WSJ: Apple shelved plans to make a 4K TV set last year

Apple TV (teaser 001)

Apple quietly shelved plans to make an ultra-HD TV set with video calling and other features last year, reports the Wall Street Journal. The report follows an open letter to Tim Cook from activist investor Carl Ichan, published earlier today, which pointed to Apple releasing a 4K TV set in 2016.

Apparently, Apple was working on a full-blown television, and had been researching the project for nearly a decade. But Apple executives didn’t feel like the product or its feature set was compelling enough to enter the cutthroat market, which offers small margins to even the largest competitors.

Throughout its research, the Journal says Apple experimented with a number of technologies it’d hope would set its TV apart from the others. In the mid-2000s, it created a prototype display that was transparent, like glass, but it used too much power and its picture was too dim for production.

Later on, it developed another TV set with 4K resolution and cameras above the display for video-calling. Dubbed “FaceTime for television,” the cameras could actually sense who was talking, and re-position themselves to focus on the speaker. But this too failed to make it past the research phase.

Ultimately, Apple chose to put the entire project on ice, opting instead to update its Apple TV set-top box and pursue plans for a streaming television service. On that front, the Journal says its sources have confirmed that the company still plans to debut both of these products at WWDC next month.

Source: The Wall Street Journal