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It is time for some real audio capabilities...

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I think that lack of good audio is definitely holding back the Macintosh digital hub concept. Where is Dolby Digital ES/THX/DTS sound coming through a nice beautiful coaxial audio out? Yeah you can buy a M-audio Sonica but frankly you shouldn't have to.
post #2 of 36
I think that it would unecessarily raise the cost, and not everyone wants it. That's why you buy a card for your audio needs. Like SCSI, not everyone needs it so it's not included by default, along with the countless other things that are specific to what certain users want/need.
post #3 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by FrostyMMB:
<strong>I think that it would unecessarily raise the cost, and not everyone wants it. That's why you buy a card for your audio needs. Like SCSI, not everyone needs it so it's not included by default, along with the countless other things that are specific to what certain users want/need.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Ok so let me get this straight.

Mac users don't need "modern" Audio features because it may raise the cost.

Newsflash- Your garden variety sub $1000 system has 5.1 and even 6.1 Audio right on the Muthaboard.

You gotta wonder how Apple can call a Powermac a "Pro" machine and it can't even output Multichannel Audio or link up digitally. Geez you're going to be quite miffed to find out your "Power"mac has less features than your Grannies new Dell computer.

We're talking Pennies here. The Chrome Logo on some Apple products cost more in most likelyhood.

Being the fact that Apple doesn't support 21st Century Audio it makes it even harder for Developers like Midiman to create workable products because Apple has sluffed off so much.

Apple is it too much to ask for a Coax Digital connecter or a Toslink so that we can run this into a receiver?

I'm afraid some people aren't buying cards...they're buying PC's which have the items standard and they're saving a bundle.
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post #4 of 36
I totaly agree with the need for multi channel support both in OS and hardware. Back in the Quadra days the Mac had better sound support than some but not all PCs. That was two channel 44k sound and that is were the mac has remained for a decade while the PC has progressed a lot.

I ams sure even Dells PC for 399 dollars has some soundblaster compatible stuff on the motherboard. The mac has allways been and still is a premium computer so shure they should have it.

Apple came with DVD playing ability for their computer four years ago but still limited to two chanel sound <img src="graemlins/oyvey.gif" border="0" alt="[oyvey]" />

If they have to cut corners they can cut out that gigabit ethernet chip that that probably cost as much as the SB chip! Do I need to make a poll on how many users that have their Mac connected to a GB ethernet??

The only disadvantage with surround sound is that if I play Aliens vs Predators 2 with that I will net to buy a stack of Depends as I will whet myself
post #5 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by FrostyMMB:
<strong>I think that it would unecessarily raise the cost, and not everyone wants it. That's why you buy a card for your audio needs. Like SCSI, not everyone needs it so it's not included by default, along with the countless other things that are specific to what certain users want/need.</strong><hr></blockquote>

when paying hundreds of dollars more for a "comparable" system it should be expected to get similar or IMO superior audio capabilities. Instead we get shafted with crap
post #6 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by TKN:
<strong>I think that lack of good audio is definitely holding back the Macintosh digital hub concept. Where is Dolby Digital ES/THX/DTS sound coming through a nice beautiful coaxial audio out? Yeah you can buy a M-audio Sonica but frankly you shouldn't have to.</strong><hr></blockquote>

This is a typical software house development catch 22 ...

Does Apple code up some temporary 5.1 hack, give developers some sort of half finished API, and then, struggle like mad to impliment this for real in CORE Audio? ...

... only to find what they really wanted to do can't be done since they previously defined a bogus and now conflicting standard in the previous hack's API ... and now, since they've released the hack, and other developers have written to it, they must continue supporting the hack AND try to make their real plans for world domination compatible with some semi-bogus stop-gap code they threw out the door a year ago.

Astute minds will recognize this as the "Embrace and Extend" philosophy of Microsoft, only there, it's used to screw cool emerging technologies out of their rightful place in the sun, by replacing their thunder with hacked together check box features that don't really work ...

The purpose of which is to get the stuff out the door with enough lead time to establish the hack as a "standard" ... and given the marketing dollars, it worked, but it has turned Microsoft into, well, Microsoft ...

