Apple Set Top Box (iBox) Rumors Revived?
This week, rumors of an Apple Set Top Box appear to have been revived by at least one anonymous report
The term "Set Top Box" typically refers to a product that sits on top of your television. Over the years, the meaning of the term changes somewhat with advances in technology.
In 1995, Apple actually produced a Set Top Box (photo) for a six state trial. At the time, the system used a version of Mac OS, QuickDraw and Quicktime. It was an "interactive TV set-top" box. The trial (apparently) did not succeed. Later in 2002, there were some hints that Apple was interested in purchasing a set-top box company known as Moxi Digital.
Most recently MacOSX.com posted detailed specs of what was claimed to be a set top box from Apple, known as the "iBox". The box is described (arist's rendition) as a all-in-one sort of PowerPC G3-based media device that connects to your TV and runs special versions of iPhoto, iTunes, and iDVD. (though one discrepancy is that Apple has never supported DVD-authoring on a G3).
All in all, these rumors are suspect, but do coincide with a rumor that made our Unconfirmed/Reject list from 2003. The full report is included for interest's sake:
Apple is said to be deep into development of a box that acts as a hub for Apple's broadcasting efforts. Movies will stream wirelessly to a television set via Apple's next generation of wireless networking. It is said to be wireless Gigabit. Similarly, users can stream music from any of their devices (computer / iPod / the "box") to their stereo via next generation bluetooth. This hub is expected to make Apple's digital life less dependent on you sitting in front of your computer. Again, devices will be able to log into this box where they can either transmit songs to, or accept transmissions from, this hub. This, too, is said to be able to log into a users machine via thin client.
Again, neither of reports have been shown to be reliable, but are somewhat consistent with each other. As well, Steve Jobs has stated (repeatedly) that he does not feel that TVs and Computers will converge. Whether or not such a hybrid/bridge product would go against this vision, is unclear.
Meanwhile, there was another Page 2 rumor about Apple working with a company called Optibase... which specializes in MPEG encoding and media streaming.