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Apple reportedly shifting Airport base stations to use iOS

post #1 of 99
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Limited availability of Apple's wireless AirPort and Time Capsule base stations suggest a hardware refresh, with new rumors indicating the company will shift its wireless base station line to use iOS.

Apple's existing AirPort and Time Capsule products have for several years used embedded ARM processors built by Marvell (the original models used AMD and later PowerPC chips), but they run a unique embedded operating system.

Shifting these products to use a custom build of Apple's iOS would make it easier for the company to port content streaming, sharing and other networking features between Mac OS X, iOS and its AirPort base stations.

For example, Apple could bring its existing firewall, file sharing, software update service, calendar and WebDAV servers, and other existing services to AirPort products with less effort and maintain such services using a common codebase shared with Mac OS X Server, desktop Macs, and mobile iOS devices.

Using a common code base and core OS could also open the potential for an AirPort App Store allowing third party developers to sell add-on functionality to AirPort products.

Such a move is also anticipated to enable Apple to incorporate local client support for its new iCloud services, some of which appear to already be represented in the company's existing MobileMe services.

Existing Mac OS X and iOS features such as iDisk cloud storage and file sync, MobileMe Sync Services, Back to My Mac VPN secure remote access, AirPlay and AirPrint already have some support in AirPort base stations, but an iOS base station could readily support enhanced and expanded support for these types of features.

Some reports have speculated that AirPort could incorporate Apple's Software Update feature of Mac OS X Server, which enables a server to download and cache available updates for local users, allowing them to obtain updates without each client needing to download its own copy of identical updates.

New features anticipated for iCloud, including remote, mobile access of streaming commercial music from Apple's servers, may also be accelerated or cached by improved new AirPort base stations built using iOS. Such devices could also accelerate the relay of user content to a cloud-based digital locker service.

New base stations could also conceptually save copies of Time Machine backups to a user's cloud storage, or sync specific types of documents to the cloud for secure, mobile remote access. Such utility is suggested in a tweet by AppleTweaks portraying what appears to be iOS 5 offering settings for Time Machine and iCloud settings (pictured below)



In the opposite direction, a cloud-savvy AirPort device could also download and cache Mac and iOS App Store updates for quick local installation, and support local or even remote syncing of media or software updates for mobile iOS devices, reducing or eliminating the need for users to sync with iTunes directly.

Additional rumors reported to AppleInsider suggest that Apple's AirPort team is working on wireless drivers for non-Intel CPUs, suggesting the possibility that iOS devices could directly be used to set up and configure new AirPort or Time Capsule devices without needing a Mac or Windows PC to run AirPort Utility.

Last year, Apple shifted its Apple TV product from an Intel x86 CPU running a scaled down version of Mac OS X to a cheaper ARM-based device running an embedded version of iOS. That update enabled the new Apple TV to support AirPlay streaming of audio and video. A similar makeover for the portable AirPort Express could incorporate an HDMI port to provide similar audio and video streaming features.

New AirPort base station devices could also incorporate support for offering guest wireless access as configured by the user, providing or segregating guest access from local file sharing, print and media streaming services.

post #2 of 99
I push this even farther and say the new Time Capsule will be in the Mac mini-like chassis. Meaning a milled block of aluminium.
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post #3 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I push this even farther and say the new Time Capsule will be in the Mac mini-like chassis. Meaning a milled block of aluminium.

While a milled aluminum case would be greener than white plastic and help the device run cooler I worry about the cost.
post #4 of 99
That would be really awesome I think. It would make the router into a smart home server and a manager of your network. As the article mentioned downloading update for easy install while you are not home, or continuing to download files while you take your laptop from your house (capsule only functionality of course). I doubt it will happen in wwdc, but who knows maybe in the near future.
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post #5 of 99
Cool. Soft integration, I like it.
Meanwhile, I thought DED have gone AWOL. No input from him lately. Mind you, Microsoft is no news nowadays.
post #6 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I push this even farther and say the new Time Capsule will be in the Mac mini-like chassis. Meaning a milled block of aluminium.

