New Load of Apple Stuff

video ipodApple just relased a big batch of new stuff, including the rumored iPod Video, some new iMacs, and a new version of iTunes.

You can find the details for all the new stuff on the Apple site. I did want to comment a bit on what some of these new things mean. It looks like Apple is definitely moving (albeit a little slower than their competitors) into the computer as a set top box, or a home entertainment PC. The biggest indication is the new Front Row software plus remote that now comes preinstalled on every iMac. It pretty much does what Windows Media Center Edition and all the other HTPC apps are doing without one piece the TV recording capability. That one piece is a little surprising to me since the DVR market is becoming more and more popular. Way back when, Apple used to put TV tuners into several models of the Macintosh. Maybe this is the direction that Apple is ultimately moving and they’re just going a little slower than I’d like (why would they care what I’d like?). It just seems like an obvious move especially with the introduction of the iPod Video and the ability to download a TV shows they would want you to be able to move those shows around either from an entertainment computer to your iPod/iTunes etc. And maybe that is what they want, but are limited by the wishes of the entertainment industry. I guess that’s what happens when you make deals with the devil. It just would be pretty slick if you were seamlessly transfer media from DVD or TV shows to your TV, or your new entertainment Mac to the new video iPod without having to jump through a million different hurdles. Maybe that’s what Apple has on tap for the future, but all their competitors (w/out the standard slick Apple interface) are starting to do that now, or have been doing it for quite some time.

Just take a look at Windows Media Center Edition. It handles all of the media that the new Front Row does plus it records TV in a Tivo-like fashion. Plus it allows you to move your media around via wireless or onto portable devices (both video and audio players). There is even a Media Center Extender for Xbox to view/move your media to an Xbox on your network. How tough would it be for Apple to add this functionality to their platform? They’ve got the perfect sized container for it now with the Mac Mini (it just needs some sort of TV tuner). How hard would it be to connect this all together with your iPod, making it possible to move audio, photos, or video into the device? Now with the ability to buy $1.99 TV shows via iTunes, you could even get content via the internet to watch on the entertainment Mac attached to your TV, or on the road via your new iPod Video. Just think what audio podcasting has done for creation of new audio content and imagine what would be possible with video if there were a nice platform to play it on.

This all just seems like a no-brainer to me. Maybe it is to Apple too, and we’ll see something like this coming down the road in the future. I just hope that these companies are too married to the entertainment industry that they aren’t able to deliver what people want because they’re so locked down with DRM to be worth anything to anyone.

3 Comments

gravatar Jon

I think you hit the nail on the head when you were talking about making deals with the devil. My guess (this is only a guess) is that Apple could either A) Sell video content on iTunes, or B) Integrate a TV tuner and make “free” (no extra fees, you already pay for TV) cable shows easily available for iPod transfer via iTunes. I’m not sure why I think they were forced to pick one or the other, probably because lack of a capture device is such an obvious hole in the product, and legally downloaded mainstream TV shows is pretty revolutionary. I’m guessing it’s a trade off they were forced to make. But wow, ABC seems to be leading the way, but if other content providers follow suit this could revolutionize how television is distributed.

Front Row may be easy to setup and use (I’m assuming) and that’s great for a mass audience, but my preference would still be for Meedio as a front-end. It has TONS of options and almost unlimited flexibility.

I’m glad to see you updated you website, I was getting worried.

my 3 cents,
–Jon

gravatar Scott

The weird thing is they kind of do it for music though. You can either rip the music from CD’s or you can pay and download it from iTunes. I have to hope that something is still coming in the area of TV capture etc.

I would agree with you on the Meedio HTPC front-end. I would much rather use that system (or one of the several available) instead of Front Row. It really doesn’t look like too much yet… really just a pretty interface for iTunes. It needs much more to really be worth anything. It needs quite a few more features and extensions before I would consider going that direction. I bet that you’d never get the customization and flexibility that Meedio gives you though… but who knows. I would definitely go with the Meedio-like solution too.

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