Jobs on the Digital Hub and TV's

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
46,757
8,953
This Yahoo article has some interesting quotes from jobs:

"Do we think that PCs and televisions are going to merge? No. The next great age of the personal computer is going to be as the digital hub"

"I think you'll be seeing a lot of different things. We'll clearly be continuing to refine the digital hub suite of applications. We may have some other surprises"

And regarding the Cube:


"The Cube was targeted at low-end pros. We were just plain wrong on that,'' Jobs said. ``Consumers loved the Cube, but it was too expensive. This, I think, is a more stunning design than the Cube, he said, and ``it is priced dramatically less. The Cube cost over $2000, with a monitor, while the new iMacs will be priced between $1299 and $1799 when they start shipping this quarter.
 
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phaedrus

Guest
The "digital hub" concept is right on, I think. Interesting to compare and contrast this concept to Gate's Mira project, with it's global vision of the convergence of TV, the PC, indeed the home itself. Job's vision is less ambitious, but I think it is also more realizable. One journalist (I forget who) wrote today that Jobs designs computers in a vacuum, that he doesn't take the real world of everyday users into account. I think nothing could be further from the truth. I think that people who design a single device to control the TV, PC, and the home, are designing in a vacuum. Even though such a device is technically feasible there is no reason to think that most everyday PC users are going to adopt such an ambitious and doubtless complicated product. Job's vision for the home computer is "local" and respectful of the ecology of the home environment, not "global" and speculative.

By the way, domes have been around since the Romans invented them, and there is hardly a more structurally sound shape, or clean, classical form. When I get my imac I may paint it to look like St. Paul's cathedral (lol).
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
14,500
1,784
agreed


I agree completely...

convergance is not the answer.

Jobs said something similar to this in an interview at one point - his analogy is that people could create refrigerators that also make toast - the technolgy exists... and yet this doesn't exist... that's because no one wants it.

Now, this isn't 100% true, in that my computer now does a lot of things that my other applicances don't do...

for example - my mp3's. I have a 200 disc CD changer as well... which I no longer use. That's because Mp3's do it better than any component system out there.

So there is a fine line....

arn
 

Redman

macrumors newbie
Jan 8, 2002
5
0
The nerve of pee cee users to say anything to us. When bill the pie face gates is going to essentially disassemble the pc and make it into a T.V ....hahahahah that's loyalty for ya.
 
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Phaedrus

Guest
Never heard the quote about refrigerators that make toast (lol!). That's a great analogy. As you point out, the doubtfullnes of a global convergence of electronic commodities does not preclude the occurence of local convergences here and there (e.g., as with mp3's). And yet, convergence may be the wrong metaphor altogether. Convergence denotes a bringing together of two things into one. A "hub," in contrast, denotes a thing which connects things, while allowing those things to remain formally distinct. The difference in vision between Gates and Jobs is perhaps one of "convergence" vs. "connection." The design of the imac itself is an instantiation of this vision of connection: Two forms allowed to be distinct, to be, as Jobs put it, what they "naturally" want to be--connected yes, but not converged into some compromised and unaesthetic tangle of forms (e.g., IBM's NetVista).

 
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meeka

Guest
TV on PC a better experience

I have the Radeon All-In-Wonder card in my PC and watching TV is a much better experience. I can be watching stuff live and if the phone rings I just hit the space bar to pause the TV and it starts buffering until I come back and unpause it. I can "catch up" to real time by FF through comercials.

The software that comes with the vid card downloads my local TV programing and gives me the schedule for a week ahead. If I click on the schedule it changes the channel to that station. If I'm browsing shows that are not on yet I have the option to record the show. It records it when the show is ON. OR you can set it to record anytime "Friends" is on.

As a dream wish I would like an All-in-one 22inch cinema display with a new ati 8500DV vid card(mac version not out yet), G4, cordless keyboard and mouse and wall mount the thing.

I hope Job's changes his mind for a macTV merger.
 

cplmd

macrumors member
Dec 22, 2001
50
0
Louisiana
Sorry, but couldn't disagree with all of you more.

Steve Jobs represents less than 5% of computer users? Why is that? Why am I still stuck with a one button mouse on the macs I own, unless, of course I have changed those mice out for microsoft mice? When will Apple listen to what people want rather than correct them when they try to tell them what they want.

