Likelyhood of an "iServe" media server from Apple ?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by sonofmof, May 21, 2008.

  1. sonofmof macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    i'm seriously interested in the idea of a home media server built by apple to store and run all my files. (I have no interest in hacking my ATV etc...)

    I have many apple products, and the "iServe" could be just what I need to greatly simplify things for me.

    Currently we have, 2 Macs, 2 laptops, 4 ipods (shuffle, touch, nano and mini) an AEBS and an Apple TV.

    My photo collection is around 6000 pictures and i have around 2000 songs, some tv shows and some movies.

    if there was a server from apple, that i could link all these too, 1 mac could be the master, the others could access information, so that my iMac didn't have to be on and running intunes to enable me to stream photos or tv shows to my apple tv. it could also enable backups via time machine and photo library sharing etc.. basically like a "shard media" area available to all the networked devices.

    BTW, i would not want this linked into my apple tv, a separte device, or an upgrade to time capsule, (eg time capsule take two) would do the trick.

    am I wishing for a fantasy ? or could this happen soon.
     
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #2
    That's what I was hoping the Apple TV would be.

    Heck, if that's what the Apple TV was, I'd get one without even owning a Hi-Def TV!
     
  3. sonofmof thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
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    UK
    #3
    i'm glad the apple tv isn't that.

    i like it for what it is, an ipod for my tv.

    i can switch it off when not needed, its silent, its discreet under my tv, i figure the iServe would need 1tb minimum, and would have to offer expandability, perhaps extra storage modules to stack underneath to increase storage, it would have to be on all the time, and available for all the machines to access. I envisage it sitting next to or inplace of my AEBS in the office / den.
     
  4. JonHimself macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

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    Nov 3, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #4
    I think this is a relatively untapped market. Sure there are a number of NAS options and make-shift ways to set-up your own home server but there is (as far as I know) no very simple, personal incarnation of a server. As Apple pushes this digital lifestyle (and as people in general are turning more and more to their computers to help deliver entertainment - music, movies, etc) it would be nice if they marketed a server for the home use that worked within the 'iLife' suite.
    I know everyone likes to have their own types of files and have everything be open and customizable but the more I've bought into the whole MP4, AAC Apple way of doing media, the easier it has been to use iTunes to organize all of my media.
     
  5. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #5
    I think it's likely as it's becoming a necessity.

    For instance. Today my media collection resemebles about 200 CDs (lets say and avg of 500MB a disc) . I have roughly 80 DVD (representing and avg of 7-8GB each). If Apple truly wants to be the source of my future media there is no way in hell I'm going to be able to manage this amount of data across multiple computers. They MUST deliver a Home Server for our sanity.

    I believe they will do just that. Maybe not this year but before 2010 we'll have it. The pieces are coming together.

    1. Ubiquitious Networking- Wireless networks are getting faster (11n) and easier to setup.

    2. Sharing-
    Leopard is all about sharing data. Finding data on networked Macs via spotlight and sharing screens.

    3. Metadata- Apple's constantly improving their usage of metadata. A server is going to need to maintain the metadata that's encapsulated with the files it serves.

    Quicktime- Leopard's QTkit is more robust where dealing with multiple streams is concerned.

    Quicklook and rich Icon previews-
    Leopard displays files and gorgeous icons that really help figure out what that file is. Quicklook is there when you need to dig deeper. They will play a role.

    Parental Controls -
    You don't want your kids accessing your porn collection do you..ahem Marital aid videos.

    Time Machine - to back all this mess up.



    iMedia server or whateva Apple calls it is a must. I've only got two computers going but just keeping some items in sync across the two is a pain.
     
  6. JonHimself macrumors 68000

    JonHimself

    Joined:
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    Toronto, Ontario
    #6
    Maybe we will finally see the iHome? When was that? Like 3 years ago?

    I think the best point your post is the whole multiple computers aspect. The way Apple has their computers lined up is such that it is reasonable to assume that a lot of Mac users do have more than one in a household. While they wouldn't want to encourage over-sharing of files (ie would still want you to buy two copies of album from iTunes rather than one and just share it) through various aspects of their eco-system it is clear that they do want to encourage, or at least make it easy, to access, search and share files on multiple computers.
    I have been, on several occasions, very temped to buy a NAS because it is becoming a pain to have two external drives constantly hooked up if I want to be able to access all of my files easily but continue to hold out simply because I want Apple to release a consumer server of their own.
     
  7. logandzwon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    #7
    I was thinking ATV should be kinda like you are saying. replicate my iTunes media there and let synced machines subscripe to stuff they like.
     
  8. roland.g macrumors 603

    roland.g

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    #8
    I agree but can tell you we are a long way away.