Would be cool. I'd like to see a standard dimension arise like on stereo and rack equipment.

If the next generation of routers are really groundbreakingly icloud-empowered (software updates are relatively mundane compared to what's possible) we may be looking at iOS as the operating system for the home, PERIOD. The router is the beachhead dontcha see? Think:
Media obviously
Power optimization, remote control, every lightswitch an iPod touch (sorta)
Smart grid (the home's backend power optimization)
Security
Will this be the standard for the future of VoIP? Steve=pa bell?
Imagine third party apps like networked home medical equipment, telemetry, scales.for the aging@home boomers, etc.
post #7 of 99
If the existing AirPort Extreme are using an ARM-based processor, does that mean that they may update my Airport Extreme to this new iOS version of it? That would be really bad-ass if the would.
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post #8 of 99
I don't know if this is possible because of broadcast regulations... but it would be great...

Consider a home or an office full of Macs, TimeMachines, Airports, ATVs, iPads, iPhones.

What all these devices [will] have in common is a programmable A4/5, x86 and a WiFi Chip.

What if, within the private confines of the home or the office -- these devices could ignore "regulations" and exchange data, amongst themselves, at much higher bandwidths?

Say, copy a movie from a media server to an iPad in seconds, rather than minutes.

Or backup that large FCP video (and all its attendant files) to the central TimeMachine Home Server (for later backup to the cloud)

The WiFi within these environments is used for a lot more than just accessing the Internet (through an IP provider with bandwidth limitations).

Then, at some later date... when the IP providers catch up...
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post #9 of 99
In other news: Angry Birds has been announced for Time Capsule!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post

While a milled aluminum case would be greener than white plastic and help the device run cooler I worry about the cost.

Antennas and aluminum cases don't play well together!

Maybe it'll look more like the AppleTV?
post #10 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Eggleston View Post

If the existing AirPort Extreme are using an ARM-based processor, does that mean that they may update my Airport Extreme to this new iOS version of it?

Of course not. It's Apple. You'll be buying the new one if you want the new OS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I push this even farther and say the new Time Capsule will be in the Mac mini-like chassis. Meaning a milled block of aluminium.

It's a router, soli! I'm very surprised that you don't know what aluminum would imply!

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post #11 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by iamdeadfish View Post

In other news: Angry Birds has been announced for Time Capsule!




Antennas and aluminum cases don't play well together!

Maybe it'll look more like the AppleTV?

I like the ATV2 form factor -- especially the size and the built-in power supply.

Though, A Home server would by definition require disks and power supplies.
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post #12 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I push this even farther and say the new Time Capsule will be in the Mac mini-like chassis. Meaning a milled block of aluminium.

The possibilities sound great, but doesn't this mean you are going to have a lot of work setting it up for all of your relatives?
post #13 of 99
I wonder if it will enable more HD movie rentals for the Mac?

Currently you can often rent HD for iPad/Apple TV but only SD for Mac. This is probably because iOS is more locked down and content providers are worried that OS X users will find a way to hack the copy protection. But if the router (running iOS) downloads the Movie and only streams it to the Mac, would that keep the content providers happy?
post #14 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Currently you can often rent HD for iPad/Apple TV but only SD for Mac.

Uh... Where've you been?

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post #15 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post

While a milled aluminum case would be greener than white plastic and help the device run cooler I worry about the cost.

I hear ya, but I wondered about cost of the unibody MBPs came out, the Apple Remote Control, Mac mini, the latter seeming excessive to only being used for Apple's simple desktop Mac.
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post #16 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

It's a router, soli! I'm very surprised that you don't know what aluminum would imply!

I'm aware, but all their other aluminum shelled devices have several radios and they did expand the Mac mini's footprint to match that as their AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule.

