Apple TV in the Woods - 01

Apple is expected to announce a major refresh for its set-top box, Apple TV, later this year, and an old internal email may reveal what to expect from the update. A 2010 exchange between Steve Jobs and his top executives unearthed during the latest Apple-Samsung patent trial includes a set of bullet points describing an Apple TV 2 with tons of new features including live TV subscriptions, apps and a web browser.

In the email, Jobs writes that Apple TV should be a “must have” for anyone already using an iOS device. His strategy for accomplishing that goal included adding content from NBC, CBS, Viacom, HBO and even live TV. Other possibilities included apps, a built-in web browser and something called a “magic wand,” which is described in multiple Apple patents as a motion-based remote control.

Apple has succeeded in adding more content to its set-top box, including HBO GO, also introducing 1080p video support and a revamped UI in a 2012 update. But with growing competition in the living room from some of the biggest competitors including Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Sony, Apple needs to breathe new life into its own streaming device if it wants to stay ahead of the pack. The strategy laid out by Jobs four years ago could still work today, though whether the company can pull it off without its former leader is unclear.