looks an awful lot like the Apple TV set-top box.
For years, analysts and fans have speculated that a television set is just around the corner, but so far we haven't seen anything of the kind. What has risen instead, as Gruber notes, is the idea that Apple may not be that interested in an actual set, but could be working on turning the Apple TV into a hub for all things home and entertainment.
Which makes Apple's text on the WWDC logo even more interesting. Epicenter. Hub. You get the idea.
The rounded square is not new to Apple's iconography -- it's even shown up in past WWDC logos before, with no accompanying major Apple TV overhaul. Regardless of whether the logo holds a secret clue or not, the rumor mill has kicked into top-gear when it comes to TV speculation.
Buzzfeed's John Paczkowski reported in March that Apple will, in fact, debut a new set-top box at the show along with more details on its plans to change the television world -- perhaps much the same way that it did with the music world when it launched iTunes. The Wall Street Journal also reported that the company may have finally reached some sort of agreement with entertainment studios for a subscription channel service, after years of negotiations.
In many ways, the time feels right. Major television channels are embracing the streaming revolution, as HBO's new standalone service has shown -- opening the door for a company like Apple to make sense of a newly crowded landscape. Apple's technology is at just about the right point, with the continuing development of its (admittedly still not perfect) Siri voice-controlled assistant, which has the potential to be the ultimate remote control.
Meanwhile, a flood of smart home devices -- locks, thermostats, etc. -- are finding their foothold in the consumer market, but also need some single platform on which to rest if the average consumer is ever going to be able to manage all that information. Apple's HomeKit software, which allows multiple smart devices and appliances to connect to its gadgets through iOS, seems like a logical play to be that great simplifier -- though it will have to fight both Amazon and Google for that title.
In short, there are plenty of dots to connect when exploring the theory that Apple may be looking at the Apple TV as a way into dominating the living room and the smart home in general. On the other hand, sometimes a rounded square is just a rounded square.