One of the memes from Walter Isaccson's authorized biography "Steve Jobs" is that the late Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) co-founder claimed to have "finally cracked" the Internet television challenge.
This is no small feat, as the high-tech heavyweights before it have learned. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and others failed to give it wings, Apple has treated it like a hobby and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has grappled to make Google TV mainstream.
So what will an integrated Apple Television experience look like? No one knows for sure, but the prospect has normally conservative financial analysts playing a fantastic guessing game covering all possibilities.
Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek, who admitted implementation details are still vague, is going off of channel checks and evidence culled from Apple's patent portfolio, noting:
"We assume the iTV will be integrated, interoperable with mobile devices, interactive, contain an SSD or HDD, leverage carrier/MSO relationships with content providers, have a voice/Siri/gesture/device user interface, and be a gaming platform."
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, who has been calling for a complete Apple TV for the last five years, said the service will work with iCloud, combining live television with TV recorded in the cloud.
Global Equities analyst Trip Chowdry went so far as to say the full Apple TV will resemble Bose VideoWave TV. While that system has reduced the number of cables to three, Apple HDTV will probably have only one. Chowdry went so far to so predict Apple HDTV will be launched in March 2012.
The meme received a big boost this past week when Bloomberg reported that Apple has tabbed iTunes and iPod engineer Jeff Robbin is leading development of the Apple television set. It's the first time an engineer has been associated with the product, a sign that there may be more to the rumor than vapor trails.
Perhaps the most interesting new twist to the Apple TV Rumor Carousel is the addition of Siri, the virtual personal assistant the company acquired last year and fashioned into a key application on the iPhone 4S.
It's essentially voice-recognition software with context. As Apple's latest iPhone 4S commercials will tell anyone who watches and listens, Siri will tell users about the weather, play music and do several other tasks, all via spoken signals.