The New York Times's Nick Bilton thinks he knows what Steve Jobs meant when he said he "cracked" the problem with the Apple TV and it has something to do with its beloved/creepy/scary new AI robot Siri. An Apple-made television has long been rumored to be in the works, and Jobs's cryptic quote to his biographer got those rumors humming once again. Bilton says he's heard from many sources at Apple that they're definitely working on a television, but the Siri connection to Jobs's "I've finally cracked it!" seems to be his own "cracked it" moment.
One of the biggest hurdles, according to people with knowledge of the project, has been replacing the television set’s annoying best friend: the awkward and confusing remote control. Apple would give people a way to choose the content on their television that is as easy as choosing the content on their iPod, iPhone or iPad.
Alternative remote ideas floated by Apple included a wireless keyboard and mouse, or using an iPod, iPhone or iPad as a remote. None of these concepts worked.
Bilton says Siri is the obvious answer to the problem based on another line from Walter Isaacson's Jobs biography:
Mr. Jobs reiterated this sentiment in his biography, explaining to Mr. Isaacson that an Apple television “will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.”
So what could be simpler than barking commands to your television?
It’s the stuff of science fiction. You sit on your couch and rather than fumble with several remotes or use hand gestures, you simply talk: “Put on the last episode of Gossip Girl.” “Play the local news headlines.” “Play some Coldplay music videos.” Siri does the rest.
If Bilton is right, and Apple could release such a power-couch potato product by 2013, the real question for Siri won't be whether she'll marry you, but whether she can understand you through a mouthful of ice cream.