View Full Version : More Speculation and 'Sources'

Oct 17, 2001, 11:57 PM
CNet has an updated article (http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1006-200-7558694.html) regarding Apple's mysterious Digital Device. They revise their previous hints of a portable MP3 player... instead:

Apple apparently is not planning to introduce a portable MP3 player, but something more sophisticated such as a component for a home digital stereo system, sources said.

Take all with a grain of salt... the "musical" nature of this device is coming only from CNet. Most others have little idea what exactly is coming.

Adding more fuel to the fire, Apple's CFO (Fred Anderson) is quoted with the following: (http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0110/17.pipeline.php) For instance, next Tuesday we'll be unveiling a groundbreaking foray into the digital arena.

A "groundbreaking" and "breakthrough" device... hmmm...

Oct 18, 2001, 12:14 AM
shhh, don't tell anyone.

it's a smartphone on steroids. complete with pda, music and video.

Oct 18, 2001, 01:03 AM
Yes, yes, we've heard it. I remain skeptical. Can you say anything else besides that?

Oct 18, 2001, 01:14 AM
Could it be a a/v device? Something that could play music (iTunes) and display pictures and movies (quicktime). Which could have a link back to the iPicture trademark reported in june. Perhaps a type of portable digiFrame?... one can dream.

Oct 18, 2001, 01:45 AM
Check out this link.
Maybe Apple will use this in there new "device"


Would be great

Oct 18, 2001, 03:29 AM
maybe it's an Apple OS-Xbox? :)

Oct 18, 2001, 07:01 AM

Recently, I read an article suggesting that Apple is developing an IEEE 802.11 (Airport™ in Apple-glish) enabled portable thin client, built on a low power-consumptive x86 chip (hello, Transmeta!). The device will allegedly simply run an OS X shell; the actual processing and storage will occur back at the family/office PowerMac. Hmm, does it seem plausible that Apple is slowly and slyly shifting from a "Single/Multiple-User PC" paradigm to a "Server Appliance/Thin Client" paradigm to anyone else? I wondered what Jobs meant by his obscure reference to the Macintosh becoming the "Digital Hub" for our new "Digital Lifestyles" over the next coming years in his second-to-last keynote address. It seems Apple might have to get on this new "tablet" bandwagon, as Microsoft surely seems to be pushing the notion--though MS wants your entire system on-board, and Apple's alleged strategy would enable much cheaper hardware than a standalone Tablet PC from "the competition" with its onboard storage media.

Oct 18, 2001, 09:35 AM
If I'm reading you right, your theory (while still vague) is about the most intelligent and well back idea out there. Along with Jobs' keynotes and the new gigawire patent the mystery device could well be a high concept PDA somehow equipped with wireless-airport internet/(some sort of comm. abilities) that works as a stand alone device running a stripped down version of OS X(writing app, email, address book, other cool *****) but also relies heavily on its interaction with a base computer (reasons unknown). If the device is "cool" enough(ie, everyone including non mac users will want one)then it would be a great marketing tool in that it would encourage non mac users who buy the PDA to convert out of necessity.

Sure, there are a bunch of PDA's already out there and windoze even recently released their updated pda software, but it's all pretty mundane and unexciting. Seems to me the the market is still young and maleable and there is definitely room for a creative energy like apple to come along and blow the competition away with an entirly new physical design along with a faster processor, better screen and improved functionality. Companies like Palm and Compaq are restricted in their development because they are obligated not to sever ties with their previous devices. It's bad business to alienate old customers so they have to gradually phase in the upgrades. Apple, meanwhile, has nothing holding it back and everything going for it... for instance, they're light years ahead of everyone with wireless technology, they have a proven track record of taking risks by embracing cutting-edge technologies and they stand to take advantage of new technologies like organic-electric diode screens (oed) and IBM's latest chip update.

I have to agree with whoever said that when apples comes out with something new they do it big time and they do it right. I'm thoroughly expecting to be wowed and if anyone can deliver the goods it is apple

Oct 18, 2001, 09:43 AM
I believe it will be a set-top box / component that ties to your Mac via wireless ethernet or cabled ethernet and will play MP3's through your stereo, tied to iTunes showing the Tag info on an LCD panel AND showing iTunes visuals, etc. on your TV screen---and it will also play quicktime movies on your TV.

I half want to wonder if there'll be any TIVO-like features, but that might be pushing it---I think it will be more of a slave to the Mac.

jon2620-- obviously it's not an x86-based device.


Oct 18, 2001, 10:12 AM
Apple's been warehousing these for a long time... Now it's time to unleash them on the world. :)

Oct 18, 2001, 12:59 PM
What is that?

Oct 18, 2001, 01:19 PM
This might not make sense from a marketing point of view but it makes sense technically.

Apple's current strengths:

1. Quicktime
2. Firewire (version 2?)
3. Altivec
4. OS/X
5. iTunes user interface.
6. iMovie/interfacing with digital cameras

Steve Job's focus: "digital hub"

If I were working for Steve and was asked "What could we do with what we have that would be a focus product in the home" I'd say:
PVR (TV is a home focus - feed it back to the
TV using Quicktime streaming video.)

