Last Minute MacWorld Keynote Predictions
When I first heard rumors of a "headless iMac" a few weeks back, I got very excited. I already have a Mac hooked up to my home theater system, and I would prefer something more consistent with the other components. I doubt very seriously Apple would leave the monitor out just to save money. The thought of a beige 15" PC CRT hooked up to an Apple gives me the willies. Hooking an Apple to a TV is a completely different story. This will be the Mac for your living room. I like the idea of computing from the couch with my Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. This won't just steal away existing Windows users. This has the potential to compel non computer owners. Imagine your grandparents emailing pictures from their big screen TV.
Though the photos of the "iHome Media Centre" on Engadget sure look convincing (JPEG meta data and all), I doubt they're genuine. One, Apple hasn't sued them yet (though you could also interpret this as Apple not wanting to acknowledge the authenticity). Two, all of the ports are on the back. I would hope it would have USB and firewire ports on the front to hook up digital cameras, etc. Three, the spelling of "centre" is a little too cheeky, even for Apple.
I do not foresee this being a PVR. First, a PVR would require more hardware and horsepower for the video encoding whereas a low end G4 is more than enough for playing back video. Second, why would you need to record anything when you can download it all from Apple's new iTunes-like service for video? iClips anyone? As easy as Tivo is to use, browsing and downloading in iTunes is even easier. This setup would also make much better use of hard drive space than a PVR because it doesn't suffer the limitation of encoding video in real time. If Apple partners with TV networks like they have record labels, I'll be able to watch my shows at the same time as those watching them on conventional TV.
Cross your fingers.
Update: The keynote is over. Oh well. The Mac Mini would fit nicely into a home theater system. I'm surprised it doesn't have an s-video output. Steve did say this is the year for HD. I guess I'll be sticking to my PowerBook and bittorrent for the time being. Maybe next year.