I just can't accept that the Mac mini being milled from a .solid block of aluminum makes sense unless you want to move that to other devices that match that footprint.
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post #17 of 99
Sounds like a possible version of the iHub/iCenter/iHome/iCentral/iMesh I've been rambling on about (ad nauseum - sorry guys ) and adding ideas from others to for the past 9 months.

I really do think that a home server "appliance" is required to make the cloud usable for most people, at least as a stop-gap measure until high-speed unlimited Internet is ubiquitous.

The list I iHub/iHome now...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

  • Small, cheap device (iOS maybe, SoC ARM almost certainly)
  • Built in memory but possible HDD for larger libraries
  • iTunes server for iDevices on the network. Movies, TV, music etc. Both purchased and personal libraries. This fits in with iOS 4.3 Home Sharing.
  • OTA iDevice synchronisation for multiple devices. Backups, OS upgrades, purchases etc. Basically you need to be able to have a house with iDevices and no PC.
  • Mobile Me backup/synchronization. Personal documents, video, music, pictures etc should be backed up to your Mobile Me account by the iHub.
  • Shared TimeMachine
  • Ability to offload background processing (I'm yet to convince myself "mainstream" users would understand this one) like app downloads and updates and uploads of large chunks of data (like long YouTube videos or photo albums)
  • Network TV re-broadcasting. Basically DVBLink.



EDIT: This would also tie in with how I think a cloud music service should work as well. iCloud could potentially be similar to what others have created... but I don't think any company has really created a nice mesh of the private/public cloud.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Here is how I would like it to work...
  • iDevices are sync'd over-the-air
  • Songs purchased via iTunes are "backed up" to the cloud
  • iTunes "Home Sharing" is extended to the Internet (the "private cloud")
  • iPhone/iPod does intelligent sync and song caching
  • If you pay for a "premium" Mobile Me (or "iCloud") subscription you get some extra features
    1. Tracks purchased outside of iTunes are also sync'd to the cloud
    2. You get stream/sync access to every song on iTunes
    3. iTunes DJ/Genius works across all songs on iTunes, not just my purchases
    4. I get to select 10 tracks each month to permanently own
    5. iTunes gets a basic web version
  • Finally, regardless of the location of the song (local, cached, private cloud or public cloud) they should all be presented in the one combined user interface.


EDIT: I'd also love to see an iHub/iCenter/iHome/iCentral/iMesh to facilitate the creation of a private cloud as well... but I'm just dreaming now
post #18 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

I wonder if it will enable more HD movie rentals for the Mac?

Currently you can often rent HD for iPad/Apple TV but only SD for Mac. This is probably because iOS is more locked down and content providers are worried that OS X users will find a way to hack the copy protection. But if the router (running iOS) downloads the Movie and only streams it to the Mac, would that keep the content providers happy?

You may be on to something here...

In a post-pc world, an individual user would have less ability to hack or bypass DRM and rip off content. If true, then the content providers could concentrate on providing better content, more accessible content -- at better prices.

Surely, Content providers would be more amenable to doing this for the curated iTunes - iOS ecosystem -- than for the relatively wide-open, anything goes system provided by Android.
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post #19 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I like the ATV2 form factor -- especially the size and the built-in power supply.

Though, A Home server would by definition require disks and power supplies.

I think a single 3.5" HDD for a new Time Capsule will be bad, two would be okay, and three disks would be great for a Home Server. I'm not even going to push my luck with four disks or wanting them to be hot swappable.

I have to think that Apple knows the 'PC' isn't the hub it once was and that homes want to be connected by a single repository to a variety of satellite devices. I also have to think Apple is well aware of failed Time Capsule HDDs as we are.

Am I really asking for too much?
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post #20 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Uh... Where've you been?


There are very few HD movies for Mac here in Australia, only Apple TV and iPad can rent HD. I was assuming it was an OS security thing, but perhaps it's just regional licensing.

