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Steve Jobs' final testament: An Apple TV?

Just last week, we speculated about the likelihood of an Apple television, given Steve Jobs' recent ruminations to Walter Isaacson about how he was keen "to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones" by making them "simple and elegant."

More clues are now emerging that an Apple television's indeed in the works. Earlier today, Bloomberg ran a story reporting that Apple had put Jeff Robbin in charge of just such a project. Robbin, who was one of the key people behind the creation of the iPod and the iTunes media store, is considered one of the company's star engineers. There's a now-famous story making the rounds that Jobs was so concerned about potential poachers that he wouldn't allow Time to access Robbins unless they promised not to print his last name.

That doesn't seem to be an issue any longer. Robbins has reportedly been put in charge of the still-unofficial project, according to Bloomberg, which quoted three unnamed sources said to be familiar with Apple's plans.

One of Apple's goals for a new TV is to let users more seamlessly search for a show or movie, said one of the people. For example, instead of having to separately check to see if a movie or show is available through Netflix or a cable service, all the material could be integrated, this person said.

Separately, Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, a well-connected Apple analyst, issued a note reporting that the company already has a prototype TV and conceivably could introduce a commercial product within the next couple of years. His report, partly based on conversations with suppliers, also pointed out that Apple is investing in manufacturing facilities and finding supplies of LCD screens, key steps in any project aimed at bringing a television to market.

Although Apple doesn't talk about unannounced products, we do have one idea about the scope of idea which might drive the development of a new television device.

"It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine," Jobs told Isaacson in his newly-released biography "Steve Jobs."

Now all the rank-and-file have to do is make good on their legendary former leader's ambitious promise.

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