Now before you get your feathers ruffled, stop and think.

I have owned practically every type of Mac made. I'm writing this on a TiBook. But I am watching an Enterprise episode on a Sony PenTablet LX920. My office and surgery schedule are stored on a Win2000 server with Exchange so I can sync it with a iPaq so I can have that information with me since I do not live at a desktop or lug a laptop.

I'd love to have a way to get that information on my QuickSilver tower onto a handheld or some portable computing device. But Steve Jobs didn't like the Newton (I did) and doesn't think the rest of us needs something like that. I know I know I could use a Palm, but the Palm I prefer is a Sony model and they don't even ship with syncing software for a Mac - why should they, it's < 5% of the computing market.

Now this digital hub idea is starting to sound like the "Going where no PC has gone before" and "Way past the rumor sites" and "Full speed ahead, lust factor ten." I understand the concept, but it' not what I want to do and I am the customer here. Sure iPhoto is real nice at organizing photos - something I do once or twice a month. And iMovie 2 is great to edit video - something I do three or four times a year. Are they something I do enough to make them part of my "lifestyle" - no, sorry but it's not.

So let's look at iTunes/iPod - I listen to music every day. And if I am lucky, most of that day will NOT be at a computer. So, that's what makes iPod so nice - I can take the information I need with me. Let me repeat, I CAN TAKE THE INFORMATION I NEED WITH ME.

And for most of us that work or don't live in a Zen garden or happen to be CEO's with underlings to do our bidding, there are other things I do daily that could use a computing device - like reading and taking notes, looking over lists and messages, finding where in my schedule I should be or will need to be. I see no spoke on the digital hub from Apple to address this. But worse Jobs pretends it doesn't exist and so the rest of us should belive it doesn't exist.

Well, Bill Gates company does get that it exists and they will make products that only get it done half way BUT ITS BETTER THAN NOT GETTING IT AT ALL!!!!!

You think TV/Home Stereo/Theater and computers aren't converging - you must not own a TiVo/DTR or you must play your mp3's only on your computer - in fact, in the apple vision, all computing life is on a desktop.

You think Bill Gates doesn't get what people want - I present a > 95% market share that begs to differ. Granted, they do it with barely adequate software but then again that's all most people need.

I want to use the Mac for every part of my life - but to do that I would have to change my life to suite Apple - that's not the way it's suppose to work - Apple needs to suite us.
 

agreenster

macrumors 68000
Dec 6, 2001
1,892
2
Walt Disney Animation Studios
man.....

Id love Apple to move in that direction at least. What the hell is wrong with your mac being your home entertainment center, all wired to your surround sound speakers and Plasma screen? Why not iTv? That seems like it would all be part of the digital hub...

I know you can jerry-rig your mac to get that kind of performance with a couple third party hardware/software components, but why is Apple pitching such a fit about being a more central part of it? As long as there are people, there will always be a couch, beer, football, music, games and movies.

C'mon Apple. Wake up!
 

gandalf55

macrumors 6502
Apr 13, 2001
343
0
boston
my Visor Platinum screen busted 2 weeks ago... they want $100 to fix it. I waited for Macworld for a digital device i used daily... i was holding my $ for someone Apple might release... not this go-round.

I went to CompUSA (yuk) and was gonna just buy a new Visor Edge or Prism or something... but I started playing around with some iPaqs, etc. While they run the evil OS, I have to tell you, they kick ass. I run Macs and PCs at work in my office, and the ability to sync up my contacts, calendar, appointments, email, etc. is a wonderful thought. I could run movies on them, run a Flash Player, and a lot more. The display is about 300% better than any palm os pda out there. They are pricy ($400+) but they pack a lot of stuff. I didn't buy one... but I sure was close.

I use my iPod every single day - for listening and transfering files to my home office. It's amazing. If Apple could create a PDA for us (the 5%), they would sell a ton of em. I'm still waiting for that magical moment to see an apple pda. i don't care if it runs mini-OSX or not. as long as it can sync with outlook or an app which runs like it on a mac, etc... i'll drop my coin.

digital devices most used: pdas (everyone has one) & cell phones. the Handspring Treo is gonna be a smash hit, but I know Apple could create something along those lines but FAR better and more powerful. I used to love my Visor until i saw what those PocketPeecees could do. Now I want an Apple solution.

