NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I spend countless hours questioning what I think I know about everything from reasons for my existence to less lofty propositions such as what will Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report do next and can Intel (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report succeed in the living room?
It's a tortuous process that usually ends with frustration upon the realization that
I know nothing, followed by the decision to move forward anyway with careful consideration, reflection and introspection.
It's liberating to come to the conclusion that you know nothing. This seemingly unfortunate outcome keeps you humble, but, more importantly, keeps the wheels of critical thought turning. Because, if you discovered you actually know something, you might shut off that portion of your investigation. Not good.
All of this to say, very few people have even the foggiest idea of what's happening inside Apple. Sadly, all of the latest rumors combine to create a false perception of reality that brings us to what we have now --
We have access to the former because it's cheap -- often free -- and the folks who craft the media's Apple want to let us in. They require our participation. Apple has no interest and no reason to let anybody, other than those already on the inside, behind the curtain.
Intel doesn't say much either. However, in an excellent interview with
, Erik Huggers, the President of Intel Media -- the division that might actually save Intel from an embarrassing death spiral -- said a heck of a lot more than Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have combined to say about the living room in the last five years.
Here's what we know, straight from Huggers' mouth:
- Intel will do a set-top box. In fact, it already has one, you just aren't allowed to see it. Yet.
- It has a unique brand name, but Huggers can't tell us what it is.
- We'll probably see it before the end of the year.
- Talks with big media companies are going well.
- The consumer will have better control over what they consume and when they consume it.
- You should be able to do things such as take one Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. Report account and personalize it for individual users. No more seeing your kids recommendations when you sit down to binge on Netflix.
That's at least the good stuff I took away from Huggers' talk.
He's a confident guy. Clearly smart. And I like him, in part, because he made it a point to say that Intel Media is completely separate from the Intel we know. A separate building, plenty of new outside hires, and a totally different culture. But then, as to not offend or send a message contrary to the company line, he threw in
but we're really proud to be part of this great Silicon Valley beast with so much history
. I read you loud and clear, brother.
Anyway, as I watched Huggers riff quite candidly on Intel's plans, I couldn't help but think, re: Apple:
Why bother getting into this mess of content negotiations and such when you can make a television -- a piece of hardware -- that is premium-priced and blows everything else away, just like iPod did to the Walkman, iPhone did to the mobile phone and iPad did to the PC laptop?
If Apple did what it does best -- produced a beautiful, easy-to-use piece of hardware -- and called it a television, it could win at the same time as Intel wins by putting a chip into a new-fangled cable box with Huggers' brain behind it.
There's meaningful competition and there's unnecessary stupidity. Apple and Intel, not to mention the slew of others already in and/or about to enter the field, putting out dueling set-top boxes makes no sense.
I smell a partnership. I smell Huggers and Intel Media, in conjunction with Apple, saving Intel's hide. Huggers isn't stupid. He's not dumb either. Same goes for Tim Cook. Apple and Intel are talking to one another.
Granted, I know nothing, but that doesn't keep me from putting two and two together.
God have mercy on the man / Who doubts what he's sure of
Bruce Springsteen, "Brilliant Disguise"
Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is
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