    My wife and I use my/our iMac. I used to have a G4 tower and she had a 12" PB. The iMac replaced those. I don't like her browsing because I keep lots of windows open with like 10 tabs each and being somewhat used to Windows, she closes the entire window (all the tabs) when she is done. So I set up the iMac with two user accounts but wanted each of us to have access to all the music and photos in our libraries as well as address book and calenders. Well this is not very easily done in the Apple world. If you have two Macs and a .Mac account, a single user can sync bookmarks, addresses, calendars, etc. But two separate users doesn't work the same. It is really tricky with iPhoto and iTunes to have a single shared library where each user can add new stuff seen by the other user and change things etc. You can't have separate playlists and albums other than using folders for them because it is one library file, but it works. For the address book I use .Mac address to sync to both sides and she has her own .Mac email only account for email. We use one web gallery for photos and movies.

    Now we also have an Apple TV, which of course I have most of our DVDs ripped to the iMac and some purchased TV shows and movies as well and we use it for the occasional rentals as well as watching photos, the screensaver and music functions. One problem that I get is having to put my password in frequently to log the Apple TV back into our network so that it will sync with iTunes. On top of that it syncs with my user account library so it loses the connection during the time that she switches over to her side. Currently the iTunes and iPhoto libraries reside on the iMacs 750 GB internal HDD but that will soon need to be off loaded to external storage because I am getting under 100 GB free space which really isn't a great idea. I will probably keep the music and photos there but off load the movies. Ideally yes, an iServe or what not would be the best solution but technically the iMac is that. An iServe would have the same functionality problems that multiple users face and the same would be if a family with multiple macs were accessing the data: permissions. Who gets to add new music, photos, movies. Who can just read. Who can make new playlists. Are the playlists just independent to the individual mac. Which of those then show up on the Apple TVs etc.....

    We are getting ready to renovate our house this summer with an addition. Our current TV family room will be relocated to the addition, there will be a new basement playroom and bedroom, and a new upstairs master as well as conversion of the current master into 2 kid's bedrooms. Short term I would like to be able to have our current Apple TV in the new family room and add one in our new master. Down the line I would like to add one to the downstairs playroom and have the ability to add them to the kid's rooms. But I have no idea if without syncing - in streaming only mode the iMac or whatever Mac can push a movie to one TV and a movie or music to a different TV. I suppose for the kids that isn't too hard when they are young, just sync their favorite movies. But you get the idea. I am considering wiring all these rooms with Cat 5E or Cat 6 to avoid the interference pitfalls I currently get with dropped signals so that these Apple TV units can run on hard lines. I certainly think at some point we will see a media hub that the computers connect to. But I don't know when that will be. Right now I am just trying to figure out the best solution to make our house work with what is available and wire it to provide some limited future proofing.
     
  9. nuckinfutz macrumors 603

    nuckinfutz

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2002
    Location:
    Middle Earth
    #9
    Normal computers can be pressed in server like duty but IMO the true mark of a server is the application it runs and not the task. Any modern OS does filesharing and thus could be said to be a "server" but as the needs for fast and efficient sharing rise that basic computer begins to show it's weakness.

    A dedicated home server for OS X would be designed with fast and efficient sharing in mind.

    Permissions

    Access Control List (ACL) are enabled by default in Leopard. Setting up robust permissions is a snap. I would suppose that you would give access to publish new media to the server to whoever's in your home..after all they "are" family LOL.

    Playlists

    Here's is where some changes have to happen. In a media server we need to have a consolidate stash of our music/photos/videos etc. BUT...in order to allow each person to effectively manage their Digital Lifestyle we need to offer them the ability to set things up the way they want. So in this case you'd have iTunes Client which would contain your personal metadata database. Your ratings, eq settings, tagging would all be kept locally in a Core Data store. You'd only need read access for 90% of files so that makes it easy to have family members potentially listening to the same file even though that would be a rarity in many cases.

    Syncing

    Bonjour would facilitate easy network connections. iPhones already sync purchased content back to your library upon the next syncing. Apple TV would have its on syncing parameters. In Leopard the filesystem tracks every change(FSevents) which is how Time Machine keeps up. This makes the creation of a "watched folder" easier. You may be able to set up an automated sytem where new music hits a folder ..has automated steps done and is uploaded into the Master iTunes Library. iTunes Client would then notify each user that new music is available to be added their their "virtual library" if they choose.


    If I'm a betting man I think that 10.6 will be the first OS or at least the ideal OS to deliver a Home Server with. This is based on my assumption that features like ZFS will be added, Spotlight will continue to get better and metadata will continue its march towards being more portable across various filesystems. Threading will be more pervasive and we'll be 64-bit for most items that need it. Core Data will take another leap forward in speed and flexibility and of course having a Quad Core computer in 2009-2010 will be under $1000 even for a Mac.

    In fact the Server will be headless, Offer at least 3 drive bays an come in a cube like format. In typical Steve Jobs fashion it'll be flashy and well designed.
     

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