Fingers crossed.

ps. i dont mind the new iMac - people at my work are ordering them for their homes. you can always tilt the screen down to hide the cantaloupe base...
 

eyelikeart

Moderator emeritus
Jan 2, 2001
11,897
0
Metairie, LA
internet radio in cars...

I know this is a bit off base here, but I've been waiting to see when wireless internet will be brought into our cars via in-dash receivers. Similar to converging television with computers...I think there's going to be a day we see the ability to tune into an IP through radio waves. Just think how innovative it would be to have the ability to listen to internet radio stations in our cars...
 
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Phaedrus

Guest
cplmd raises some good issues. I too would like to see such products as he describes in the Apple "product matrix." I think that his post is worth reading carefully. Allow me to simply address the TV-PC convergence issue. As another poster notes (in addition to cplmd), the TV and PC HAVE converged--for some. The technology has been out there for a few years now, and it can be done expensively and elegantly--with various PCI card solutions--or cheaply and less elegantly--as with a number of usb and firewire devices that can be had for a few hundred bucks. And it can be done on a Mac (just about) as well as on a Wintel machine.

For "early adopters" "convergence" is already a reality. The daunting problem is figuring out what form this technology should take for a mass-market solution. If the solution involves replacing two different machines with a single one, then convergence of that sort is not likely to occur, for the following reasons: 1) most people do not want to answer email from their living room sofa with a monitor eight feet in front of them. 2) any monitor that would be large enough and hi-rez and flicker-free enough to read email or web-surf on from eight feet away would be prohibitively expensive now and in the near future. 3) Junior and Pop are not going to want to purvey porn in the living room. 4) No family is going to want to sit in front of a desk together to watch a DVD.

TV's will doubtless continue to get smarter and more interactive, and even more attractive options will become available for PC users who want to view network broadcast video in the privacy of their own office or bedroom--but TV's will not be made practicable for spreadsheets, and PC's will not be made satisfying for a home-theatre experience.
I'll admit this may be a "straw man" argument. When Gates talks about "convergence" this is not what he has in mind. He means his "Mira" solution, which, if I understand it correctly, involves a touch-screen LCD that would act as a controller for a number of different devices--TV, PC, even the home. The problems I see with Mira are the following: 1) It will be too complicated for mass adoption; 2) Networks, broadcasters, and advertisers (who, in the wake of deregulation have experienced some converging among themselves) are none too happy with consumer devices that edit-out commercials--they may find a way to squelch them or offer more attractive and commercial-friendly alternatives; 3) TV makers are unlikely to remain passive while Microsoft customizes their TV's. Though the analogy is a rough one, Excite@home learned the hard way that when tech/new meida companies take on the old broadcast media oligarchies, they're in for a rough ride.

Finally, would I like to use an Apple-made portable appliance similair to the Mira? Of course I would. I think that the LCD on the new imac looks as if it's begging to be removed from its coupling and carried around the house. I would love to surf in bed or read the NYTimes morning news on the web from my breakfast table. But, alas, one thing at a time. . . .
 

748s

macrumors 6502a
Dec 14, 2001
685
24
Tiger Bay
billy boy

didn't billy say "who would ever need more than 128k of memory".
didn't he say something like "the internet is a passing fad".
has he finally got it right this time, or way off the pace again.
i watch bugger all tv. i'd prefer tv be kept seperate.
 
G

gooddog

Guest
TV Convergence ----

Finally !!!

I've posted several times about this with only one response .

If I can use my iMac / iTunes as a radio/stereo ,
why should it be un-Mac like to want to use a stunning
22" Studio Display to watch my DishNetwork programs
in HDTV style ????

Why should I have to fork out an ADDITIONAL $4000 to put a BEHEMOTH 16 X 9 CRT HDTV set across the livingroom where it presents me with a SMALLER solid angle than the Apple Cinema Display does at arm's length ????????

