An Apple in the Family Room

11 Sep ’06

Much hoo-ha today about whether or not Apple will make a run at the media PC market. Thomas Hawk dredges up a great Jobs quote from 2003: “”We’re not going to go that direction,” Jobs said. “There is a small audience that likes this.””

Maybe, but that was then, and this is now. Then, the #1 tech question I got was “what PDA / celphone should I buy”. Today, it’s “how do I get my mp3s, photos and movies to play on my family room TV like yours do?”. A market? Yes, there’s a market.

Hawk notes that the Apple effort will fail for a few reasons – two are the lack of HDTV CableCard support, and the fact that Apple is late to the party. Perhaps. But as to the second, I expect Sony and Creative would have something different to say about what happens when Apple comes late to a party – in their case, the mp3 player market. And as to the first, surely a media box can initially serve other needs (mp3’s, photos, surfing, movies) now and HDTV later (perhaps much – I just sent ours back because of a lack of programming).

One other point worth noting – I recently read (but can’t find the link now), after much gnashing of teeth on my part to get my family room PC to use the higher resolution on the HDTV (a notoriously difficult task), of someone whose Mac Mini worked fine out of the box – plug and play high res. I’m not sure how common that is, but I simply trust Apple more than Microsoft when it comes to those kinds of connections. And more than anything else, family room technology needs to be dead simple to use. No plug and pray. So while I don’t think it will happen just yet, I sure wish it would; please, Apple – make a run at the media PC market.

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