Rumor: Apple TV Set Already in the Hands of Canadian ISPs

So this is pretty interesting. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s largest newspaper, is reporting this evening that Apple is actively looking for Canadian launch partners for its rumored television set.

The report claims that the Cupertino company has recently approached both Rogers and Bell, two major Canadian carriers, about the product, and that the two operators already have the TV in their possession…

“While the iTV product remains cloaked in secrecy, sources say Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple has approached Rogers and Bell as it actively pursues partnerships with Canadian carriers. “They’re not closed to doing it with one [company] or doing it with two,” said one source who is familiar with the talks. “They’re looking for a partner. They’re looking for someone with wireless and broadband capabilities. Another source, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Rogers and Bell already have the product in their labs.”

We’re having a hard time believing that Apple would allow a major product like its yet-to-be-announced TV set outside of Cupertino, but we could be wrong. After all, there were several accounts of folks who said they saw the iPad a few weeks before it was publicly unveiled.

The report continues:

“The product reportedly integrates Siri, Apple’s voice-recognition software that acts as a personal assistant on the latest iPhone, into television sets to help viewers make programming choices. Viewers can then control the TV by voice or hand gestures, all from the comfort of a couch. An on-screen keyboard, meanwhile, can also be activated in a similar manner, allowing viewers to surf the web, conduct video chats and use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook – all without any physical interface.”

All of these features seem to jive with previous reports we’ve heard about the Apple TV set, well except for the onscreen keyboard. It’s also worth noting that The Globe and Mail is similar to our New York Times in size and credibility, so it’s possible that the report is accurate.

Apple is expected to unveil its “game-changing” TV set as early as this year.