Thursday, September 23, 2004

Futuristic Macs

I ran across a couple of very interesting pages today that I just have to comment on.

First, Dennis Sellers wants a Home Automation Server. That can do all these things:

• A centralized iTunes server
• A centralized DVR (digital video recorder)
• X10 controller
• Security camera controller
• Sensor monitor (camera motion sensors, temperature, humidity, RFID, etc., that aren’t necessarily computer related)
• Phone manager (voice mail, fax, call logs, etc.)
• Print and file server

That is a very ambitious list. Looking at how Apple is positioned as a Computer and Music company. I could see Apple doing something more limited that works with what they have already done.

An Airport iTunes Jukebox.

Airport basestations already can be print servers so that is taken care of.
AirTunes can send music over WiFi so that is taken care of.
To be a file and iTunes server it needs a hard drive
It also needs an Operating System, but a limited form of OSX Server could do that work, though a consumer interface would be needed.
Since this is not a portable music device how about putting it in with the home theater system so it is next to the amplifier and speakers.
And since it is in with the home theater system how about connecting up to the TV where we can setup playlists and even connect to the iTunes Store to download the latest pop song. If this is successful then they could add a DVR version later just like how the iPod has been expanding in capabilities.
I don't really want my printer next to my home theater but then that is what an AirPort Express is good for.
Oh and it will need a really good remote, not a problem for Apple, and include a Wireless Keyboard and Mouse.

This is something that leverages what Apple is already good at and know for: Computers and Music. The sensors and cameras and other stuff while score highly on the geek scale, just don't seem to matter to most people. I have heard far more people, including myself, talk about having those things but I know no one that has really taken that plunge. However, give the Jukebox a Firewire port or two and if it is important people can just pull in a box that handles the physical interface and the Jukebox can do the rest.


The other page is The Mac Night Owl who want half an iMac.
Personally, I love the idea of a pizza box iMac.
My question is what would happen to the eMac? It would likely have to be cannibalized as few people would buy it.

I wonder if the real reason that Apple doesn't sell headless consumer products is that the cheap monitors are really nasty to look at after not too long. And when you are on the computer what are you spending most of your time looking at: the monitor. If you can afford a PowerMac you will likely by able to afford and know enough to get a good monitor to go with it.
A Headless iMac would be bought with cost being the primary issue and they would buy a monitor the same way. I have not tested this but Aqua might not look too good on a cheap monitor. This would reflect badly on Apple, even though Apple would have no control over what monitor you would buy that way, it happens all the time.

Apple doesn't compete at the low-end. They are positioned as a premium product and they can't sell at the low-end if they want to keep up that image. Is that good or bad, I don't know yet, but it seems to work as Apple is profitable.

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