Apple Hires Cable Guy to Work on Mystery Project

CableLabs exec Jean-François Mulé joins technology giant as engineering director

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Apple has hired longtime cable engineering exec Jean-François Mulé — whose background includes developing TV apps and Internet voice and video technologies — to do… something.

Mulé, previously senior VP of technology development at the operator-owned CableLabs consortium, is now director of engineering at Apple. “Challenged, inspired and part of something big,” Mulé writes cryptically in a description of the Apple gig on his LinkedIn profile.

Apple, once seen as a disruptive challenger to cable TV, has been building ties to the pay TV biz. The company has been adding cable networks’ TV Everywhere video services to the Apple TV set-top, while it’s also reportedly working with Time Warner Cable to bring the cable operator’s TWC TV app to the device.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has referred vaguely to a “grand vision” for television, but the company has been tight-lipped about plans so as not to tip off competitors. Wall Street has been expecting a bigger foray by Apple into the living room beyond the $99 hockey-puck-size set-top, including potentially an integrated TV set.

SEE ALSO: Apple TV Keeps Bolstering Pay TV’s Business Model

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As usual, Apple is keeping mum on what, exactly, Mulé will be doing at the tech giant. News of his move to Apple was first reported by Multichannel News.

Mulé in 2011 led the formation of CableLabs’ Bay Area office, an outpost for the R&D group’s Denver headquarters to collaborate with Silicon Valley firms. In that role, he led development of a Wi-Fi app designed to connect users to the best possible hotspot. From 2005 to 2011 he ran his own consulting firm, IPcera, focused on developing real-time Internet communication and mobile apps, and prior to that worked at CableLabs in various roles.

This summer, Apple hired Pete Distad, formerly Hulu’s head of marketing and distribution, as VP of product marketing. While Apple confirmed he had joined the company, it wouldn’t provide details on what Distad is doing.

SEE ALSO: Apple Set-Tops Are Groundwork for ‘Grand Vision’ in TV, CEO Says