My bet, is that Apple is well aware of this short coming (especially considering they're the one's who are real big on movie making and DVD watching) ... and that they're working like mad to avoid putting a temporary hack out the door, and instead, are trying to get CORE Audio to be the monster killer it probably will be.

But it can't be easy taking all their OS9 apps, scraping off the barnicles (I can't imagine what the QuickTime Group must be going thru, trying to migrate THAT decade-plus API thru the eye of the CORE Audio needle) ...

... but considering what Apple's surely got planned vis a vis the PowerPC 970 and EMagic/Quicktime FCP combo ... I'm sure when CORE Audio is ready to sport, it will be some rock solid (ahem) professional engine that will be the envy of the industry.

God, just think, a box that has fully compatable audio standards across all professional Audio and Video applications ... no assembly required.

yeah, sporting ...
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post #7 of 36
Ok now that i'm no longer breathing fire about Apple and Audio. I will say Overtoasty is right.

Core Audio finally give the Mac the ability to have a standardized API for multichannel surround. But we as consumers need to let Apple know that we want a way to be able to take advantage of this without shelling out more money or introducing 3rd party drivers to our systems. Hopefully we see some decent HW Audio I/O on the next Powermacs.
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post #8 of 36
Does anyone know how to turn the volume down in all apps so that it is best described as quiet? Between the last sound bar and mute it is very loud.
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post #9 of 36
I wonder, why bother with 5.1 onboard audio on the MDD powermac? Aren't they LOUD enough <img src="graemlins/lol.gif" border="0" alt="[Laughing]" />
post #10 of 36
Apple has probably been waiting for two things: OS 9 has to die, or they end up adding a completely different subsystem to an OS that could barely support it, and for Core Audio to get finished and robust.

I wouldn't be surprised if they're also hoping for ways to interface 5.1 and 7.1 audio in a way that doesn't require 6 or 8 plugs.

Given all that, and the time to either build or integrate hardware audio that's worth CoreAudio (i.e., not Soundblaster), I'd give them a little time to come out with a next-generation audio system. However, when they do, look out.
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post #11 of 36
Oh, everyone wants surround sound. This would be the perfect thing for a cube-redux. Something to serve as both a computer and home A/V server.
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post #12 of 36
Surround sound on the 970 'POWER'Mac? Yes please! Better mono-sound that I had in my tinneee Powermac clone...

Play all my favourite anthem rock tracks...hear the 'tinkles' from the Matrix 'lock an' load'...

Gurgle.



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post #13 of 36
Yeah, this is something they should have by now, but Apple has been working with core audio alot, and the situation has improved dramatically since 10.0. That said, it would be nice to have at least DPL II, if not real DSS 6.1.
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post #14 of 36
On the hardware side of things I think a better answer is to be found in FireWire. Trying to put audio circuitry into the computer's case tends to introduce too much electronic noise, ground loops, and other weird & wild problems. Better would be to have a small external box (or a full-blown digital receiver) that plugs into the FireWire bus and is sent the audio in digital form.
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post #15 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by hmurchison:
<strong>
Being the fact that Apple doesn't support 21st Century Audio it makes it even harder for Developers like Midiman to create workable products because Apple has sluffed off so much.
</strong><hr></blockquote>

Uh, you're seriously suggesting that digital out via TosLink is "21st century audio", whereas native support for multi-channel 96kHz floating point audio or mLAN devices is not?

Bye,
RazzFazz
post #16 of 36
Razzfazz...hell I'm begging Apple just to put out at a minimum a Toslink or Coax Digi I/O. I mean when a $50 DVD can offer both you gotta wonder what's going on with Apple.

Emacs and iMacs cannot be upgraded to multichannel surround using a PCI card. Neither can the portables so Apple has to do something here.

I'd love mLAN or something firewire based but that won't link into a low cost DD/DTS capable receiver like Coax or Toslink will.
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post #17 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by Programmer:
<strong>On the hardware side of things I think a better answer is to be found in FireWire. Trying to put audio circuitry into the computer's case tends to introduce too much electronic noise, ground loops, and other weird & wild problems. Better would be to have a small external box (or a full-blown digital receiver) that plugs into the FireWire bus and is sent the audio in digital form.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yeah, inside a computer box is no place for analog audio ... the noise is terrible, the ground loops are hell, computers were simply never built with that in mind.