The poster above is right: TV viewing is a DAILY part
of most people's lifestyle and we need to get on with
this . It represents a HUGE buying avalanche poised to happen as soon as someone breaks the broadcaster vs. manufacturer deadlock.

By the way --- I watched the Keynote on my 27" Sony Trinitron because , even with a T1 connection , the
QT webcast was useless .

More and more of us will live in apartments and college dorms where a small number of viewers are best served by a would-be iTube solution to the HDTV duplicate expense ripoff.

LET'S PUT ANOTHER SPOKE ON THAT HUB.

========

Oh, yeah --- I will definitely get the new iMac ASAP ....
even though I know the 17" model is right around the corner.

Or better yet --- the iChabod : a headless version that
sports an Apple Display Connector to drive the 22"
Cinema Display !!!!!!!!!!

=======Question======>

What needs to be done to the ALREADY DIGITAL signal from my Dish TV to have it work with the Cinema Display ?????????????


/

: * ] AAAAaaaaRRRrrrFFFFff !!!

\


---gooddog
 

graydecember

macrumors member
Jan 2, 2002
64
0
Digital Hub also = media server...

...Obviously, Jobs intends to put a Unix/xterm cluster in every home (ha!). In the living room the LCD HDTV, in the bedrooms and study, iMacs. In the closet, a G5 OSX server with 1gig RAM, streaming Keynote presentations to the LR, serving Castle Wolf. to two bedrooms, Britney Spears MP3s to another, and Mom can surf for porn in the kitchen. Now *that's* a digital hub!

Either that, or the this MWSF and the new imac are proof that Jobs has completely lost his mind

e
 

cplmd

macrumors member
Dec 22, 2001
50
0
Louisiana
Further musings.....

Originally posted by Phaedrus
cplmd raises some good issues. I too would like to see such products as he describes in the Apple "product matrix." I think that his post is worth reading carefully.
Thanks Phaedrus, those are unfortunately rare words when you brush up against Mac fanaticism.

As to convergence, I think too many get hung up on the HARDWARE concept of it.
This is a key point: "IT'S THE INFORMATION THAT'S CONVERGING"

In simpler terms, a TV is simply a two-dimensional data display with audio synchronization. And it's data path is one way. That's it. I have always loved and respected Apple for being able to step back and look at something, break it down and re-make it in a better way. iPhoto is a good example as is iTunes/iPod.

For "early adopters" "convergence" is already a reality. The daunting problem is figuring out what form this technology should take for a mass-market solution. If the solution involves replacing two different machines with a single one, then convergence of that sort is not likely to occur, for the following reasons: 1) most people do not want to answer email from their living room sofa with a monitor eight feet in front of them. 2) any monitor that would be large enough and hi-rez and flicker-free enough to read email or web-surf on from eight feet away would be prohibitively expensive now and in the near future. 3) Junior and Pop are not going to want to purvey porn in the living room. 4) No family is going to want to sit in front of a desk together to watch a DVD.
I completely agree but again look at this from another angle. We don't need fewer devices, we need more. Humans have had thousands of years to refine how we like data displayed. Since the computer came along, we have been expected to change that to suit the machine (or Job's vision of it). THAT's the problem I have. Look, can anything beat a 3x5 card? It's small so it fits anywhere, easily held in one hand so the other is free to follow it's instructions, etc. So make an electronic version with true power - access lists, e-mail, quick notes.

Next, look at a 8x10 book, small enough to carry, big enough so you don't have to turn pages often and can immersively read. Make it electronic, give it hyperlinks, stereo audio output, read e-mail there too, just a richer variety, one person can watch a movie, let me annotate what I read, save those annotations to access anywhere or on my i3x5 or any workstation/desktop. (Aside, I cringe every time someone complains about needing 3G cell networks so they can watch a movie on their phone!!!! WHY WHY WHY?)

Lastly, look at that big wall mounted 2D display device with surround sound - it's the preferred way to watch a movie - usually because that's where a family gathers to do it together, or look at a collection of photos or watch an edited home vid.

Sure you still need desktops to be workstations to make content (photo, video, text) but don't tell me I can only access it at a desktop!!

