NY Times: Can Steve Jobs put Apple in the center of your living room?

“Both Sony and Microsoft are hoping to introduce hand-held devices that they say will serve the same function as the various small devices that the computer industry is counting on to help revive its fortunes. Both companies hope that their hand-held gadgets will be “iPod killers,” referring to Apple Computer’s popular device that plays music,” John Markoff writes for The New York Times.

“But in challenging the premise of Apple’s iPod, the gaming industry may be running the risk that Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, will return the favor by extending his own digital hub concept into the living room… Mr. Jobs has been highly critical of attempts to add video and gaming features to hand-held devices that compete with the iPod. The success of the iPod, he argues, rests on the idea that it allows users to do other things while listening to music on a portable device built to do nothing other than produce excellent sound,” Markoff writes.

Markoff writes, “If Mr. Jobs can reinvent the home-computer-as-entertainment-and-information-hub the way he led the creation of a seamless way of delivering digital music, analysts say, he could shake up the plans of all the other more powerful corporate interests trying to figure out what consumers want.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Interesting article, especially in light of the fact that Steve Jobs already has reinvented the home-computer-as-entertainment-and-information-hub. It’s called the Macintosh.

17 Comments

  1. I don’t know if I want Stevie boy in the centre of my living room …
    will I still be able to see the TV? 😎

    Of course if he provides an information storage hub that is more compact than an iBook and allows for easy (e.g. wireless) interaction with my other devices (Powerbook, TV, …) then I’m interested.
    Usability and an enriched user experience would be key points.

  2. How about an ipod that can connect and play videos on a TV. That would be cool.

    Another possibly cool thing would be a small console that sits on top of your TV and allows you to react with programs via a computer hooked up to the internet. This user participation could really build the popularity of some types of shows. I am not tech savvy enough in this area to outline how it would all work but for example in Japan they have shows already where you can vote on some things like the best act in a talent show by using the i-mode on your cellular telephone.

    Port this kind of thing through your TV via computer via wireless new NEXT BIG THING and think of the possibilities. I know it is possible to do online games right now via a game console but Jobs has yet to add the Apple ease of use and simplicity to open it up to everyone.

  3. I want a box on my tv that will connect over the network to my g4 and stream my itunes to my tv/stereo. It would also be nice to be able to view slideshows from my iphoto albums. I also want to be able to view my calendars on tv. I would expect that I could also hook up a wireless keyboard and mouse so that I could use iphoto/ical/itunes just as if I were using them on my computers.

    Being able to load my desktop would be convenient too.

  4. jack A, harrhoode,

    all you need to get is an eyehome from elgato (http://www.elgato.com/)

    it’s connected to your tv and/or your stereo via ethernet or wlan. streams itunes, shows iphotos, plays internet radio, lets you surf on the web, plays all sorts of mpgx and if combined with an eyetv it acts as a streaming device for recorded shows!

    it’s excellent!
    j

  5. The best thing I did was buy a second dock for my iPod and hook it up to the stereo in my living room. Now my iTunes library is playable in the living room thru my great stereo. However, I do like the idea of showing my iPhoto library on my tv. How cool that would be.

  6. jw is right

    eyehome and eyetv by elgato already exist, I think Apple should buy them. Make the whole thing compatible with windows and get people to have so many apple product outside of their computer, then they will look seriously at buying a mac.

  7. it’s hilarious.. these journalists think convergence is a great idea, just like enderle and thurrott, but every example of convergence of different electronics platforms has been a huge compromise and thus a flop.

    I swear people assume the future will be an empty room with a little white box that you talk to… ugh gawd… the matrix?

    read the 11 immutable laws of internet branding..very short..fascinating

  8. The key to this whole concept is integration and Apple has shown some sparks of genius in that area.

    The audio and video home entertainment industry has been mucking about with designing components and systems for years. But the level of complexity is still high and the quality of integration across different vendors and user friendliness is still relatively low. If you are willing to buy all of your electronics from one vendor then you may achieve reasonable functional integration, but you are tied into that vendor and may face incompatibilies a few years down the road when one component fails.

    Examples of lack of integration…Some functionality, such as Dolby Digital (AC-3) decoding may exist on multiple components within your system. In general, the physical integration (cabling) for a component system is a mess and getting even worse as the number of speakers increases. At least digital audio is finally reducing the number of component interface cables. Between vendors the functional interfaces are also generally poor -scheduling various functions such as recording a show, or entering codes to allow one vendor’s remote to control components from other vendors.

  9. Mike,
    I for 1 dont want any more “boxes” than I already have, but i am far from wanting 1 box for all. What we need is 1 desktop computer and 1 tv top box (with dvd player) and the ability to ad more system components (more computers, gaming system, etc.) . A houshold is comprised of more than 1 person, so you cant have everything in one spot, WebTV for example, What is needed is interconnected, WiFi, boxes which share info to all other boxes to allow multiple people to do multiple things in multiple places while having access to the same info.

  10. I’d don’t mind another box, just make it the same width as my other stereo components.
    Sounds silly but It bugs the hell out of me to see these odd sized components (Satellite, Cable, VCR-ughh, playstation, etc) sitting on top of my nice Denon Receiver, DVD player and CD Changer (yupe still use it).

    And who the f**k said it was okay to make these odd sized VCRs. I was happy that they were being replaced by DVDs, but now it looks like DVD players are going down the same path.
    This also forces me to build a crazy looking component pyramid in my entertainment center- yuck!

    Oh yea- They should replace all inter-component cables with Firewire. Except the Speaker cables which I don’t mind.
    And don’t give me that wireless speaker example. They all sound like crap and you still need to run power to them.

  11. Has anybody hooked up their mac to their stereo speakers? I’m wondering specifically if i can just play my library of .mp3 on my stereo without transfering them off my computer. And still keep my speakers hooked up to the dvd & cd players.

  12. You would not want to hook up your Mac’s headphone output directly to your speakers unless the speakers are designed for that purpose (kind of like external computer speakers).

    A better method would be to hook up your Mac’s headphone output to the aux-input on your stereo receiver. This still isn’t perfect becasue the Headphone output on your mac is not a “line level” output. But it should work. Although the risk of damaging your Mac/equipment is low, you do so at your own risk.

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