Rumors have circulated about a future Apple TV that goes beyond what the company's current set-top box offers for years. While most of that speculation has focused on a full-on TV set, we're hearing some rumblings now about what the user experience might be like. According to former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin, Apple's next TV service will include some ad-skipping technology — much like the controversial Dish Hopper DVR. Lessin reports that talks with networks and cable companies have been going on in "fits and starts" for over a year, but talks have gotten more serious in recent discussions.
This ad-skipping technology would reportedly only show up in a "premium" version of the product — consumers would pay Apple, and the company would then compensate networks for the lost revenue. It sounds similar to Apple's recently-announced iTunes Radio, a free ad-supported service that can also be had without ads if users sign up for iTunes Match. While much of the Apple rumor-mill has focused on the potential for a future iWatch in recent months, it sounds like we might be hearing a lot about the "true" Apple TV set in over the rest of the year — and building in ad-skipping could certainly be the killer feature that it'll need to gain traction in a tough market.