Apple deftly places pieces in strategy to checkmate Microsoft’s media center

APC Magazine’s Dan Warne reckons Apple is about to deftly round-house kick Microsoft’s media center strategy for six. First Apple leaves a mysterious header on the Mac Mini motherboard for a non-existent iPod dock connector. Then it brings out media center software and a video iPod at the same time. Then it recruits the head of TV recording company ElGato. When you put the pieces together, it ain’t pretty for Microsoft.

Warne writes, “Apple’s a shrewd operator. First, its spreads misinformation from the top – like how Steve Jobs famously slagged off media centre PCs in a conference call with financial analysts last year. ‘We might as well make it a toaster too,’ he said. ‘I want it to brown my bagels when I’m listening to my music,’ he said at the time. ‘And we’re toying with refrigeration, too. We’re not going to go that direction,’ Jobs concluded. ‘There is a small audience that likes this.'”

Warne writes, “Yet only a year later, he has released the video iPod, along with the ability to download good TV programs from its iTunes Music Store. Apple has simultaneously released an upgrade to its iMac G5 to give it media centre capabilities. This model of Mac can’t record or watch TV, so it’s a half baked media centre solution, howl the critics, and fair enough too. But what if the industry’s presumptions about the future of ’converged’ computing is fundamentally wrong?”

“Apple’s about to do to the media center PC market what it did to the portable music player market. It doesn’t mean people will switch to Macs as their primary home PC, but Apple is going to sell a truckload of Mac Minis along the way anyway as under-the-TV media-centre boxes. The next phase of its long term strategy isn’t too hard to imagine, and it will be to do with replacing home PCs (with the assurance that you can always run Windows on an Intel-based Mac if you need to.) Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs is damned clever at assembling the pieces on his chess board without people noticing until it’s too late,” Warne writes.

Full article, an excellent read which includes the first Australian review of the video iPod, here.

The New iPod with Video.  The ultimate music + video experience on the go.  Buy it now at the Apple Store. From $299. Free shipping.
The New iMac G5 – Built-in camera and remote control with Front Row media experience. From $1299. Free shipping.

Related articles:
Elgato CEO to head Apple Germany – October 18, 2005
How Apple can win the OS war – October 19, 2005
Apple’s Front Row with Apple Remote and iMac G5: media center done right – October 12, 2005
Apple introduces new thinner iMac G5 with built-in iSight video camera, ‘Front Row’ media experience – October 12, 2005


  1. I think Apple should make thier .mac account more useful.

    Make Pages and online application. Where all you have saved on your machine is Pages templates and the appliction is accessed and used online.. all your documents are saved online, and an a virus check is run regularly.

    Even work on a spreadsheet app too!

    Sun and Google are planning for it.. I think apple can make the move now.. they already have .mac .. why not make it fully useful.

    The only thing standing in the way is broadband connections as a staple for everyone. But having items that you can install on your machine (such as templates) for example can compensate for a lack of high speed internet connection! Think of it as a glorified email account.

  2. MSN Messenger SUCKS ASS!

    I just bought an iSight today, plugged it in and was conference calling my sister in Croatia within 2 minutes!

    You gotta love Apple ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

  3. If M$ pulls Office for Mac, it would raise anti-trust concerns at DOJ. The initial proposed settlement to the anti-trust case the M$ lost was to break up MS into two companies – a systems software company, and an applications company. The M$ negotiated a consent decree in lieu of the draconian remedy, and are being monitored by DOJ until 2007. If they yanked Office Mac, the anti-trust police would be all over M$.

  4. Why do people talk about Frontrow not being suitable for the living room? Surely what’s more interesting is how suitable it is for bedrooms and kitchens and studies. Not as a replacement/addition to a tv but as an enhancement to available media in those rooms, to replace a cd player etc. It doesn’t replace the main media centre of the house but it spreads media throughout it.

  5. We will see when the HDCP and other DRM Intel chips come.

    You see the entire US TV market is going over to digital HDTV’s with HDCP copy protection, this is already evident in the new cable boxes that can hold a movie for a day on their hard drives.

    HDCP is incredibly hard to crack, requiring numerous keys and authentication. (hardware crack)

    The roadblock to a media PC included HDCP, which unfortuantly goes through the cable lines.

    If you want a “black box” later and be able to record HDTV into your Mac unencrypted, get a PowerMac G5 Quad and a few EyeTV 500’s now. (MacTels will be DRMed and the EyeTV 500 might not be allowed to be sold if the broadcast flag makes it through Congress this week)

    Connect: Cable>Cable box (control with cable remote)>Black box (acts like a HDCP HDTV)>EyeTV 500>PowerMac G5 (dual core/processor or better, fast hard drive to record)

    Act fast or be left out in the cold.

  6. “Make Pages and online application. Where all you have saved on your machine is Pages templates and the appliction is accessed and used online.. all your documents are saved online”

    Ha ha! I almost took you seriously, until i read your handle.

    Yeah, sure, like anybody is stupid enough to not own their own documents.

    …then again, we have folks suing because they scratched their iPods with 60-grit “paper towels,” so maybe there are folks out there who would… oh, never mind!

  7. Anybody that can’t figure where SJ/Apple is heading with all these products is deaf, dumb, and blind. Unfortunately for his rivals, knowing the final destination doesn’t help because you can’t stop him along the way, as he creatively gets all his ducks in a row.

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