On Tuesday, cable industry veteran and technology development architect Jean-Francois Mule
revealed on his LinkedIn biography that he had been hired by Apple in September, and was the Engineering Director for a unnamed project, and described his role as "challenged, inspired and part of something big." The disclosure has re-fueled speculation that Apple may indeed
produce a branded HDTV set of some kind, or at least be working on a serious revamping of the Apple TV set-top box.
Mule was Senior Vice President of Technology Development at CableLabs, rising to that position in 2011 from his previous post as chief architect and director of PacketCable architecture -- a protocol that interconnects existing cable delivery methods and builds on the DOCSIS standard to enable high-quality IP and telphony services in addition to conventional broadband. Most cable systems that offer VOIP telephone service, on-demand gaming or video conferencing are using the technology today. He was founder of IPcera, a company created to help realize the dream of putting all forms of modern electronic communication through IP.
He is said to have been involved with the DOCSIS 3.0 program as well as having developed APIs for various "second screen" video apps. Due to its recent surge in popularity, Apple has been investing more effort into its "hobby" of the Apple TV, which is still a very minor participant in Apple's overall revenues and sales but has become a significant business by normal standards.
The company has added numerous channels, content and apps to the device in the past six months, and just last week added three more channels
, which require either an existing cable package or a separate subscription. Speculation has been rampant in the industry for years as to what Apple may have in mind, with only Tim Cook's admission that there is a "grand vision" begun by Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs to "fix" the television experience.