The end of remote controls? Apple’s TV ‘to be voice controlled’

CEO Steve Jobs left design blueprint spelling out how iPhone voice command could be used for TV screen

Last updated at 5:24 PM on 28th October 2011

It might spell the end of fiddling around for remote controls in between the sofa cushions.

The upcoming big Apple TV will use iPhone’s Siri ‘personal assistant’ as its main control method – and will use touch control as a back up.

Leaks from Apple’s manufacturing chain say that Apple has been working on prototype sets since September – according to a design blueprint laid down by late CEO Steve Jobs. His ‘eureka’ moment was realising that Siri’s voice control could be used to ‘talk’ to the set.

The quote ‘I finally cracked it,’ in the recent biography by Walter Isaacson was misquoted in recent reports, reports the New York Times.

Jobs was referring to the realisation that the television should be voice-controlled – using the natural-language algorithms of Siri so that people talk to the set as they would to someone sitting next to them on the sofa.

Mr Jobs, who died earlier this month, told author Walter Isaacson: ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.’

Apple executive Jeff Robbin, who was behind the iPod and iTunes Store, is reportedly ‘now guiding Apple’s internal development of the new TV effort’.

It’s not the first attempt to bring more ‘natural’ controls to televisions – companies such as One For All already make gesture-controlled remotes which you simply ‘wag’ at the screen, and Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect camera can be controlled by voice.

But the highly sophisticated Siri software could represent a huge leap forward for the technology.

Apple TV debuts at Macworld in San Francisco: Reports say that Apple is working on a large, voice-controlled touchscreen with the service built in – but it won’t arrive till the price for large touchscreens drops a little

A third party analysis suggests the device will hit shelves by late next year or 2013, based on research of Apple’s patent portfolio, its investments in manufacturing facilities and ‘securing supplies of LCD screens’.

Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller declined to comment on the Bloomberg report.

It has been widely-speculated Apple will launch its own brand of touchscreen televisions running its iOS platform.

A Wall Street Journal report also suggested last year that Apple had been ‘discussing whether to try to launch a subscription TV service’ following Jobs’ initial unveiling of the product in January, 2007.

Flying off shelves: Within a day of its release, the book was number one on the Kindle bestseller list, the Nook bestseller list and the Apple iBookstore chart

Though official book sales figures from Nielsen will not be released for more than a week, Isaacson’s biography of the Apple boss, entitled ‘Steve Jobs’, is already number one on the Kindle bestseller list, the Nook bestseller list and the Apple iBookstore chart.

The authorised biography appeared in book stores yesterday, and the print and digital versions are already number one on

Industry analysts expect it to stay there for some time, and Amazon spokesperson Brittany Turner already told Reuters it could be the top-selling book of the year.

The October 5 death of the enigmatic Apple co-founder has prompted an outpouring of grief and testimonials, spurring publisher Simon & Schuster to move up the book’s release from November 21 to Monday.

Isaacson, the former managing editor of Time magazine, has been on a whirlwind publicity tour, appearing on everything from CBS show ’60 Minutes’ to NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’.

Worldwide interest in Jobs’ death also sped up Hollywood’s pursuit of the book rights, which Sony snagged.

The genesis of the book dates to 2004, when Jobs asked Isaacson to write his biography. Isaacson first turned it down, but then reconsidered given Jobs’ deteriorating health.

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