Techno-Logic: Is Apple Planning to Change How We View Television?


Special to the Parade

Many are reporting that Apple plans on launching a brand new HDTV this year. If rumors are accurate, it will be powered by Siri, which is the technology behind the voice recognition software of the iPhone 4S. The software is designed in a way that understands natural speech. For instance, a user can say something like “Help! I am bleeding.” The software is smart enough to take key words and form an answer. It will then offer directions and numbers to nearby hospitals.

The technology is still in beta, even with the release of the iPhone 4S, but crowd-sourcing is often the best way to test and improve applications like this one. They can learn different dialects and pronunciations, etc. as users of all types use the software in their everyday lives.

It’s rumored that Apple wants to do something like this, but integrate it into a special television set. It would directly integrate with their iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Mac, at least that’s the plan. Users would be able to talk to their TV rather than having to use a traditional control method.

For instance (and this is just speculation on my part) a user could say “I want to watch a good horror movie.” Then the television could look up horror movies for you. Perhaps you could tell it to switch to the Discovery Channel at 4 p.m., and it would do so guaranteeing that you don’t miss your show.

We’ve seen some of this to an extent with devices such as Kinect for Xbox 360. A user can say something like, “Xbox, play disc,” and the Xbox will play the disc in the machine. You can also tell it to do basic things, such as rewind, fast-forward or pause, and it will do so.

That’s not quite as extensive as what we expect to see from Apple’s rumored television set – it only understands very basic commands. If the system’s AI is smart enough to understand more natural speech, it may be enough to entice users to pick up a new kind of TV set.

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