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Apple hires longtime cable exec as engineering director for 'something big'

Cable television industry veteran Jean-François Mulé will take an engineering position at Apple for an undisclosed project, rekindling speculation that the Cupertino company is further developing a set-top cable box.

Mulé revealed his new position in a post to his LinkedIn page on Tuesday (via Multichannel), noting that he started working at Apple in September. Under the Experience column, Mulé said he would be "Challenged, inspired and part of something big" in his role as Engineering Director.

The hire was confirmed by Mulé's most recent employer CableLabs, which is now looking to fill the outgoing executive's former position of Senior VP of Technology Development.

Mulé has a pedigree in cable technology, and most recently worked for two years as CableLabs' SVP of Technology Development. During that time, he founded the firm's San Francisco office, which is currently building out a new research and development center in Sunnyvale, Calif. Prior to that, Mulé served as CableLabs' director of PacketCable Architecture and chief architect.

According to Multichannel, Mulé was involved in a number of high-profile initiatives, including CableLabs' DOCSIS 3.0 program and the creation of APIs for so-called "second screen" video apps.

It is unclear what Apple may have in mind with its new hire, but the company has recently been aggressively updating Apple TV software to include more channels and content. Rumors have it that Apple is looking to disrupt the cable set-top box market with a unique streaming device that ties in iCloud and possibly iOS device to create a cohesive ecosystem.

Most recently, rumblings indicate a next-generation Apple TV may hit store shelves as soon as OctoberT, though the exact hardware specifications are unknown. The third-generation Apple TV was released in March of 2012, though hardware updates have been sporadic since the device first launched in 2007.