The Media Center Push


As usual, since there is no live stream, I followed the Apple event via MacRumors (which took the load very well indeed).

So let's recap, shall we? We now have Intel minis squarely positioned as media centers, with an updated Front Row that finally has support for iTunes shared libraries (something a lot of people pointed out as a 1.0 shortcoming), as well as the necessary connectivity (IR remote, SPDIF port, etc...).

Not bad for US$599, and sure to sell as well as the previous model, especially since it now includes AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth as well. The placement of the IR sensor in line with the DVD slot is a particularly nice touch, and a Core Duo model will make a pretty zippy desktop. Update: The graphics chip is Intel's as well (the GMA950), which means you'd better pack in some extra RAM (it's one of their shared memory chipsets).

I do find it odd, however, that DAAP and DPAP support took so long to reach Front Row, or that they should be considered such "cool" features just because they made it there (but hey, that's me).

It's Apple Marketing (almost) at its best - they've had the tech for years, but tacking on Bonjour to the end of Front Row and adding a couple more menu options makes it an entirely new version...

Of course, there's no hint of Front Row for older models (i.e., without an IR port) - only of updates for existing IR-equipped models, which means folk with an old mini have to come up with alternatives (Apple would do well to put an end to this and just release Front Row as a free download and an IR dongle...)

Ah well. At least now we have the iPod Hi-Fi, which is sure to make a dent on the burgeoning iPod accessories market.

I just wish it wasn't labeled as "Hi-Fi" - it's a boombox, not something targeted at audiophiles...

And that was it. No more new products.

Rather than bore you regarding all the rumors that flourished over the last couple of weeks or pine for the lack of a consumer MacBook, I'd rather point out the one memorable Steve quote that made it through, related to the iTunes Music Store's success -

"It took McDonalds 8 years to sell a billion burgers."

Now that's Marketing.