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Apple iTV Already Exists, Say Sources

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Things are starting to get interesting.

Yesterday, the Verge got its hands on a few screenshots of an odd Best Buy (BBY) survey that centered around a feature-filled HDTV by Apple (AAPL). Although it's been rumored for years now, the survey spoke of the device as if it had been confirmed and practically on its way into production. The supposed 42" 1080p LED set was slapped with a conspicuously high "Apple Premium" price of $1,499 and loaded with features like an iOS interface, iCloud service, Netflix (NFLX) and YouTube (GOOG) support, and an iSight camera suitable for Skype (MSFT).

However, the latter feature -- which mentioned the abandoned brand iSight, as well as Skype for the video chat service rather than Apple's FaceTime -- may have been a tip-off that the survey wasn't sanctioned by Cupertino. Despite the mention of a legitimate patent filed by Apple for a universal remote app for the iPhone, the whole survey looked to be testing marketability rather than confirming existence.

But now, sources in Canada claim that local broadband carriers Rogers Communication (RCI) and Bell Canada (BCE) are not only in talks with Apple to carry the iTV, the two companies already have their hands on prototypes of the device.

According to inside information provided to The Globe and Mail, Rogers and Bell "already have the product in their labs." Apple purportedly approached the two Canadian carriers and is said to be interested in pursuing a partnership.

"They're not closed to doing it with one [company] or doing it with two," one source told the paper. "They're looking for a partner. They're looking for someone with wireless and broadband capabilities."

Jeffries analyst Peter Misek adds credence to the rumor, saying Apple is in a "good position" to leverage relationships with top carriers. He added that the iTV will likely be offered by Rogers and Bell in Canada, and AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ) in the States.

As for the prototypes themselves, the sources say the iTV's features are not too far off from what Best Buy's survey listed. Along with video chat and iPhone remote compatibility, the sets will apparently be equipped with Siri voice recognition as well as hand gesture controls -- which would finally add purpose to TV viewers yelling at and flipping off the screen.

With Smart TVs and media centers more popular and accessibly than ever, the market is prime for Apple's foray into revolutionizing the TV industry and finally ending the average viewer's dependence on the archaic and obsolete cable TV subscription.

And let's hope that, this time out, it won't be a hobby.

(See also: Apple Gets Brutally, Hilariously Slammed by Conan O'Brien and iPhone Can't Match Android's Versatility, Says Steve Wozniak)

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