Apple has been tinkering with the idea of breaking into the TV market for some time now, but it looks like its late founder Steve Jobs hated the idea of building a TV.
According to an upcoming book, “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Revolution of a Reckless Upstart Into A Visionary Leader,” Jobs told Apple’s design head Jony Ive in the late 1990s, “I just don’t like television. Apple will never make a TV again.”
The quote was reported earlier by the blog Cult of Mac.
The book is set for release later this month, so we don’t know the full context behind those comments. The word “again” suggests Jobs was referring to the Apple Interactive Television Box, a TV set-top box which the company tested in a few markets in the mid 1990s but never produced in large numbers.
But Jobs apparently changed his mind. In 2007, Apple came out with a similar product, Apple TV, a set top box that connects to a TV to stream shows through external apps like Netflix and MLB.tv. This week, Apple announced that it had sold 25 million Apple TVs, and unveiled an exclusive partnership with HBO to carry its HBO NOW app.
This isn’t the first time we’re seeing Jobs’s apparent disdain for the TV business. According to the book “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs,” Jobs reportedly said, “TV is a terrible business. They don’t turn over and the margins suck.”
But those comments are in stark contrast to what was written in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, where he wrote, “He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant.”
Jobs told Isaacson, according to his book, “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.”