Finally, would I like to use an Apple-made portable appliance similair to the Mira? Of course I would. I think that the LCD on the new imac looks as if it's begging to be removed from its coupling and carried around the house. I would love to surf in bed or read the NYTimes morning news on the web from my breakfast table. But, alas, one thing at a time. . . .
That's what I'm saying, alot of us want this and it's time to get it done and give us this on a Mac platform.

Lastly, to those who say an all-in-one controller is too complicated - baloney - then you need someone to design a better user interface - with the amount of intelligence/hardware available - the device should learn and adapt to you and MAKE it uncomplicated - Apple is known to do that and the hardware/memory/storage/networking is there - we just need to demand it.
 

cryptochrome

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2002
123
0
I agree that the Apple strategy may be better overall, but there are still some merits to convergence. The reality is, we should be using both. Let me compare the two using the analogy of a home theater. In your setup, you may have a TiVo, a DVD player, a game system, and a digital cable/satellite decoder, a reciever, a TV monitor and some speakers. There is a huge degree of overlap in how these devices work: the game system and TiVo both use hard drives; the DVD player and game system both use DVD drives; and they ALL use processor-intensive video codecs (likely the same one, MPEG2). At any given time you're using only a fraction of that power and wasting the rest. On top of that there is a large degree of clutter, with many cables and power cords for a handful of plugs. Controlling these devices is a mess, either using many separate remote controls or a ridiculously intimidating universal control.

The convergence strategy is relatively free of clutter and can potentially make better use of available resources. Having a single box, with a DVD drive, a couple of hardware video compressors/decompressors, a logic card, and a large hard drive would do the job just as well at a fraction of the price and with much less clutter and power consumption (Monitors, speakers, and peripherals are separate, obviously). Control of functionality can be centralized and "smart" through good programming. The flip side of this is that the more convergent your devices, the more expensive it becomes to upgrade any one functionality if it becomes limiting - generally you have to upgrade all at once, not at all, or add external components (negating the advantage of convergence entirely - all this problem could be partially avoided by allowing you to upgrade internal components). You can't separate the functionalities (i.e. upgrading the DVD player and moving the old one to another TV). And while you may concentrate the control of all these functionalities in one place, that may mean you have to deal with all of them if you deal with one of them making control complex.

Communicating devices is more similar to the ordinary home theater - it has the same advantages (upgradability, individual functionality) and disadvantages (clutter, higher overall cost). The advantage of communicating devices lies in the system of communication, which can allow you to preserve the advantages while lessening the disadvantages. Hardware clutter can be reduced or avoided with a good system (i.e. carrying data and power over the same cable like the iPod's firewire interface, or using airport for wireless flexibility). Control can be just as centralized and smart as with a convergence device. Upgrading and adding new functionalities separately is preserved. The mark of a truly good communication system is one that allows cooperation and sharing of common resources (namely input/output devices, drive space and functionality, and generalized and specialized processing power), which requires the communication system to allow handling large datastreams between devices. This can allow emergent behaviors. In the Home theater analogy, you could have the monitors + speakers hooked up to your digital reciever/decoder, with a DVD player attached and wirelessly linked to your computer in another room and controllers. Combining the functionality of your computer's processing power and hard drive space you can play games - including those which are stored on DVD that you put in the drive in front of you. The reciever can record datastreams using an external drive you hook up to it like a simple VCR - or it can send them for storage on your computer's drive, and allow either your computer or another peripheral to controll when and what it records intelligently, like a TiVo.

In their ultimate forms, convergence and communication strategies will be nearly identical, differing only in the number of boxes the total functionality will be spread around in - less clutter or flexibility. The real challenge is choosing which functionalities to converge, and which to communicate... and in how to move to these systems from where we are now.
 

cryptochrome

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2002
123
0
Well actually I was just talking about the principals of communication versus convergence, but yeah that's exactly what I was talking about in a dual strategy. Of course this is more convergence than communication - although it can have external hard drives and send datastreams to satellite connectors, it doesn't seem to support a generic method of communication and interactivity between devices.

One thing I didn't mention before in my rant - creating a communications system that isn't organized around a master controller (p2p basically) is much harder than converging things into one box. Since you'll inevitably need to both, it's better to start with the communication system rather than rigging it on later.
 
