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Lots of buzz in Macland today as Apple gets ready for its big show: We’ll find out just what it is starting in about an hour or so.

Once again, the obvious bet is an iPod enabled cell phone. Since nothing has toppled the iPod yet, I suspect Apple has correctly figured out that they are more likely to get cannablilized by non-MP3 devices than pure MP3 players: It won’t be the Zune that dethrones them, but rather a combination of Treos, Blackberrys, and (LG) Chocolates that slowly eats into their market share.

So instead of letting the competition hurt them, Apple could cannabilize themselves. That remains the likely bet, with both a direct PC/Mac connection to as well as over-the-air downloads as integral. Will a Zune-like sharing feature be included? Considering how useless the RIAA has made this potentially neat feature, its hard to see Apple even bothering.

Other buzzworthy bets? The touchscreen iPod is the next most likely, followed by a set top box of some sort, and maybe a sooner-than-expected Leopard (OS 10.5) upgrade.

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For my money, I think they have more intriguing items in the queue. The September 2006 opre-announcement of iTV — streaming movies from your PC to your TV — makes it unlikely that my fantasy device will be rolled out this Macworld. But let’s indulge our imaginations a bit:  What might be more intriguing than a cell phone? What will rock the digital media world is a functional (ie, non-crashing) combination of big screen PC/DVR/DVD. 

Here’s what I want: a robust and truly functional iTV built into a 50 or 60" version of an iMac. Bring this in so it only costs marginally more than other flat screens — figure $3500. Then, build in all of the Front Row software controls into a full function remote control — TV, DVD, music, etc. Oh, and build in a TiVo for that matter (other DVRs don’t cut it).

But this could be more than an interactive television — there could be an eCommerce aspect to this: A smart contextual feature understands the content (i.e., reads the show description or the transcript) of the show you are watching, and, On Command, pulls up a list of relevant links –  transparent text down the left side of the screen which is selectable. Since this is a PC as well as a TV, it opens up all sorts of possibilities: If you are watching a movie, you can go to IMDB and get more info, then to the iTunes Music/Film Store for the download, or to  Amazon to buy the DVD.  Same with music, news, TV series, etc. 

That gets Apple into the coveted digital living room, makes convergence a reality, oh, and opens up an entire new stream of revenue for the company.

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Live blogging of MacWorld is here: MacRumors Live

Mac20060912

Category: Digital Media, Film, Television, Web/Tech

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20 Responses to “MacWorld’s Big Reveal?”

  1. James Bednar says:

    Here’s what I want: a robust and truly functional iTV built into a 50 or 60″ version of an iMac. Bring this in so it only costs marginally more than other flat screens — figure $3500. Then, build in all of the Front Row software controls into a full function remote control — TV, DVD, music, etc. Oh, and build in a TiVo for that matter (other DVRs don’t cut it).

    You have at least 80% of this functionality today. Simply plug your Mac Mini into your High-Def LCD. Only other expense is a bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the coffee table.

    The level of integration that you describe simply isn’t necessary. Let the consumer pick the display device that best suits their needs. You might like a 50″ panel, I might opt for a 140″ front projector.

    jb

  2. Bob A says:

    My guess is it’s a MiniMac or series of MiniMacs that makes phone calls, runs your TV, has a screen big enough to make it a useful computer and video player on the go, and comes with an option to have it surgically attached to your body.

  3. The key to me is the ability for SmartTV to be context sensitive, and offer one click access to useful items — I do the same now with a net enabled laptop.

  4. jlj says:

    Here is what I want: How about a decent iBook – electronic book that is useable and worthwhile. Make it the size of Time/Newsweek so that not only books but most magazines could be downloaded. Apple owns the music format, but phones and movies have too many big money players in that genre allready for Apple to dominate. If done well Apple could do to bookstores and Amazon what Ebay did to the classifieds – and the book publishers could even end up with more profit.

  5. Max says:

    You might like a 50″ panel, I might opt for a 140″ front projector.

    Just sit very close to the 50″ panel :)

  6. dryfly says:

    Sounds like somebody needs to show you guys where the ‘off’ button is once in a while.

    ;)

  7. Humbug says:

    Gorgeous idea. Not hard to do, either. Just like making another MP3 player isn’t hard to do.

    What *is* hard to do is to do it right. With the iPod, Apple proved that they understand the importance of doing it right, which may make them the perfect one’s to create your fantasy device.

    It would be enough to make me buy my first Apple.

  8. oracle0701 says:

    You have at least 80% of this functionality today. Simply plug your Mac Mini into your High-Def LCD. Only other expense is a bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the coffee table.

    Really? How does the DVR portion work?

  9. njAndrew says:

    Just announced, appleTV and iPhone. I see the TV on apple.com, not the phone yet.

    Andrew

  10. njAndrew says:

    MacTV
    * Mac + PC
    * Wi-Fi 802.11 wireless*
    * 40GB hard drive for up to 50 hours video
    * Apple Remote

    Ships: February
    Free Shipping
    $299.00

    Needs to be hooked up to a PC/Mac with internet connection.

    Andrew

  11. njAndrew says:

    On the phone…

    The phones, which will operate exclusively on AT&T Inc.’s Cingular wireless network, will start shipping in June. A 4-gigabyte model will cost $499, while an 8-gigabyte iPhone will be $599, Jobs said.

    “It’s just like an iPod,” Jobs said, “charge and synch.”

    Andrew

  12. muckdog says:

    I currently have my TV hooked up to a Linksys Media Extender. This allows me to stream video and audio content wirelessly over WiFi from my PC located in another section of the house.

    Works great. And it’s easy to set up.

    I’m not sure the Apple iPhone offers much that other less expensive smartphones already do. But it is Apple, and lots of folks are willing to pay more.

    Plus, Apple is a fashion statement. Who wants to be a “loser” with a Treo, Q or Blackjack when you can have an iPhone?

  13. brion says:

    want….iphone…..(drool)

  14. TP says:

    Not impressed with either. The phone looks cool, but does not add anything new (maybe Harddrive space?) and it is pricy for a phone. I am not sure what the TV adds either. I can already connect my MacBook Pro and do these things.

  15. Lauriston says:

    Forget the technology. Where Apple wins is in design, cool and wow-factor products. Jobs has done it again. This man is a marketing genius, but most people probably see him as a tech nerd. Have you seen how thin that thing is? I am going to use it when I next spread premium brie on crackers!

  16. F says:

    So I can choose an Ipod + a phone for $300 or I can get an iPhone for $600? Why would I ever choose the latter, except for if I won the lottery. No doubt, it’s sexy, and for $400 I might even consider it, but $600 seems a bit much.

  17. Fred says:

    When will I Tunes allow “lossless” downloads (eg. FLAC or SHN)??
    MP3 is a scam.

    Can I download WAV files onto it? (my current CD’s?)

    Does it make good coffee?? ;o)

  18. ganz says:

    It’s not just a phone and an iPod. It’s also a PDA with a ridiculous amount of functionality.

    This is the conversion of devices I wanted: 802.11g, EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0 EDF, MP3 player, > 1 MP still camera, video camera, phone, web browser, email client. And… it’s relatively small, and comes with Apple’s legendary interface cleverness.

    USD 600.00 for the 8GB version actually sounds good to me.

  19. Eclectic says:

    Most lovin’ I’ve seen since ‘Debbie does Dallas.’