Capture closed captioning - review the text of
newscasts or TV show.

Firewire input
(move home video into the PVR space)

Cable/DSL Modem (options)/Firewall/Router
(hey, its a Mac motherboard running OS X -
the firewall/router is easy in Unix)
iTunes interface for Internet Radio, TV Shows,

Web Cache (ie: Squid)

Audio input and output - attach to stereo.

Most of the PVRs out there are running Linux.

Ethernet or Airport is a question; CDRW/DVDR is
too. I'd build it so that you could add these
as options without opening the case - just slide
them in.

No keyboard - network to PC/Mac with a simple
browser interface like a laser printer.

USB port for printer?

Open it up for developers to create add on value.

Just my 2 bits worth.

Oct 18, 2001, 03:49 PM
The Bandai Pippen was a failed joint venture between Apple and Bandai (Japanese toy maker).

Basically, it was Apple's 1997 version of the XBox.

Apple designed it and Bandai was manufacturing/selling it for a very short time (about 40,000 units worldwide) before the project was killed.

Underpowered, overpriced, etc. It basically was a cross between a game console and Web TV.

Not terribly unlike a Coleco Vision that was upgraded to an Adam. :)

(If you don't remember the Pippen, I'm sure you won't remember that!)

Oct 18, 2001, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the rundown on Pippen. Never really bothered to focus on the ins and outs of apple until recently, but now that I'm hooked it's certaintly interesting and addicting. And you're right.... I have no idea what either Coleco Vision or Adam are!

Oct 18, 2001, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by blakespot
jon2620-- obviously it's not an x86-based device. blakespot

Why not? The Airport Base Station is...


Oct 18, 2001, 06:15 PM
Originally posted by Traveler
And you're right.... I have no idea what either Coleco Vision or Adam are!

Oh my God... I just started feeling very old... Pong, Atari, InteleVision, ColecoVision (I had em all) and I even remember a time when we went OUT to play after school... Ghost in the grave yard, touch football, horse... now those 'games' has great graphics! ;)


Oct 18, 2001, 07:34 PM
Pong is an ageless classic. I brought my atari to college with me. Kick the can, Manhunt... fuggetaboutit. I was a master. I just don't happen to know what Colecovision is.

Oct 18, 2001, 09:08 PM
Originally posted by Traveler
Pong is an ageless classic. I brought my atari to college with me. Kick the can, Manhunt... fuggetaboutit. I was a master. I just don't happen to know what Colecovision is.

Ahhhh I feel YOUNG again!! You 'pre date' me when I just figured you 'post dated' me .... I had Pong in grade school and Atari in early Jr High. Yep that makes me an '80s' punk. ;)

Mental note, one should never assume.


Oct 18, 2001, 10:02 PM
I graduated college this year... brought my atari but mostly because of it's retro novelty. Sadly, it was practically an antique when my uncle gave it to me... he was one of ms. pacman's original creators. Although I have to admit I still feel a certain zen like concentration sweep over me when I run the score up on asteroid until the counter stops keeping track at 999,999

Oct 18, 2001, 10:27 PM
Don't feel old Dave, I also remember when playing after school involved going outside (outside... really?!@#$%^!) and enduring an hour's worth of what certainly felt like sub-zero Scottish temperatures. =]

As far as memories of Pong go... for me it was really Defender that got me hooked (closely followed by DonkeyKong on the original GameBoy).

Last, but not least, while we're on the nostalgia trip, for me it was a Sinclair ZX Spectrum (I have one, complete with manuals, tapes (!), etc. sitting right here beside my iMac).

Getting back on topic, I was about to buy a Harmon/Kardon CD/.mp3/CDR duplicator/player:


If Apple were to produce something like this that pulled the audio out of the computer-space to a separate hi-fi component which was served via Airport, well... that would make sense. Apple have, after all, collaborated successfully with Harman Kardon in the past (soundsticks, etc.).

Just a thought.

Oct 19, 2001, 12:04 AM
I'm skeptical about the set-top box thing. Apple would be advertising to a very specific clientele, namely those with a modern (post-Airport) Mac, a stereo system, and the technical know-how to put it together. When you realize that Apple has 5% of the market, and half of that is education, you realize how small this number is. I think it will be something broader, like a media-pda (mp3, video, pda features), but one that really nails exactly what people are looking for. If they came out with this for < $400, I would buy one. I would not buy the set-top box any time soon, though, if ever.

Oct 19, 2001, 07:35 AM
either is taking the emphasis off the computer and it will be interesting to see how many non desktop items apple will get themselves into and if this will increase their revenue and net profits as a company

Oct 19, 2001, 07:56 AM
ThlayliTheFierce, I agree with you... I feel like Apple will be targeting a broader market then some of those described here.

Also, I think multi-combo functionality devices are also unlikely... not a very exciting ("groundbreaking") thing....

A few thoughts...

