No real surprises with Apple's latest product releases. A video iPod, an updated iTunes (selling video no less) and an updated iMac (featuring integrated iSight). Perhaps the most interesting product in all of this is the iMac's new Remote and the application called Front Row.
Front row seems to be a TV friendly application for browsing your media (photos, DVD's, movies etc) with the previously mentioned remote. All good so far.
But Apple seem to be under the assumption that people will watch films on their computer. True, some people will. Most people won't however. No matter how much 'cool' you throw our way Steve, an iMac is not a telly. Yet.
For years I think Apple have missed a vital component in the iMac - a TV tuner, or now built in digital free view. This technology already exists as a third party peripheral, it really isn't too much bother to include it. Then your average student would have it all - TV, DVD player and computer now sporting a rather convenient remote. The trouble is, Apple haven't done that and we're left with a big gap in the march to convergence.
That gap is a something that has been doing the rumor rounds this week. A video Airport Express.
If Apple were to release this (and put a digital tuner in the iMac), it won't really be a surprise to me, but coupled with Apple's marketing savvy and the success of the iPod, it has the power change the way people watch TV.
So, Apple, here's what you need to do:
- Get some deals struck with movie studios and distributors
- Sort out any DRM issues
- Make the new Remote work with the new video Airport Express
- Release the video Airport Express
- Oh and add a digital tuner to the iMac
- In fact, why not add a half a terabyte hard drive to the video Airport Express and call it something like 'iHome' (yes, I know there were fake images of this circulating a while ago).
I have an Airport Express and it's already changed the way my wife and I listen to music. We don't use CD's anymore. We save space by not having oodles of jewel cases everywhere. My wife and I have different playlists for different things etc. It's all good. So, imagine what would happen if Apple were to do all of this. We could have quick access to all our digital photos for when the Parents-In-law come round, we could also download the latest film to watch (if, like us you live nowhere near a video store, this kind of thing would be a Godsend). This list goes on and on.
Mind you, if you were to ask my wife, she would say 'why do we need that?'.