The long-running saga of the unannounced but long-rumored Apple television may have met a quiet end a year ago.

Apple's long been rumored (and pressured by certain investors and analysts) to enter the television market with a proper Apple Television. But according to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple shelved plans to put out their own camera-equipped UHD display more than a year ago, despite nearly a decade of research and development.

What reportedly led Apple to reportedly pull the plug (again, this is a project that's never been publicly confirmed or really even hinted at in anything other than oblique references to "new product categories" ā€” which could be anything)? A lack of differentiating features and a cutthroat retail market:

Apple had searched for breakthrough features to justify building an Apple-branded television set, those people said. In addition to an ultra-high-definition display, Apple considered adding sensor-equipped cameras so viewers could make video calls through the set, they said.

Ultimately, though, Apple executives didn't consider any of those features compelling enough to enter the highly competitive television market, led by Samsung Electronics Co. Apple typically likes to enter a new product area with innovative technology and easier-to-use software.

It's worth noting that even if Apple is done with television displays, there's no reason to expect that they're completely putting TV behind them. The Apple TV set-top box is one of the leading devices of its type, and Apple's iTunes television and movie stores lead the purchase model of content delivery and consumption. Late Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs was quoted in the Walter Issacson biography that Apple had "finally cracked" the problems that plagued the smart TV interface (though we've yet to see a major rethink in TV interfaces from Apple or any other TV manufacturer since the 2011 publishing of that biography).

Regardless, if the Wall Street Journal's sources pan out, it seems we're not likely to see an Apple TV set any time soon. But perhaps a new Apple TV box is waiting in the wings instead.

Source: Wall Street Journal