So it's nice to know they could squeeze all the 96k 24bit multi-channel goodness anyone could eat, down 1394a as it stands right now ...

However, the problem is standards, not just for pro-gear, but for home 5.1 theatre as well ... the other problem is, it's a bit of a shame to limit any standard to just audio & MIDI stuff, when there's so much other stuff going on.

I do remember hearing someplace something about a proper digital standard for home 5.1 that may have involved Firewire ... yes, that would be sexy ...

What would be sexier still would be a fully flexible standard that encompasses the whole media barbecue in a one stop solution:

1 - HDTV
2 - SDTV
3 - Still Images
4 - AUDIO
5 - MIDI
6 - Data Packets (so you can send info about stuff, not just stuff).


Plug two things together, they negotiate and say what they're all about, what they recognize, what they ignore etc ... and you're done.

I think FireWire 1394b is the only pipe that can actually handle all the above formats ...

Geez, FireWire 800, the universal standard that solves all our problems?

Now how much would you pay?
&lt;/dreaming&gt;

[ 02-24-2003: Message edited by: OverToasty ]</p>
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post #18 of 36
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by OverToasty:
<strong>
Yeah, inside a computer box is no place for analog audio ... the noise is terrible, the ground loops are hell, computers were simply never built with that in mind.
]</strong><hr></blockquote>

That is why all I want is a coax digital out without any analog processing. Firewire media out aside, I don't exactly have a Firewire jack on my receiver.
post #19 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by TKN:
<strong>

That is why all I want is a coax digital out without any analog processing. Firewire media out aside, I don't exactly have a Firewire jack on my receiver.</strong><hr></blockquote>

... give it a couple of years.
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post #20 of 36
Oh, and since we're talking about consumer grade audio stuff - whatever happened to Creative Labs and Mac support? Have they just given up on writing any form of IOKit driver?

Bye,
RazzFazz

[ 02-25-2003: Message edited by: RazzFazz ]</p>
post #21 of 36
It doesn't even have to be TosLink or Coax...S/PDIF connectors can be as simple as two wires...so I think Apple's Pro Speaker jack might actually be capable of the task...

24-bit/192KHz would be nice...

According to places like the Ars A/V forums, the M-Audio Revolution beats the pants off the Audigy 2, so us PCI enabled users shouldn't be too miffed.

[ 02-25-2003: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
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post #22 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by Eugene:
<strong>

24-bit/192KHz would be nice...

</strong><hr></blockquote>

FWIW - 24bit/192k is a kind of holy grail of audio, a format that can finally (with almost complete certainty) store and carry audio better than the human ear can hear ... (there's many many other factors in the audio chain that come into play of course, but finally, at least this one, storage - which has almost always the biggest buggaboo since the Edison Cylinder - has at last gone "clear" ... and thanks to this, we'll at last get to hear all the other crud that's been hiding in the audio chain ... but I digress).

Hmmmm ... I can't wait to hear the Penderecki Quartet #2 in 24/192 5.1! ...oh, hang on, this is the music industry after all, well, one can dream of course ... I really don't think the industry boffins know what they would have on their hands if people could actually take advantage of their killer home theatre systems with properly mixed, discreete multi-channel monster sound. The pent up demand is getting so great that people might actually want to spend $20 for a shiny piece of plastic again! Oh, but we're still fighting the DVD-A HD-CD wars aren't we? Geeeeeeez!

Well, their's always FireWire800 and Blue Lazer DVD ... let's hope that opportunity isn't blown. Ahhhhh, lossless data and signal communication between all home theatre devices over a single cable in a single format .... will it ever happen, or will the industry find another way to screw this one up?

Anyway ...

[quote]
<strong>It doesn't even have to be TosLink or Coax...S/PDIF connectors can be as simple as two wires...so I think Apple's Pro Speaker jack might actually be capable of the task...
</strong>
<hr></blockquote>

As for throwing S/PDIF down a standard coax, you can fake it when necessary (I've done it for years), but it's not a great idea ... you're looking for 90 ohm S/PDIF/AES.EBU digial audio cable for proper safe transmission, which ain't speaker cable ...

