More on Apple's Secret New Device

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Date: Monday, October 22nd, 2001, 14:13
Category: Archive

Apple sent out press announcements last week indicating that they plan to announce a new device on Tuesday 23 October 2001 (Tomorrow) that is “not a Mac.” Go2Mac sources close to the project are mum saying only that “everyone will want one” and “on a scale of 1-10, it is a 12.” Strong words indeed.

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Prototype of the Kerbango Internet Radio

Time for a little deductive reasoning. First, if the device is not a Mac, then it seems highly likely that it is a piece of hardware. After all, most people get more excited for new hardware than they do for software. Second, music seems like a logical genre for the device because music is the universal language and has a very broad appeal. Last, a music/audio device could use iTunes and QuickTime technology and would fit perfectly in Steve Jobs’ “Digital Hub” strategy.


Apple sent out press announcements last week indicating that they plan to announce a new device on Tuesday 23 October 2001 (Tomorrow) that is “not a Mac.” Go2Mac sources close to the project are mum saying only that “everyone will want one” and “on a scale of 1-10, it is an 11.” Strong words indeed.

 WIDTH=
Prototype of the Kerbango Internet Radio

Time for a little deductive reasoning. First, if the device is not a Mac, then it seems highly likely that it is a piece of hardware. After all, most people get more excited for new hardware than they do for software. Second, music seems like a logical genre for the device because music is the universal language and has a very broad appeal. Last, a music/audio device could use iTunes and QuickTime technology and would fit perfectly in Steve Jobs’ “Digital Hub” strategy.

That said, Go2Mac takes this opportunity to prognosticate on what the new device will be. Our suggestions have been broken down into categories, hardware and software. We are pretty sure that the device will be one of the following 🙂

Hardware:

  • A standalone MP3 player
  • An MP3 audio server for your home stereo with FireWire, Airport
  • A personal studio device for musicians to record music to MP3
  • A Mac Karaoke device
  • A new faster Airport Base Station with 802.11/BlueTooth and BlueTooth PC and PCI cards
  • An Apple Personal Video Recorder (PVR) like TIVO with a FireWire port
  • iPalm, matching Mac colors and built for Apple by Palm (also includes announcement that Palm Desktop is now Mac OS X native.)

Your feedback:


Given that:

  • iTunes’ Internet radio stations came from Kerbango…
  • Kerbango was bought by 3COM…
  • 3COM killed it’s appliance division in 3/01…
  • iTunes’ ‘net radio stations still work…
  • SoundJam contained a stream broadcaster which vanished in iTunes…
  • The Kerbango web site aggregated lots and lots of ‘net radio…
  • The Kerbango Radio was an AM/FM/net radio, with built-in speakers and also connected directly to your stereo…
  • The Kerbango Radio was a PowerPC-based Linux device…
  • The Kerbango executive team were all ex-Apple and Power Computing…
  • The Radio was tantalizingly close to shipping when 3COM killed the appliance division.

Here’s my guess. (Also see the picture above.)

Conjecture:
Apple bought the assets from 3COM for a song and is bringing the radio to market, updating the hardware for a Jonathan Ives look. They added software so that it’ll receive a stream being broadcast by (updated) iTunes, OR it’ll glom onto iTunes’ Library and playlists over the network from your Mac. The USB ports may even allow directly-attached USB hard drives full of MP3s. [Andrew Laurence]


I saw on this: Compact Flash card with 802.11 (WiFi). Combine that with an MP3 player… just an idea on my part for the Apple music device. [JH]


Apple will take one of the devices below (some a good year old), make it "Airport Ready", integrate it will iTunes, add some staple Apple industrial design and call it "breakthrough"? I hardly think it would be so. As good as Apple’s marketing machine is, I think a number of people would find the "breakthrough" idea a little hard to swallow…. but then there will be others that won’t. Personally I would prefer to see the "tethered tablet" type concept.

Dell Digital Audio Receiver [link 1 and 2] “Totally new technology. ONLY from Dell.”

Read the last line here “breaks new ground…” (08/07/2000)

Also Rio (Can you say “digital hub?”) Or Compaq. Here is a list of ten companies with similar devices. [mark]


It is a new high speed Airport…built with the new lower cost wireless chips, high speed IBM G3, and PixelWorks video chips, has a TV tuner built in and streams video over Firewire, if you hook Apple TFT displays to it you get HDTV. Their displays will get a huge price drop. 21" $999.[mac_yoda]


Remember back in the beginning days of FireWire we were hearing that FireWire was going to be the RCA jack of the 21st century, right?

So, do YOU have any FireWire jacks on YOUR stereo system, neither do I.

What if the device is a firewire interface between your computer and your stereo system so that you can play on those MP3 files on something other then your computer speakers. AND, while we are at it why not a way to play the iTunes "lava lamp" feature on your TV set or projection system.

I have heard of a utility that is available that allows you to play any DV encoded signal out your firewire port, regardless of what application it is playing in. What if iTunes were to output a DV signal and it would travel, through the "Device", out to your TV screen while the audio was being pumped thru our stereo system.

Pretty cool, huh?

Make it $100 bucks and take the revenue generated if one tenth of the 25,000,000 mac users bought one (say for Christmas)? Lets see, that totals up to $250,000,000.

Now take that money and apply it to the final stages of the R&D of the G5’s, that ought to make a dent, don’t you think? [fen]


Announcements like these are usually connected to… announcements from the manufacturers of the hardware.

PixelWorks and Samsung announced their super low cost TFTs last week. I think the PW chips allow video in as well as simplifying the computer interface.

Remember the Apple investment in Samsung for cheaper displays, was that 2 or 3 years ago about how long there things take to pay off.

I posted a comment about this in MacCentral last week and shortly after got banned from the site for reasons that did not really make much sense, I think it is because I love to speculate about these new products and may have been too close to the mark![mac_yoda]


After my first comment I remembered that after I first got my TiG4 I was experimenting with my Canon Elura. I was filming and recording real time to iMovie and when I reviewed my recording found out that iMovie had apparently recorded sound from the TiG4 microphone as well as the Elura mics which record stereo 12 bit sound that usually sounds like 16 bit.

The speakers on the Mac and Elura were also on, low, at the time and seemed to be set just right so that no feedback occurred. The camera sat on the table about a foot away from the Mac.

The recording was awesome the eco/Reverb, was very noticeable but the quality of voices mostly in the background was excellent, it just sounds more realistic, more lively.

I posted on MacCentral what had happened, how I got reverb.

I have long thought that if someone could come up with a mostly software based, inexpensive, karaoke product they would have a real hit. If Apple were to make this product their connections with education and popularity in Japan could make it an industry building product.[mac_yoda]


Now that CD-R, DVD, and MP4 is nearly here and very efficient with audio it seems that real time mixing would be doable and is
the sort of capability needed for a good quality Karaoke product.

Software ideas:

  • iStudio (combination hardware and software)
  • iPhoto (image editing, re-touching application)
  • Windows XP skin/plug-in for OS X
  • An update to Mac OS 10.1 (10.2) that runs Windows application natively

Ok, the last two may be a bit of a reach, but the Mac OS X/Windows compatibility upgrade is believed to a real project inside Apple’s R&D labs. What is your take on tomorrow’s device from Apple?

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