Edit: I wonder if it will still be called Airport? I saw in Lion screenshots the term Airport had been replaced by simply WiFi.
post #21 of 99
I guess it will become a nano server.
post #22 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Sounds like a possible version of the iHub/iCenter/iHome/iCentral/iMesh I've been rambling on about (ad nauseum - sorry guys ) and adding ideas from others to for the past 9 months.

I really do think that a home server "appliance" is required to make the cloud usable for most people, at least as a stop-gap measure until high-speed unlimited Internet is ubiquitous.

The list I iHub/iHome now...

Quote:
  • Small, cheap device (iOS maybe, SoC ARM almost certainly)
  • Built in memory but possible HDD for larger libraries
  • iTunes server for iDevices on the network. Movies, TV, music etc. Both purchased and personal libraries. This fits in with iOS 4.3 Home Sharing.
  • OTA iDevice synchronisation for multiple devices. Backups, OS upgrades, purchases etc. Basically you need to be able to have a house with iDevices and no PC.
  • Mobile Me backup/synchronization. Personal documents, video, music, pictures etc should be backed up to your Mobile Me account by the iHub.
  • Shared TimeMachine
  • Ability to offload background processing (I'm yet to convince myself "mainstream" users would understand this one) like app downloads and updates and uploads of large chunks of data (like long YouTube videos or photo albums)
  • Network TV re-broadcasting. Basically DVBLink.


... cha, cha, cha... olé!


Seriously, Apple could offer a "starter" system, say for $99-$150, for a home with a few iPads and iPhones -- no pcs, and would backup all your content locally and to the cloud -- as well as software installs, updates, syncs. etc.

Edit: Oh, Oh OH...if the starter system were hockey puck size (like ATV2) and [backup] battery operated... you could take it your favorite WiFi HotSpot & let it do its thing -- while you did yours!


Then, expandable as necessary for home or business needs -- no reason that you couldn't have more than one of these "little boxes" on your network!
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post #23 of 99
Maybe they'll finally do an airport admin utility app for iOS.

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post #24 of 99
I wonder if it will be possible to sync an iOS device against iCloud and/or an AirPort with attached hard drive/Time Machine/etc. rather than a Mac or PC?

The iPad is definitely ready to break its bonds and become a stand-alone mobile computer.

Apple's current approach of using iTunes (iTunes?) for app and data management and backup seems to have come about due to historical evolution (i.e. it made sense to use it for putting music on an iPod) rather than particular advantages of usability, power or convenience.
post #25 of 99
An AEBS or TC stacked on Mac mini with the same design would pretty nice. Didn't the reviews say the wireless signal works great out of the round plastic bottom?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Seriously, Apple could offer a "starter" system, say for $99-$150, for a home with a few iPads and iPhones -- no pcs, and would backup all your content locally and to the cloud -- as well as software installs, updates, syncs. etc.

Then, expandable as necessary for home or business needs -- no reason that you couldn't have more than one of these "boxes" on your network!

If they go with such a cheap iDevice would they not make the AppleTV more palatable and give it double duty?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulkas View Post

Maybe they'll finally do an airport admin utility app for iOS.

That's an idea I haven't heard before. I like it. If they do that then it would be clear that iOS-based iDevices are planned to be independent.
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post #26 of 99
They still need an Apple TV App Store!
post #27 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Sounds like a possible version of the iHub/iCenter/iHome/iCentral/iMesh I've been rambling on about (ad nauseum - sorry guys ) and adding ideas from others to for the past 9 months.

I really do think that a home server "appliance" is required to make the cloud usable for most people, at least as a stop-gap measure until high-speed unlimited Internet is ubiquitous.

The list I iHub/iHome now...

EDIT: This would also tie in with how I think a cloud music service should work as well. iCloud could potentially be similar to what others have created... but I don't think any company has really created a nice mesh of the private/public cloud.

An Apple mesh network device would be fantastic.

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post #28 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by blecch View Post

I wonder if it will be possible to sync an iOS device against iCloud and/or an AirPort with attached hard drive/Time Machine/etc. rather than a Mac or PC?