[ 02-25-2003: Message edited by: OverToasty ]</p>
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post #23 of 36
[quote] On the hardware side of things I think a better answer is to be found in FireWire. Trying to put audio circuitry into the computer's case tends to introduce too much electronic noise, ground loops, and other weird & wild problems. Better would be to have a small external box (or a full-blown digital receiver) that plugs into the FireWire bus and is sent the audio in digital form. <hr></blockquote>

Yes. FireWire is the answer. Are there any boxes we can currently use for this purpose?
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post #24 of 36
The impatient kid in me wants multi-channel digital output now. Toslink or digital-coax(rca) would be great and many mac users could then connect their computers to a real stereo/home-theater. The current stock configuration is rather pathetic in comparison to even the cheapest PC hardware and 3rd party products.

However... there is one justifiable reason for why Apple has floundered and now trails nearly all other computer manufactures. The promise of Firewire!

Firewire based audio has been a long time in coming. Yet, if apple anticipates firewire taking the audio industry by storm, then perhaps skipping an intermediate step is reasonable. Maybe they purposely took their lumps, and didn't waste the R@D on toslink, dig-coax, spif, etc. A complete redesign of the audio hardware-interface and drivers is not so cheap even if the final manufacturing cost per unit is low.

The good news is that Firewire audio is almost here (probably). Pioneer has released a receiver and disc player with firewire ports. Unfortunately, it is the only manufacturer thus far. Denon got burned by developing its own multi-channel, RIAA-approved, high-quality digital-sound format.

So I urge everyone to lay the blame at least partially on the RIAA. They have until recently, prohibited the output of better-than-CD digital sound from all DVD-A and SACD players. If they weren't so hell bent on maintaining absolute control of the digital content you purchased, electronic manufactures would have already settled on the next generation audio interconnect. El cheapo cd players and receivers from Circuit City would have firewire ports (or one of the earlier interconnect standards. Instead, you go and buy the best audio player on the planet and what do you have to do? Plug it in via 6 analog RCA cords.

If Apple was really paying attention to digital audio and consumer electronics, they probably realized that the RIAA was going to destroy our current standards. Might as well wait...
post #25 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by dfiler:
<strong>Firewire based audio has been a long time in coming. Yet, if apple anticipates firewire taking the audio industry by storm, then perhaps skipping an intermediate step is reasonable. Maybe they purposely took their lumps, and didn't waste the R@D on toslink, dig-coax, spif, etc. A complete redesign of the audio hardware-interface and drivers is not so cheap even if the final manufacturing cost per unit is low.</strong><hr></blockquote>

This is true.

Also, keep in mind that just because Apple chooses to go FireWire out doesn't mean that it will be impossible to hook their audio out to whatever you want. I don't doubt that M-Audio or Griffin will step right up and offer FW-to-whatever-you-want bridges. It'll be long enough before FireWire is common in home audio that the payoff on the product development is almost guaranteed.

That way, Apple gets to have 7.1 channel out through a single, small port that millions of their customers already have (and that doesn't take up one side of an iBook), there's a big Third Party Opportunity&trade; to keep the Mac market alive and well, and home users can still use RCA or S/PDIF or whatever plugs into the equipment they've already invested in.

[quote]<strong>So I urge everyone to lay the blame at least partially on the RIAA.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Gladly. It's certainly true that the odds that the promise of the digital revolution will be all but entirely squandered are pretty good, thanks to the fear of the entrenched content industries. They'll die anyway, blaming their customers to the bitter end. Ah well.
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[ 02-25-2003: Message edited by: Amorph ]</p>
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post #26 of 36
Don't forget. TC Electronic has now entered the fray with another FW chipset aimed at audio.

<a href="http://www.tcelectronic.com/static.asp?pid=757" target="_blank">DICE II Firewire Audio chipset</a>

I'm pretty freakin' pissed at Yamaha right now for their lack of focus on mLAN. However they've never been good at pushing new tech to the masses.

