This is the original Apple TV, from 1996

This is the original Apple TV, from 1996

The very first Apple TV was shipped in March of 2007 right? Well, perhaps the first Apple product to bear that name, but not the first Apple set-top box that aimed to do what the Apple TV does today. That honor goes to this device which Rob Gould of AOL says was called the ‘Pippen’.

Gould came in contact with the device when he was back at Bell Atlantic, now Verizon, and they were looking to partner with Apple on a set-top box offering. The images were sent to Randall Bennet of Vid++ and he posted them on his blog. Gould shared a couple of details:

When it boots, you see the Mac OS Finder on your TV and the inits start loading on the bottom of the screen.  It played video from MPEG1 streams at 1.544 mbps, which actually didn’t look bad at all in standard-def.

The box resembles nothing more than a standard cable company set-top box with an Apple logo plastered on the front. It’s a far cry from the hockey-puck shaped Apple TV of today, and a lot less powerful. There are some similarities though, in that the Apple TV of today also runs on the Apple desktop OS, albeit a much-scaled down version.

An interesting piece of Apple history to be sure. If this had been successful, we might even have a real ‘Apple Television’ by now. By-the-by, if the Pippen name sounds familiar, you may recognize it from Apple’s failed gaming console attempt, the Pippin.

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