Rogers and Bell vying for a bite of Apple’s iTV

According to the Globe and Mail, Rogers and Bell are in talks with Apple to become Canadian launch partners for its much-hyped Apple iTV.

While the iTV product remains cloaked in secrecy sources say Apple has approached Rogers and Bell as it actively pursues partnerships with Canadian carriers.

Another source, also speaking to the Globe and Mail on the condition of anonymity, said Rogers and Bell already have the product in their labs.

Apple iTV has the potential to revolutionize TV viewing by turning conventional televisions into gigantic iPads. The product reportedly integrates Siri, Apple’s voice-recognition software that acts as a personal assistant on the latest iPhone, into television sets to help viewers make programming choices.

Viewers can then control the TV by voice or hand gestures, all from the comfort of a couch. An on-screen keyboard, meanwhile, can also be activated in a similar manner, allowing viewers to surf the web, conduct video chats and use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook – all without any physical interface.

If it is true that Rogers and Bell have a headstart on Apple iTV, where does this leave rival Telus?

Apparently blazing their own trail. The Globe and Mail’s sources say Telus is on the brink of unveiling new technology that would give its customers the ability to control its Optik TV product through voice commands and hand gestures. The Optik TV service would also be extended to computers and tablets over a home WIFI connection and to smartphones on its wireless network.