Recent industry reports indicate that Cupertino is prepping a new set-top box along with an Apple-branded HDTV.
Interestingly, rumors about Apple's various TV-related projects slowed significantly over the past few months, as new reports claim negotiations with media companies and cable providers have stalled out.
According to the sources, cable providers and media companies are wary of Apple gaining a viable foothold in the industry. Personally, I can understand their concern as Apple single-handedly changed the music industry with iTunes. As such, cable companies and TV studios likely fear similar changes in their market.
Indeed, Cupertino was apparently intent on moving forward with an Apple branded set-top box that would offer users access to both their subscribed cable channels and streaming content from the Internet. The key feature of the device was said to be a cloud-based DVR designed to blur lines between live and on-demand content.
Apparently, one of the main sticking points between Apple and various cable companies was the user interface (UI) of the branded set-top box. According to insiders, the box would render iOS icons similar to what the current Apple TV uses - rather than the less attractive user interface we're all used to seeing on our cable boxes. There is some indication that Apple made progress with Time Warner Cable, with the company being eyed as a potential launch partner for the device. However, no deal is said to be in place with Time Warner at this point.
In the meantime, Apple is reportedly attempting to focus on cable operators who would allow access to live content without requiring a slew of new agreements. AppleInsider says Cupertino has also investigated the possibility of consumers leasing boxes directly through cable companies.