Apple’s Next Big Thing Will Be Live TV

There may be no sign of the much talked about Apple branded television set, but there continue to be indications that Apple’s working on something big in the TV industry.

Since February, there have been reports that Apple has been negotiating with cable operators, which was reiterated again today by the Wall Street Journal.

Just what is Apple working on? According to the WSJ, Apple is aiming to get cable operators to agree to allow its products to function as set-top boxes for television content. Meaning Apple wants you to be able to watch live TV via a device similar to an Apple TV, without the need for a cumbersome cable box.

Thus far those talks haven’t been terribly successful, as cable companies are understandably wary letting Apple – a company that revolutionized music and portable electronics – into the television industry.

Apple doesn’t want to compete with cable providers, though. Instead, the electronics giant is aiming to work alongside major television companies.

While the Apple TV has never been a huge seller, it does have a loyal following. A cable-ready set-top cable box makes sense for Apple, especially because it’s a way to get a foothold in the television market. It’s also an entry point for a future television set.

Apple’s current set-top box, the $99 Apple TV, provides access to Internet-based services like Netflix and YouTube in addition to its own iTunes, but it is not able to stream cable channels. That could change, if Apple manages to secure deals with cable operators.

Last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Glenn Britt, the CEO of Time Warner Cable. Time Warner is one of the major companies that Apple is currently negotiating with, says the WSJ.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr declined to comment on Apple’s alleged talks with cable companies, calling it “rumors and speculations.” Still, where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and Apple obviously has something television related in the works.

It could be a box, or a television set, but it’s clear at this point that Apple isn’t planning on revolutionizing the cable industry. Not yet, at least.

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