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Unregistered

Guest
Digtal Hub

Hi Folks,
I am the average consumer. I believe what CNN says is going on in the world, I read consumer reports for my buying advice, I was completely unaware that there is any other way to get on the internet other than AOL, and I liked that nice David Hasselhoff fella on Baywatch. In short, I would rather believe Ted Turner than my next door neighbor.
This is who the digital hub is aimed at bringing into the Mac fold. Thus I belive that a TIVO type program IS in order. Hate to say it, but it will draw more users. I live on my iBook. I really only watch TV for the Simpsons and Law & Order. I am a computer user, not the average person. When I explain to someone what an Apple computer can do with just the base packages they stand amazed. Steve's digital hub works. They either want a Mac, or they want some freeware to be able to make their winblows machine do the same. So would some one please point out to Mr.Jobs that the world lives in TV land, and only about 10% of people live in their computer? Please? TIVO is a good program....stupid at first but it learns. Imagine what Apple could produce for the digital cable access that comes with those cable internet access.
My next ramble. Bring back the Newton or lease out the OS to Palm. They need a shot in the arm. Their interface is fine, but windows is getting closer to creating a true hand-held pc with it's interface. The iWalk was a brilliant fabrication. It was very much what the Mac community wanted. Maybe it will pop up again in NY.
 

AmbitiousLemon

Moderator emeritus
Nov 28, 2001
3,413
0
down in Fraggle Rock
ive said this before but...

...people seem more receptive now. my little imagining of an iNewton would be a little something like this (sorry im not in a list mood right now):

it should be a cross between a tablet and a pda. i carry little pads of paper around with me wherever i go and let me tell u, these are larger than most pda, but there is a difference they are longer but not much wider. take a look at your pockets they are typically deep but not wide. if the whole surface is an lcd then a long narrow iNewt would have a very large screen. heres another stupid idea... why not make it slightly flexible? just a tiny bit of flex would greatly increase its portability and comfort. a pad of paper in your pocket bends with you as you move a pda feels like a clunky brick in you pocket. a slight flex might greatly add to comfort. i recently read an article about a new sony laptop that had an lcd screen that could switch back and forth between indoor and outdoor modes (manually). the outdoor mode uses reflected ambient light to increase screen brightness (can anyone find the article?). an iNewt (every laptop/pda/tablet should be equipped with this!) with this sort of technology would ease eyestrain outdoors (im tired of peering at dim lcds). the ipod is great right now and i love actual harddrive technology but with ibm's pixiedust (http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1006-200-7801977.html) id like to see an ibm microdrive (article says 6gb in the 1inch square microdrive by next year!) in any iNewt. connectivity to your desktop is obvious but i woudl liketo see much more. i would like the iNewt to be a number of things in this respect: 1) an independant portable computer 2) a go between for data 3) a remote client for your desktop that both mirrors your desktop's monitor and accesses all the data and processing power in your desktop system. imagine for a moment you are a university professor. you have a beautiful mac in your office, the university has wireless access all over the campus, and you teach classes hold office hours and work in your office the lab and the field. you were in your office this morning and prepared a powerpoint presentation for class on your desktop, iNewt in pocket you headed to the lab to see what the undergraduate monkeys you have workin for you have accomplished lately. you are so excited about all the data the monkeys have produced you quickly download all the data into your iNewt and start talking excitedly with the kids while jotting notes down to you iNewt as fast as you would write to a clipboard. you suddenly realize you have office hours and rush off to the cafe on campus where you hold these informal sessions. as usual no one shows up for awhile and as you wait you wirelessly mirror your desktop (which has been synching with you iNewt all along since you havent left the campus's wireless network) and use the high powered system to analyze the data you had downloaded in the lab. as students trickle in you often use you iNewt to draw useful sketches and flow charts to explain ideas and even cue up webpages, movies, and still photos to explain and illustrate your ideas further. although the iNewt is long and narrow the view rotated 90 degrees to accommodate webpages better. you head off to class where you plug your iNewt into the projector (gigwire, usb2, or wireless whatever) and present the powerpoint presentation you created that morning but never transferred to your iNewt (didnt need to since it is always synching with your desktop). after class you head back to the office and take a look at the data that you started the machine analyzing hours ago. end of the day you head home leaving the campuses wireless network. you could pay for a broadband wireless plan but chose not to since your iNewt could stand on its own. stuck in traffic you plug your iNewt into teh car stereo and play your mp3 files (if you wanted you could use the wireless earbud head phones but your alone so no need). just then your cellphone rings. its one of those new ones where the bulk of it fits behind your ear with a hearing piece (that doubles as a mic) that fits in your ear like those old fashioned hearing aids. you glance at your iNewt which wirelessly synch with you cellphone to see who it is. you take the call since its your buddy you met at macrumors years ago. he has his iNewt with him so you point the iNewt's pinpoint webcam at yoruself and click the button to synch the cellphone call with the webcam so you can both talk and see your buddy (you are in the car who needs to look at the road?). you arrive home and finish your call with your buddy. as you pull up your iNewt recognizes your home wirelessnetwork and quickly synchs with your home computer automatically. you sit on the couch in front of the tv and mirror your desktop on your iNewt as you decide to write tomorrow's lecture notes and powerpoint presentation. as you work you play your mp3s on your desktop, mp3s on your iNewt, and cds in your stereo all in one playlist that plays over your stereo's speakers thanks to the idock that connects your tv, stereo, iNewt, and desktop. visuals play on your big screen digital tv. after work you feel like relaxing so you watch the mpeg of ferris bueller's day off you ripped from the dvd a friend loaned you. your imac perfectly plays the movie on your tv. before bed you transfer another movie to your iNewt so you can watch it on the plane trip this weekend. and so is your day with iNewt. i like what someone mentioned about packaging a iNewt with a desktop system. a remote control is to a tv as a iNewt is to your desktop (ok its a bit more). microdrive, bright lcd, airport AND bluetooth, newton hwr, a small webcam, wireless connections with computers, cellphones, etc.

