In 2011 the official Steve Jobs autobiography was released and out of all of the text there was one paragraph that seemed to create such a buzz amongst the industry.
I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.
One year on and there’s very little additional detail that adds to this since his passing apart from the odd rumor here and there and analyst conjecture but what’s struck me is that since then the OEM industry focus has not so much been on pushing picture clarity as it has been on offering a completely connected experience with apps and widgets, integrated HD cameras and now through Samsung’s latest range, gesture based control.
But while the rumours persist of an Apple branded HDTV and Apple feveriously works in the background to secure more content I can’t help but wonder whether Steve’s rather public statement, given that all they’ve worked on in the past has been shrouded in secrecy, was a simple dig at the industry to wake up and focus on innovation rather than screens. The rush to try and beat Apple at their own game since he uttered those words is an obvious indicator that Samsung, Sony and Panasonic were scared of a new entrant in the market that would show them up so HDTV sets are now so content and feature rich watching TV is actually the last thing on people’s minds now as they play with the remote.
Is there really an innovative product in the Apple stable that will blow everyone out the water ? Is there a user experience that nobody else can really match when it’s eventually launched ?
Or was Steve slyly prodding the industry in a direction he wanted them to take only to reinvent it all over again ?
Time will tell, but one year on people are still running scared. And that to me is a great reminder of the legacy Steve leaves behind.