Airport Express 2.0? iTunes Movies?

Oh there’s so much to talk about. Next week (on Tuesday of course) Apple is supposed to reveal some new products and/or services.

  • Apple sent out a notice saying “It’s Show Time“… just smells like a movie service is coming.
  • Apple just updated the iMac line, and just released the Mac Pro, so desktop hardware doesn’t seem to likely to be a big focus.
  • iPods haven’t been updated in a long time, likely in part because Apple has been redoing them to use a Samsung chipset (Apple already uses Samsung SDRAM) rather than the PortalPlayer chip. Rumored to have a touch screen. Which I mentioned a while back (with a mock-up).
  • Apple’s also rumored to reveal a new Airport Express with support for video.
  • A cell phone is still said to be in the works (iPhone), but that’s not due until 2007.

I really like the idea of a video enabled Airport Express… I really want one already, and they haven’t even announced it yet.

Apple a Phone Service

Business Week’s Alex Salkever has an interesting article about Apple creating it’s own Skype like system. I’ve talked briefly about Skype before. I’m a huge fan. It’s a solid product. But Apple should take it to the next level. Allow me explain:

Ideally, for anything to become a good communication standard, it must be a standard. Skype is proprietary. While free, it’s not something that will be ported to a billion obscure systems anytime soon. There is also no guarantee it will stay free. We can only hope and trust. We need a standard. Something that can never be taken away. Apple, is an Open Source company these days. Look at how much open source is under the hood of Mac OS X. Clearly standards are a part of Apple’s future. Apple also has a history with communications (AppleTalk, iChat, Rendezvous). Apple has lots of experience with rich media (QuickTime), as well as streaming rich media. Apple is the perfect company for the task.

What’s needed?

An open platform for voice communications that meets the following requirements:

  • Secure
  • P2P
  • Needs to be a Standard
  • Needs to be built on standards (TCP/IP, etc. etc)
  • Nothing proprietary in the protocol
  • Someone with an eye for how to do things “right”
  • Directory Mechanism
  • Method to prevent abuse (spam)

Now if Apple created some protocol with a few partners (Motorola, of a PPC relationship also has a stake in communications) create a standard, it’s got a good shot at taking off. A great place to integrate Rendezvous. Or a similar technology perhaps based upon it.

Advantages for Apple

  1. A vast new communications feature for Mac OS X/iChat. This could serve as the core, as they add features for their release. Able to use what’s contributed by other companies/individuals.
  2. Gain a reputation of not just being a hardware company, but a standards company
  3. The “digital hub” concept so far is pretty encompassing but to date, everyone forgets about the most common electronic device: the telephone
  4. A system that will connect to much more than just Mac users. Any OS where someone wants to support it.

Apple was afraid of being left behind with the Internet, after Microsoft got fussy, so they created Mail.app and Safari, to ensure Mac users always had the Internet (despite Firefox rocking on the Mac). Guess what the next big Application is? That’s right.

But Apple is a Hardware company

True, but there are still advantages. Besides for the fact that the OS is crucial to make a computer worth anything, did you think how much Phones can be worth? That’s right. Who is to say Apple or another company can’t make a landline phone that uses WiFi and/or Ethernet to plug right into the net? No more phone bills. Just use our sleek phone. Using iSync, it keeps in touch with your Address Book on your Mac, so your address book is on every iPhone in your home. It can go anywhere via WiFi using Airport. Use an Airport Express to extend the range so you can be in the backyard with your cordless phone. Does anyone see how much hardware software integration there is here?

This is a market ripe for Apple to pick. Not to mention Apple already has the perfect domain for to host the project: www.iphone.org

Apple is to damn sexy

Yes, I know, I’m a Mac nut. My favorite OS is Mac OS X, I dream of the G5 at night. The dual processor G5 is hot (in more ways than one)…

But Apple just made my day. The AirPort Express is just what I’ve been wanting.

I could see a few uses for me:

  1. Hook laptop to stereo
  2. Wireless access in the dorm
  3. Extend wireless network when @ home where it gets weak

The question is if I’ll upgrade my laptop to 802.11g (only if I can do it integrated via an IBM upgrade of the mini-pci card). That would make it super sexy. Perhaps that will be part II, since I’m not filthy rich.

And if I should get cables. Apple has that $39 kit which sounds pretty handy, though I might be able to do better.

Way to cool. Just way to cool. I’m thinking it fits me wants and needs perfectly.

Anyone know if there will be a way to pipe all audio (not just iTunes) over the Airport Express? Would be nice to do more than just music (games for example).

Now I guess it’s pretty much written in stone that a iWiFi enabled Pod is coming soon. I can’t see Apple missing out on that.