a pda should be a great notepad and much much more. right now pdas arent even good notepads. a pda shoudl be a great
independant machine but should also be able to take advantage (and help sell) the great processing power and storage of a desktop system. its so frustrating to be like two doors down from a powerful desktop setup and not be able to access it. i love my laptop. i got it mostly because i wanted to work from my couch. o sure i carry it all over work and back and forth between work and home, but i cant carry the thing with me everywhere. if i had a pda that could synch with my desktop i wouldnt need my laptop. so would such a product canablize the laptop market? a little, i still see a role for laptops but with such a pda around i think the gains would greatly outweigh the losses.

much more to say but ive ranted for far too long!
 

cplmd

macrumors member
Dec 22, 2001
50
0
Louisiana
Phew, AmbitiousLemon, that is alot of want's in that post, but you are far from alone.
What you want is called ubiquitous computing or pervasive if you are IBM.

There are companies looking at this, as usual, it started at Xerox PARC and continues their, albeit slower as that company faces financial woes.

HP is also looking at it in their cooltown program and IBM has their pervasive computing and UI labs. Of course, Microsoft has a hand in it under the Microsoft Research group, having just brought in some big name academics to add to their work.

Notice who is not in that list? yea, Apple.

In my opinion, this truely is the third revolution in computing. First were main frames, one computer -> many users, next PCs as on one computer -> one user and now with networking added, esp. internetworking and wireless you have many computers -> one user. Alot of us get hung up on converging everything on one DEVICE when it's actually the NETWORK that is converging in that all the INFORMATION is converged in one resource, the net, and therefore accessibe from ANY device.

Granted this third revolution in computing has been gradually happening, where more and more embedded processors surronding us everyday, microwave ovens, frig, auto, heating and cooling. But up to this point most embedded systems are not networked. And most desktops, like 90% in the WORLD, still use dial-up for internetworking.

Your iNewt is important not so much in the device itself but in what it needs to do.

Think about it, what would one device that did all that cost?? Alot, and would you be willing to risk sitting on it and breaking it or leaving in the car in the sun or give it to a 5 year old to play with? Probably not if it costs what I suspect it would. That's one of the problems I have with PocketPCs. I have two iPaqs, they are great as in screen display, battery life is so so but they allow me to access the info I needed and that to paraphrase MasterCard is priceless.

