When it comes to the bevy of Apple HDTV rumors that seasonally spring up, Steve Jobs' quote about "finally cracking the HDTV puzzle" is often referenced as proof positive that an Apple-branded television is in the works.
The passage in question, taken from Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs bio, reads as follows:
'I'd like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,' he told me. 'It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.' No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. 'It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.'
On the surface, this sounds rather telling, not to mention curious given Jobs' penchant for keeping Apple's product plans shrouded in secrecy.
But what isn't often referenced, for some peculiar reason, is an interview Isaacson conducted with CNET a few weeks after Jobs' death. During the course of the interview, Isaacson contextualized Jobs' remarks about finally cracking the puzzle of an integrated TV set.
Q: How far along were they on the TV? Did you get any indication of that when talking to Jobs?
Isaacson: They weren't close at all. He told me it was very theoretical. These were theoretical things they were thinking about in the future.
To that end, it's hard to construe Jobs' quote as some enormous slip-up that tipped Apple's hand as to its future product plans. As Isaacson alluded to during the interview, it seems more than likely that Jobs' quote about "cracking" the HDTV puzzle was nothing more than a reflection of what Jobs thought an Apple branded TV should be.
As it stands today, there's remains no convincing shred of evidence that Apple is currently working to release an HDTV anytime soon.