Speculation on Apples

It’s not just a hobby, but a professional sport. However, I’m going to step up as an amateur and speculate about some things that Apple might be doing, or at least that it should be doing.

So, iTV has an HDMI port. But, no Apple monitor has HDMI or HDCP support, even over DVI, I think, yeah? (Not even to the integrated screens in books and iMacs, right?) Yet. I expect that in the new year. At least one external model will get HDMI with HDCP support. Also, there were comments about the odd size of the iTV, but I think it’s pretty likely that the size was changed so that it would fit under a monitor. Because, until that support is there, there’s not much chance of either HD-DVD or BD-ROM movies on a Mac in HD, and if there’s no HD what’s the point?

I’ll tell you the number one thing I want in the iTV however is that it function as network attached storage. I want to be able to store all my music on the iTV and then sync between that volume and other machines in the house. Frankly, I want iTunes to recognize the iTV on the network and then seemlessly integrate that music into my iTunes library. The iTV should be the consumer level xserve.

(If only an iPod could be a realiable portable home folder, too. But, if you’ve ever mounted one person’s portable to another machine, you’ll see that there’s a clash between unix user IDs … That patent application about portable home folders had what looked like a possible solution, didn’t it?)

Oh, yeah, and about that hard drive. Let us all recall that Disney was testing out a set-top box for content delivery, which they pulled. I’d bet a dollar that the Disney box got a midnight visit from the black mock turtleneck wearing ninjas. The moviebeam service was supported by a set-top box that included a hard drive pre-loaded with 100 movies and would add 4 per month. The specs are surprisingly similar to what we know about the iTV so far. The set-top box was supposed to cost $199, when not rented. Well, Disney’s service was delayed, closed, but was thought to retool and come back again with HDTV support …. as part of the iTV offering, I wonder? Could iTV be one of the target embedded partners? No antenna that we know of, however, is part of the iTV.

And whither Moviebeam itself? Still alive on the web, anyway. They claim they will send me a box for $99, to which I can add an HD kit for another $40. And, do I get this right, there’s no subscription fees, just paying for the movies one wants? Kinda like iTunes music and movies, yeah? I also note that only a few movies are actually available in HD, and then only in 720p, which is … meh, okay.

Back in ’04, CNET quoted someone saying:

“These guys are all hovering about the same space–they’re thinking, ‘How do we push content to a disk drive and get it onto your TV set?’” said Kaufhold, who expects Disney to announce a new partner later this year.

Heh, new partner, yeah. By the prickling of my thumb, something Steve Jobs this way comes …

There’s one feature I want more than anything else in an iPhone: internet connectivity for my laptop. If I could toss Qwest for phone service and get reasonable Internet connectivity for my laptop on an iPhone, I’d jump in a heartbeat, unless there’s some other wild show stopper. If not good for connecting, then I’ll skip it. The only thing cooler than an iPhone would be an iTablet / Newton Unbound device of some kind …

No one seems to have commented on the odd naming of Filemaker, Apple’s database, when the new versions were introduced. If “Filemaker” became “Filemaker Pro” and “Filemaker Pro” bacame “Filemaker Pro Advanced” then what is the new “Filemaker”? I don’t think it dropped off the map. Anyone else think that a basic version will appear in iWork come the new year, along with the expected spreadsheet application?

(Has anyone built yet a wrapper around the CoreData framework to create a face for the built-in data storage now in OS X? Could the entry level FM be just that face?)

The only thing missing, if iWork adds spreadsheet and database and one accepts Pages as both layout and word processor, is the app for creating graphics to match the Appleworks package, I think. With CoreImage and other frameworks now available, a graphic tool might be in the future too.

(Can I hope for support of Openoffice and Open Document formats, too?)

Back in the day, Steve Jobs owned Write Up, a word processor, which ran on NeXT. What happened to that code, I wonder? I’ve wondered that since forever. I vaguely recall it was a nice package, certainly not perfect. I just don’t remember what happened to that.

As far as graphics go, there’s some stellar stuff out there. The whole Omnigroup quite of tools, including the new OmniPlan, have always been amazing. But, I have to wonder about the old Lighthouse apps that Sun swallowed in order to get at the Java code they had. I recall those apps as being quite nice as well, and frankly the inspiration for OmniGraffle is clearly in the lost Draw app.

(I still want to know if anyone has tried to run an old Intel NeXT binary on an Intel-based Mac. Anyone? Mac OS X recognizes apps, fails to show their proper icon, but when run simply compains that the binary is for a different architecture. When I asked someone at the Genius Bar in Tacoma, they didn’t know.) [cf]