So we need to take a step back and look at the whole picture. What do we do and need.
Computers are mainly communication devices now - think e-mail, IM, netMeeting, online games.
We do create some content now with still cameras and video with camcorders but spend more time watching pro media (movies) or listening to pro audio (songs).
There is an ocean of content to access, so much we need a computer to organize it.

So this is what I envision,
your home is your personal domain, with a domain controller ie server in a closet some where just like hVAC or a cable box. It is the input point of your broadband connection to the Internet and the gateway to secure that connection. Mainly through wireless and some wired connection, all communication runs thgough it. It represents the major storage bucket for your pictures, movies, documents etc., your content for the home domain. This next part is important. How you access that content depends on the content and where you are. For simple e-mail, sms or lists and tasks, a 3x5 light CHEAP slate for access is all you need. Notice, first light and small, fits in any pocket so you always have it with you. Since it's all screen and that screen is completely programable it can also control any device that needs controlling in the house. It uses bluetooth to connect and I find HP's argument of Web type protocols to communicate given their standard nature.

Notice it's also cheap so you have more than one and don't break the bank when it breaks. And with a nice list UI you can choose songs, movies or documents you want on the nearest system to play or watch the media.

Now reading is still fun and sometimes a movies for one only needs a 12-14 inch screen. That's you next level of device. A table pc as they are evolving from laptops. This is more expensive but also less handy to carry. It has a camera for netMeeting and photographs or video and some storage locally as a buffer but still keeps most stuff on your server(s). It too has bluetooth but also wireless LAN 802.11 dujour. The screen is large enough to do real work on and via bluetooth and with a stylus in place of a mouse, allows you to do desktop work anywhere. Notice most of it's storage is accessed over a network on a server. With that server connected all the time and in broadband to the Internet, your media and work, i.e. ANY data, is available anywhere at any time.

Also, you have the media room, large wall display with killer audio. Everyone gathers there to watch movies as they were meant to be experienced and you can netMeeting there in a conference, look as all the latest family pics, etc.

This is at home, one the road you have two devices to connect you. Your cell phone has morphed into a link device that can do audio only but also through bluetooth lets you use the better display on you 3x5 cheap pad. The pad or the link keeps the 30 to 40 most contacted names organized for one touch connecting. You can exchange graphics or whiteboard type info. The auto itself has a mobile server in the trunk with storage for your media, syncing wirelessly with the home server while at home and tied into a large WAN same as the linking device (cell phone). Anything not in it's storage bucket can be retrieved from the home or any one on the Internet.

I apologize for the long post, this is easier done with graphics. But I urge you to look at HP's www.cooltown.com site and IBM's pervasive computing and Microsoft's Research sites. Oh, I also left out MIT's Oxygen project. They had a big splash in Scientific American a few years ago but not much press since. What they are developing there is what we will have to use. And given the faith I have had in Apple since 1980, I don't want them to miss the boat and become some research or design arm of another company as I think this non-convergant digital hub strategy will lead too. Few companies are more creative than Apple and we need them to apply themselves to this effort too.

Just as Apple brought the idea of Xerox PARC's graphical user interface to the world, I hope they can do the same with Ubiquitous computing.
 

AmbitiousLemon

Moderator emeritus
Nov 28, 2001
3,413
0
down in Fraggle Rock
cplmd... i like this guy

very well said cplmd. i admit i threw in a lot of unneccesary extras (or "wants") in the pda i described.

i enjoy and share your vision of the future, but i think it is hardly something we will be enjoying in the near future.

i see my vision of a iNewt as a step in the direction that will bring us to the future you have described. it is beginning to truly USE wireless connectivity that has the potential to create a future in which we may actually use our computers as a part of our everyday lives.

i like what you said about this third revolution. im right there with you, but im afraid no large corporations are truly "there." as usual it seems all the big players will be late in the game. why woudl i say this after you mentioned so many links to corporations researching this very thing? because although the research seems to be occuring in some for the intermediate steps to bring us to whereever the research leads are not being executed. Perhaps im being too optimistic about what we can accomplish right now. Perhaps these intermediates are still years off. But im concerned that the lack of intermediates in our lives now is a hint that this research is too focused on its final destination rather than how to take the consumer there in the baby steps that are necessary.