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AlBlue’s Blog

Macs, Modularity and More

A touch of frost in Hell

2005, mac

Well, Steve Jobs has done it again. Just when all the rumour mills had finally decided that an iPod Video wouldn't be there, the iPod Video has been launched. Combining it with the iPod Nano has resulted in Apple's best ever quarter.

It's nice to see that one of the main selling points for the new iPod Video is that you'll be able to view TV programs on your iPod through (as postulated in an earlier blog entry. The problem being that there's no legal way to rip DVDs to the iPod, so they're touting the TV and music videos as being the way forward. It's not going to be long before the media cartels realise that this is a great way of delivering movies -- and as soon as the internet infrastructure (i.e. 10mbps networking to your house) becomes reliable enough, we'll also see that happening.

Another news event from Apple highlighted the fact that the new iMac has also been released. It's very similar to the old one (the usual bumps of technology, like AirportExtreme and Bluetooth EDR 2.0 built in, but a new feature -- a built in iSight. They're making it really easy for people to get into the video conferencing act, and it's probably going to be of similar quality to existing iSights; though the question remains how easy it is to hide (iSight cameras have a rotating front apeture which can be used to turn off the iSight) or indeed focus/move. I expect that they've thought of everything though, so at the very least I'd expect an iSight menu option or software preference panel that can pan and scan.

Importantly, the new iMac also comes with a new software app called Front Row. I expect that it will be available as an after-market add on to existing macs in the future (say, just after Christmas) but for now it's a selling point for the iMac. This looks like Apple's first foray into the territory of Windows Media Center (or TiVo, for that matter). I expect that it won't take off massively, but by the time Front Row 2.0 is announced in time for new intel boxes arriving, it will probably rock and be a turning point for most people with software PVRs. I expect that Elgato are probably rubbing their hands with glee at this, and that they'll integrate functionality into the Front Row plugins to allow it to control their TV package.

It also comes complete with a remote control, which can be used to control either an iPod in a dock, or the Front Row software on an iMac. It's basically a remote iPod type dial (it looks like a shuffle, except for the black IR window at the top) and I expect the Front Row menus will be the usual up/down/scroll etc. I can't see it replacing everything (for example; why not have volume controls separately?) but it's a really neat idea. If only it were possible to get an iMac with a 52" widescreen instead of the pathetic 17" widescreens ...

Lastly, it may not have been trumpeted but this is the first Mac to ship a Mighty Mouse as a default mouse instead of the pro mouse. I wonder where I read that before?