The iPad is definitely ready to break its bonds and become a stand-alone mobile computer.

I think you might be on to something here. They are finally breaking the chains between iOS devices and PC/Mac, replacing it with Cloud + router.

Maybe it's as simple as, there is a copy of iTunes running on the router, remote controlled by an iOS app.
post #29 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by dagamer34 View Post

They still need an Apple TV App Store!

That'll come with the A5 Apple TV and 1080p video content in iTunes.

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post #30 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by blecch View Post

I wonder if it will be possible to sync an iOS device against iCloud and/or an AirPort with attached hard drive/Time Machine/etc. rather than a Mac or PC?

Absolutely and without any doubt in my mind at all iDevices will sync to the cloud. It's the very definition of "post PC" to have all your stuff floating around in the cloud and any number of satellite devices accessing that data.

I think a better description is "post PC-centric" as PC's will always be around, however instead of a central point to store and sync your data they become just another window into your digital life in the cloud.


There is also the concept of the "public cloud" (e.g. Apple's iCloud servers) and the "private cloud" (e.g. your own server, accessible from the Internet).

I think something like the "iHub" (I won't quote myself again, just read here ) would be ideal to facilitate the creation of a private cloud and/or act as a buffer between devices and the public cloud to minimize the effect of the generally crappy Internet speeds most people have.

I don't see the "iHub" as being essential for the "post PC-centric" world, but it would make a world of difference to the user experience.
post #31 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

I think a better description is "post PC-centric" as PC's will always be around, however instead of a central point to store and sync your data they become just another window into your digital life in the cloud.

I like that term and will be using it.

Quote:
There is also the concept of the "public cloud" (e.g. Apple's iCloud servers) and the "private cloud" (e.g. your own server, accessible from the Internet).

Public and private should be useful decribe local and remote access.

Quote:
I think something like the "iHub" (I won't quote myself again, just read here ) would be ideal to facilitate the creation of a private cloud and/or act as a buffer between devices and the public cloud to minimize the effect of the generally crappy Internet speeds most people have.

I don't see the "iHub" as being essential for the "post PC-centric" world, but it would make a world of difference to the user experience.

Not a fan of iHub, but also not a fan of iPod, iPad, iCloud and many other Apple names that isn't saying much.
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post #32 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Sounds like a possible version of the... ...iHome...



Ah, that old thing. Remember this? From the days of the G3/G4 iBook? Good times.

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post #33 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

image: http://www.dlounge.org/archives/images/ihome.jpg

Ah, that old thing. Remember this? From the days of the G3/G4 iBook? Good times.

That is not ringing any bells. Was that in production?
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post #34 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Seriously, Apple could offer a "starter" system, say for $99-$150, for a home with a few iPads and iPhones -- no pcs, and would backup all your content locally and to the cloud -- as well as software installs, updates, syncs. etc.

Absolutely, but I think they could do it for even less. For starters Apple could almost give away one (or more) years subscription to the iCloud service on every purchase of an "iHub".

Say, for example, you could purchase an iCloud subscription for $99 a year, or you could buy an "iHub" for $150 with an included 2 year iCloud subscription.

It's going to cost Apple a lot of money, but the iHub/iCloud combination could be a loss leader that would tie people into the Apple platform.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

Then, expandable as necessary for home or business needs -- no reason that you couldn't have more than one of these "little boxes" on your network!

I think having multiple boxes on the network is probably the best solution for the "mainstream" user.

As a "power user" my mind goes toward HDD's, RAID, USB/Thunderbolt, SD/flash slots or stackable storage add-ons.

However if I think like a "mainstream" user then if I run out of storage the simple solution is to buy a brand new device, plug it in, let it tell me when everything is copied over, then unplug the old device and throw it out.

Hopefully in the two or so years it takes to run out of storage the "iHub 2" is released for the same price but with double or quadruple the storage as the "iHub 1".

