It's hard to think what innovations Apple can truly bring to the TV industry when it does finally release Apple iTV. Samsung is currently leading the Smart TV charge with a multitude of app offerings ready and waiting to tap into your house's Wi-Fi network – so Apple can't use the same tact it did with the iPhone to win over fans.
It could bring its design prowess, but companies such as Loewe and B&O have brought the similar aesthetic flourishes to televisions that Apple is famed for – and there's only so much you can do with a rectangular box.
It could also move to bring streaming and real TV closer together but most set tops do this now and soon even games consoles such as the Xbox One will be battling with the likes of Chromecast to control your television habits.
This means that for Apple to truly change the TV channel, it will have to be clever about the features it will offer.
Its recent purchase of Matcha certainly proves that it is intelligently thinking about what people need from a smarter than average telly – the service offers a recommendation algorithm that is on a par with what Netflix currently offers.
This got TechRadar thinking: what other apps are out there that Apple could buy up and utilise for its stab at a goggle box – the services that will truly offer something different to its rivals. Here's our list, and don't forget to add your own in the comments below.
Headed up by the king of on-demand Anthony Rose, Zeebox is something special. It's an app that socialises your television viewing – rounding up Twitter and Facebook reaction to the latest shows, offering tidbits of information and adding an extra layer to your viewing, without getting in the way of the shows themselves.
There's a reason BSkyB invested heavily into Zeebox – it points to TV's polarised present, where a lot of the action takes place on the second screen.
Whereas Zeebox would be a pricey buy, GetGlue would be a bargain. Once the giant of TV check-ins, GetGlue's star has faded of late. But that doesn't mean there isn't decent stuff hidden within an app on the wane. In GetGlue's case it is its reams of check-in data.
Knowledge is power and Apple could do a lot worse than snap up data on what people are watching and when. With 4 million users still supplying the service with their viewing habits, Apple could leverage GetGlue's tech to become its very own Nielson ratings rival.
Yes it's a stupid name but that never stopped the likes of Art Garfunkel and P. Diddy from being successful. Viggle is on a big push to fix network television. Where on-demand content is currently the sexier alternative to broadcast TV, it offers rewards if you watch television live.
It uses a smidgen of bribery to make sure you regularly tune into channels rather than graze on streams or recorded shows. Television is badly in need of a loyalty card system and this is exactly what Viggle offers.
Just like its namesake, Miso is an app that wants to feed your hunger. But, in Miso's case, that hunger is for television. While it began as a plain-old check-in app, it has transformed itself into a content provider. This is thanks to a deal with DirectTV which means that you get extra content through the app - called Sideshows - when you watch particular shows.
Essentially it its the DVD extra of the app world which is no bad thing. If Apple did want to dip into its pockets, though, they may baulk at the idea of purchasing something that has Google's fingerprints all over it – the search giant invested a chunk of change into Miso back in 2011.
Given that the SuperBowl and Olympics bring in record numbers of TV viewers every time they are shown, sport is not a bad niche for a TV app to tap into. Working over nine sports from 194 countries, the app lets you exchange messages in real time while a game is on. It's a silo from Twitter and the like but this is no bad thing as it offers a number of ways to enhance the way you watch your sport – bringing the perfect forum to pitch in about what is happening on the pitch.
Given that Shazam now recognises audio from 10 channels in the US, the social discovery app is perfect for Apple. Like GetGlue, every time it is used the data is logged so channel and show popularity can be seen in real time. And then there's the Shazam effect for adverts.
If Apple managed to use Shazam in a way to gamify advertising, so people actually watch the annoying bits in between shows rather than fast-forward, then dollar signs will soon appear.
Plex already works well with Apple's devices (through a clever DNS interruption) but it would work even better if it was deeply integrated into Apple TV. Apple has never really liked its users to use any format that they want to view video so it's up to clients such as Plex to make sure whatever your media library consists of it plays nicely with an iDevice.
And in turn, this would make Apple's TV the ultimate place for all your media needs – no matter what pipe they come through.
Amazon may hold the keys to IMDB but it is Apple that should seriously think about snapping up the film and TV database. The sheer amount of data available about pretty much every actor and actress who has ever been on film would marry well with the ultimate television setup.
Instead of being on a second screen IMDB could revolutionise Apple's EPG with relevant information and a glut of recommendations - much like how Virgin Media's TiVo box delves into actor profiles. Given that you can now also buy movie tickets through the service, this would mean that Apple could rule your viewing even when your eyes are transfixed on its television set.
No wonder Amazon is rumoured to be making its own set-top box. With services such as IMDB in its family, it could be a serious TV contender – something Apple can snuff out with one swift but pricey purchase.
It may be best known for its mobile and desktop browsers but Opera may soon take the Smart TV market by stealth. The company already has an SDK for televisions that Panasonic and others are using, which means that 50 million or so devices are operating Opera for their Smart TV setups.
Some technology it is bringing to market, which Apple could do with, is seamless side-by-side app and TV connectivity and it is busy working on ways to bring the millions it is making in ad revenue through its browsers to television.
10 Gracenote Now TV sync
Gracenote is already the hidden power behind iTunes. It's thanks to them that you don't have to type the name of every track you upload to the service. Gracenote has recently moved the focus of its data banks to televisions, offering an API that brings information about your favourite shows to a second-screen app.
At the moment, the app offers unofficial information about shows but the power of Gracenote's audio fingerprinting is what should be of interest to Apple – imagine this combined with IMDB's database and you will never want to turn your television off again.