The entertainment industry has been waiting since last year for Apple to unveil a device that would simplify TV navigation the way the iPod and iTunes did for music. But it seems the company won’t have anything out by the end of 2012 Bloomberg reports today citing “a person familiar with the company’s plans.” The problem: Cable operators pretty much control TV distribution, and they don’t like the idea of having Apple come between them and their customers. CEO Tim Cook has been talking with operators about several possibilities, including the development of an Apple set-top box— but they seem to have gone nowhere. Without cable’s cooperation, Apple would have two clunky options to offer a device that incorporates conventional TV programming: It could plug into operators’ set top boxes, or it could unencrypt signals by using a CableCard. Cable operators have dragged their feet in supporting CableCards and, as a result, few consumer electronics companies have built products around it. Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he had “cracked” a way to create “an integrated television set” that would be “seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.” This past May Cook said that television is “an area of intense interest for us.” He added: “We are going to keep pulling the string and see where this takes us.”
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