If Apple tie the iCloud subscription into the iHub purchase as I mentioned above it might simply be a case of the user buying a new "iHub" every two years so they can get the free iCloud subscription.
post #35 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

That is not ringing any bells. Was that in production?

No, it's a fake 'leaked' image of an alleged iTunes media server that Apple was about to announce.

Stylistically, you can date it to the G3/G4 iBook era because of the two-tone off-white plastics used. It looks VERY much like Apple products of that time and because of the number of pictures released and the build quality, many people thought it could be real.

It wasn't. But we might yet get our iTunes media server in the form of the Time Capsule's successor...

Ah, here we go. I knew there was a gallery. The lack of venting and horrible look of the ports in the back throws it off, but the amount of work undertaken for this fakery is to be commended. You just don't see this kind of attention to detail in the fake rumors anymore... Shame.

http://dms.tecknohost.com/macrumors/i/ihome/

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post #36 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Not a fan of iHub, but also not a fan of iPod, iPad, iCloud and many other Apple names that proletariat seem go love.

To be honest I not the biggest fan of that name either... but I do find it useful to describe the concept!

I don't remember seeing Apple register any names, so if they do create this thing... maybe they will just keep calling it the "AirPort" or something like the iCloud Base Station.
post #37 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

To be honest I not the biggest fan of that name either... but I do find it useful to describe the concept!

I don't remember seeing Apple register any names, so if they do create this thing... maybe they will just keep calling it the "AirPort" or something like the iCloud Base Station.

1) "proletariat seem go love." WTH is with my iPhone's corrective text?

2) I think AirPort is out or the TC would have included that name. Plus, the Japanese market is important to Apple and they can't use that name there.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #38 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think a single 3.5" HDD for a new Time Capsule will be bad, two would be okay, and three disks would be great for a Home Server.

The standard 'rule' for backups lately seems to be "3 copies" - your own machine, a local backup, a cloud backup.

I'd be happy with a copy on my laptop, a copy on the Time Capsule, and a copy in the cloud. And let my iPhone sync with any of the 3.

Things get a little more complicated if my laptop only syncs a subset of all the stuff I have on my "main" Time Capsule - because I'd only have a single copy in my home. Perhaps 2 Time Capsules could mirror each other.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

What if, within the private confines of the home or the office -- these devices could ignore "regulations" and exchange data, amongst themselves, at much higher bandwidths?

Say, copy a movie from a media server to an iPad in seconds, rather than minutes.

Or backup that large FCP video (and all its attendant files) to the central TimeMachine Home Server (for later backup to the cloud)

Definitely. I think the original article implied backup to the capsule quickly then let it trickle backup itself over time. A very good way to do things.

I'd also be interested in something much more complicated... and that is let my laptop back up to my home time capsule, and then when I go to work if the Time Capsule is still backing up to the cloud let my laptop take some pressure off by sending a direct backup to the cloud - thus halving the work (assuming equivalent bandwidths).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Eran Dilger View Post

A similar makeover for the portable AirPort Express could incorporate an HDMI port to provide similar audio and video streaming features.

Isn't an Airport Express plus HDMI really just an AppleTV?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post

Say, for example, you could purchase an iCloud subscription for $99 a year, or you could buy an "iHub" for $150 with an included 2 year iCloud subscription.

For the iCloud to take off, the combination of not relying on the cloud (since it is also stored locally) and selling an iHub+iCloud combo is a great idea.

It may also be worth selling the iPhone+iCloud subscription together too.
post #39 of 99

The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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The state is nothing more than a criminal gang writ large.

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post #40 of 99
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

You may be on to something here...

<snip>.... then the content providers could concentrate on providing better content, more accessible content -- at better prices... <snip> ...

Surely, Content providers would be more amenable to doing this for the curated iTunes - iOS ecosystem ... <snip>



I didn't see a sarcasm sign. I can never see this happening... surely you jest. We're talking hollywood!!
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