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Apple iTV concept: The shape of Apple TV to come or headline-grabbing guesswork?

Another day, another Apple iTV concept, offering us a glimpse of what the iTV set – or iPanel, depending on what you think it’ll be called – does the rounds.

Forgive our cynicism but it seems pretty easy to put two and two together and come up with twelve, especially when it comes to second-guessing Apple products.

In this case, it’s Cult of Mac’s mystery insider saying that Apple’s iTV will look like Apple’s Cinema Display (only, like, it’s bigger cos it’s a TV) come with voice-activated controls (Siri on your TV! Amazing!) and FaceTime (videocalling for normal people) through an iSight camera (a webcam, for normal people).

Apple iTV concept: The shape of Apple TV to come or headline-grabbing guesswork?

At any rate, wouldn’t it make more sense for Apple to get you to use Siri in your iPhone 4S if you want to tell it to queue up episodes of Friends?

As we’ve seen with the rise and the rise of second screen viewing, the phone has all but replaced the remote control in the living room.

As well as tweeting insults at Grace Dent during Have I Got News For You, with our phones we can (depending on your set top box) use them as remote controls, use them to set remote recordings (with Sky and Virgin Media) and look up cast info (with Xbox Companion) and buy product-placement items (with zeebox).

Apple iTV concept: The shape of Apple TV to come or headline-grabbing guesswork?

Why would Apple put Siri in a TV set? Remember that plenty of people thought that Siri was going to be a feature of the iPad 3 the new iPad; look how right they turned out to be.

This kind of ‘story’ isn’t new; back in December last year Mac Rumours posted a pic of a similar mock up, created by Ciccarese Design. The article even quoted a Businessweek piece saying that:

“Whether the rumors are true that Apple is planning to release a TV set by 2013, Siri-like voice recognition is headed for the living room. Microsoft (MSFT) is already there, via its Xbox 360 game console, and Comcast (CMCSA), Samsung Electronics (SHCAY), LG, and Sharp are working on voice-enabled features for TV sets, set-top boxes, and related products.”

Six months on and we have a near identical story, wheeling out the same line about Steve Jobs having ‘cracked TV’, but with perhaps prettier graphics.

Apple iTV concept: The shape of Apple TV to come or headline-grabbing guesswork?

While Microsoft’s Kinect does feature voice commands, we can attest to its effectiveness in a crowded living room; it’s not that great when seven people are all shouting ‘Xbox, play the last episode of Homeland’.

Don’t Be That Guy’s ‘Suri TV’ video pretty much sums up why voice actions on a TV wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing.

Even disregarding Siri, Apple would almost certainly want to differentiate the look of a TV product from its Cinema Display screen. We’re not expecting the Apple TV monitor (if one is indeed heading to market) to look like the Cinema Display screen and we wouldn’t expect you to either.

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