I don't think it will try to be a digital hub itself... Apple's been pushing the PC as the center of your digital world... so any product that decentralizes that would be going against Apple's theory.

I think it will likely be more mass appeal... not sure if it will be OS X/Mac only... or will only benefit from having it around.

So, there's digital audio, digital video, ebooks.... what about digital pen?


:) Anyhow... just tossing that out ... I personally would be most happy with an Apple PDA.


Oct 19, 2001, 08:05 AM
I personally beleive, it is a Airport/wiresles networking device of a volume or some kind, which shows of each computer in a range of 22MBS or even faster which Gigawire?. It then does it with iTunes for music, and burning cds ect. I also think that you might be able to hook other devices to this "hub'" which will communicate to all other macs in that area, such as a video camera, sound editing hardware, zip drives ect.
But who knows, it could just turn out to be a airport with a music player and a cd-rw..with a firewire port?
But since Apple has added gigabit ethernet and airport built in, it might help for portable products too, even though these features are used anyway.:)

This new product could come out to rock the Apple world, it could be a multi million dollar profit to Apple's behalf and spread new devices into the PC market and do what Firewire did,become standard in all pcs.

Lets see on the 23rd.

Guest who
Oct 19, 2001, 12:00 PM
I've been told that the new device is essentially a Kerbango ethernet internet radio with firewire interface, pcmcia for airport card, and possibly an E-Magic midi interface. Just think - wireless midi via airport.. A mic may also be contained in the unit.

Oct 19, 2001, 12:19 PM
No matter what the "Device" is going to be, would it be foolish to think that this is the "bait" to hook everyone who already hasn't jumped to "X"????

Oct 19, 2001, 01:04 PM
Either way I'm horny for MAC stuff....

Oct 19, 2001, 03:14 PM
Either way I'm horny for MAC stuff....

hell yea chewbaccapitz, eveyone is posting half asses assumptions that dont make sense of what its going to be. I think it's going to blow all that crap away with something "ground breaking", i agree with chewbacca im horny for it too lol.

Oct 19, 2001, 04:40 PM
I totally agree. This is going to be something truly unique. Set-top boxes, PDAs, and MP3 players aren't but maybe some intelligent combination coupled with Apple's market-influencing asthetics will be.

Joey Bear
Oct 20, 2001, 05:01 AM
A friend of mine works at apple in software dev, and he said the rumor around campus is a digital AV receiver with an airport base station built in (security is so tight, NO ONE on campus is uttering a word - scary, my company can't even fire someone without the whole firm knowing first!!). The thought is that it will become the new hub of your home entertainment center but also REQUIRE connectivity to your mac via iTunes, iMovie and Quicktime (the 2 former get new versions on Tuesday - this I know for a fact). It will utilize OS 9 also. Not exactly grounbreaking, but pretty cool nonetheless. It obviously comes shelled in sweet translucent plastics like all of our favorite computers.

Oct 20, 2001, 06:50 AM
I still don't think it's going to require a Mac to use. That would target a very, very small market.

Oct 20, 2001, 09:53 AM
While the new device may not absolutely require a Mac it will almost certainly be greatly enhanced by use in conjunction with a Mac. Apple is not out there simply to join the non-computer hardware business. Macintosh computers and software will always be the biggest money makers and the impetus for any non-mac hardware release is almost definitely a ploy to get some of the 95 to want the device so badly that they will be forced to "convert" in the process. A lure, if you will, to reel in a few more core customers. Core being defined as those who buy apple computers. Imagine, all us Mac owners waltzing around with something really kick ass that is off limits to non mac users(to an extent). Not that 3rd party manufacturers couldn't soon replicate it but, as is always the case, Apple's product will be more funtional and more attractive. It's bound to create some cross over traffic. If you make it independant of a mac the only bennefit to apple, besides a small increase in revenue if the product is successful, is a moderate increase in consumer traffic to apple retail stores. While this is nice, why would apple settle for less when they could push it so much further?

Oct 20, 2001, 12:54 PM
Making a ground breaking product which is equally good on both platforms would not make the mac as the centre of the digital hub thingy. It would be a wasted oppurtunity for better sales.
Assuming that it will be groundbreaking ofcourse.

Oct 20, 2001, 11:52 PM

I'd be pumped if *IT* was a digital receiver... but Apple better do it right! Apple has been known for not going far enough at times. If the unit is a receiver it had better to Dolby Digital 5.1 at a MINIMUM DTS would be better still and DDII would be really nice (but I wouldn't expect it). Apple hasn't been known for keeping up with the audio side of things for quite some time. Sure they built the early Macs with kick-a$$ sound systems (for the day) but since then what happened. PeeCee's can all do DVD with Dolby Digital 5.1 (w/sound card) and now DD5.1 is thought of as old technology (with DTS 6.1 and now 7.1)... Mac's can do two channel stereo... (blech)

Somehow Apple let the Audio advances pass them by and I sure hope they fix that. After all how on earth could the Mac be considered a 'digital hub' and not even provide support for "TODAYS" digital sound formats.