14 January 2008

"Something in the air. A storm is coming."

Apple has unveiled their traditional Keynote tagline, along the lines of "The Beat goes on" or "The first thirty years were just the beginning". This time, "There's something in the air". I can only assume they're not referring to Apple's sky-high sales and share price (Those those will, no doubt, get a mention), but what do they refer to then?

It's a matter of some debate. Join me for a second look at what may be just around the corner at Apple.

So, there's something in the air. You know, words like those foretold the splitting of Ten and Rose...Anyway, Doctor Who geekdo
m aside, what - if anything - is Apple getting at?

A surprisingly popular theory is a featherweight slim Apple notebook with no wires - with induction charging dock even. Hmm, would the dock have to plug in though? Wouldn't that be plug-less guys? Not wireless?

Well anyway, it's a nice idea. I would suggest that induction charging is possible as a magnetically attached pad of some sort. MagSafe 2 basically...Hey! I called that! If that's on the MacBook they unveil, I called it. I claim full credit as the one who broke that.

That said, ditching USB for Wireless USB? Not cool. What about all those iPods? It's nonsense to be honest. Ditching the power p
lug in favour of MagSafe 2 may be cool, but USB and FireWire ports are kind of needed. Apple could hide them on the back behind a cover if it really wanted clean lines though.

The only problem I have with any of this, is the name. People keep calling it MacBook Air.Aside from the obvious complaint that one could levy at that (That it lacks Apple's trademark subtlety to use the suffix as the basis for a tagline), it's also a really awful name. I can't stress enough how utterly and completely shitty it is.


I mean, it's just terrible. What could possess Apple, who brought us the names iPod, Mac, AirPort, iMac, iBook, MacBook and Mighty Mouse (Yes, I do like that name. Call me crazy, but associations with ridiculous cartoons are cool) to call something "MacBook Air".


Come on guys. It's gotta be MacBook Nano. If Apple release a slim notebook called MacBook Air, I swear I will bang my head against the wall.

Awful, awful, name.

As for the more traditional MacBook Nano rumour, I've come across what is either a very unlikely leaked image or an extremely good fake.


If that is what Apple unveil on Tuesday, I will punch the air. I'll even let them away with the MacBook Air naming sin if it looks like that - making the excuse that it made me punch the air (See, there was a reason I used that turn of phrase).

I will pay up to and including £900 for that. Even £1000 if it's features are cool enough. Considering my current plans call for a £699 notebook at a discount of 10%, you can see I really like that design.

But the "something in the air" tagline hasn't just opened speculation on the new MacBook. Some people have offered other more literal interpretations, most of which seem more likely.

For example, there are suggestions that since Apple uses Airport to refer to Wi-Fi devices, Air in Apple-speak might be translated to as radio communication and/or specifically Wi-Fi.

That doesn't tell us what it has to do with Wi-Fi, but it's a start. Some suggest the likely (Wireless synchronisation of data like music ala AppleTV), others the huge and improbable (Apple are co-financing Google's 700MHz spectrum bid or are set to help roll out WiMAX coverage ahead of a WiMAX iPhone).

Nice ideas...Another slightly more worrying idea is that Apple is going to spend half the keynote talking about .Mac - life "up on the cloud", floating in the air. Microsoft Corporate Vision Babble 2006 Consumer Electronics Edition.

Please...Just, no. Make it free if you want Apple, but don't treat net services like some kind of unholy god only you understand - the way Microsoft does basically (Except, in their case, they don't understand them at all).

It's also possible that it refers to all those movies that are going to be sold/rented from iTunes flying through the air to AppleTV.

Or, it could just be a really cool tagline.

Ever think about that?

Remember the trouble attaching meaning to "The beat goes on" got us into?

Yeurch.

Here's another idea out of left field. Many Apple fans are also Nintendo fans and vice versa (Especially since Nintendo graduated from The iPod School of design with DS Lite). This idea is a modification of the pre-existing iPod House/Mario Factory theories.

Nintendo will make games for iPod with Video, OS X For iPod and OS X Mobile (Incidentally, that middle one is what I will from this point forward refer to the Split Pane iPod Classic/Nano 3 OS as), and possibly Mac and AppleTV.

In exchange, Apple will ship a piece of software for Nintendo's Wii via the WiiWare (Wii Software in Europe) system. This will be FrontRow 2. Possibly branded as iTunes or AppleTWii or something cute like that.

I'll call it AppleTV for Wii here.

AppleTV for Wii will mirror AppleTV in features. However, instead of downloading your content, it will rely solely on streaming. So all the content on your Mac or PC can be watched, listened to our whatevered on your TV via Wii.

This is a big win for Apple as well as The Big N. Nintendo gets to monetise Mario and co on Apple's various platforms and, in exchange, gets software which essentially leapfrogs its Wii ahead of Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3 as a media entertainment hub. Which sucks for Microsoft and Sony since that's really their main defense against Nintendo's unstoppable onslaught with Wii.

Apple, meanwhile, gets to sell a slightly cut down version of Apple TV to less HD-oriented customers without having to build any hardware. All they do is charge a one-off software fee, say, 1200 Wii Points (If they even decide to charge) and the iTunes/AppleTV ecosystem becomes backwards compatible with non-HD TVs and draws in new customers to iTunes from those who have Wiis and want to watch movies on their TVs.

In fact, I think Apple should do that anyway. It's such an obvious idea. AppleTV adds a hard drive and support for the HD movies I expect Apple to put on iTunes, whilst AppleTV for Wii provides a cheaper way into the system
(And something of a backdoor for Apple to get customers in, ala Sony and the Blu-Ray toting PS3).

Jens Out

1 comment:

Amaranth said...

Thanks for writing this.