My hope now reside with TC Electronic who also happens to be a mLAN Partner.
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post #27 of 36
Mitsubishi's NetCommand is nothing more than HAVi, which uses...yup, you guessed it...Firewire.
post #28 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by Arty50:
<strong>Mitsubishi's NetCommand is nothing more than HAVi, which uses...yup, you guessed it...Firewire.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Unfortunately I've never hooked up anything via FireWire to my parents' set. All three NetCommand ports are 4-pin. <img src="graemlins/bugeye.gif" border="0" alt="[Skeptical]" />

I wonder if I can hook-up my DV camera? I'd need a 4-4 cable though...

[ 02-25-2003: Message edited by: Eugene ]</p>
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post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
[quote]Originally posted by dfiler:
<strong>

However... there is one justifiable reason for why Apple has floundered and now trails nearly all other computer manufactures. The promise of Firewire!

</strong><hr></blockquote>

So how about giving us a digital out now and dropping it after a Firewire is as pervasive as it should be? Frankly they should have put a digital out on Macs a long time ago, maybe even before PCs had them. While Apple should try and lead the pack it shouldn't be so far ahead on things which require connection to other peripherals (USB 2.0 anyone?)
post #30 of 36
Ayup, in fact until recently the FCC's officially recommended interconnect for HDTV was... FireWire.

Now it's one of two connect systems allowed: FireWire and DVI. Since DVI only carries video, FW is seen as *THE* home system unifier.

Patience, young grasshoppers...
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post #31 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by TKN:
<strong>So how about giving us a digital out now and dropping it after a Firewire is as pervasive as it should be?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Riiiiiiiight. And then they have to support said connector for 20 years. Let them get it right the first time... this is too strategically important to screw up by trying to offer kludges for systems that will be stomped on soon.
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post #32 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by TKN:
<strong>
So how about giving us a digital out now and dropping it after a Firewire is as pervasive as it should be?</strong><hr></blockquote>

Why, when they can get FireWire running, immediately giving lots of already-purchased Macs the ability to do better-than-16 bit-stereo sound, and either offer a FW-to-something-else converter themselves, or see that D-Link or Griffin does?

It wouldn't be any more cumbersome than offering a digital out, since so many external speaker systems and stereo components use analog. I'd have to use a converter to plug a Mac into my stereo regardless of whether it was S/PDIF out or FireWire out, so why not go with FireWire? It's already out there on millions of Macs. Including mine. Not that that biases my argument at all.
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post #33 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by Amorph:
<strong>

It wouldn't be any more cumbersome than offering a digital out, since so many external speaker systems and stereo components use analog. I'd have to use a converter to plug a Mac into my stereo regardless of whether it was S/PDIF out or FireWire out, so why not go with FireWire? It's already out there on millions of Macs. Including mine. Not that that biases my argument at all. </strong><hr></blockquote>

Guys, I know a lot of you probably already know this, but so far nobody has said it, so allow me:

S/PDIF sux, it's a late 80's relic ... it carries dual channel digital audio ... well whoopdi-fricken'-doo.

Song names? Nope:
Media Meta data (EQ, Mix type, run times, etc etc?): Nope
Gear Negotiation data?: Nope

Just a plain vanilla Stereo stream, that can be de-coded for lesser resolution discreet 5.1 at your leasure; thru any one of many incompatible 5.1 formats.

Apples' gotta do this right:

FW800, so the connectors don't fry your powerBook's Mobo by accident if you connect with the power on, and also so HDTV bandwidth isn't an issue.

Needless to say, this standard should NOT be just audio, it should be for video and audio, and the gear negotiates with each other as required, including any encryted copy protect fricken keys.

If the RIAA ever expects the good old days to come back again, they'd better offer something incredible for the money, so far, the best they can do is litigation.
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post #34 of 36
I think firewire will be here soon. Sony is really using it more and more in all of there components. I would think about upgrading my ES receiver if apple and sony both used firewire. I think this would be sweet. Imagine how easy it would be to hook up a computer to your HDTV set with a firewire port from your computer to your receiver...that's it, one cable...and there would be no need for a DVD player anymore, unless you have a mega changer or something.

How cool would it be to have total control over your AV system with your computer (over the firewire cable)? Imagine if could comunicate with your receiver to change inputs (TV, radio, computer) Hell then you could perhaps use your computer as a Tivo...all with picture in picture via your blue tooth keyboard and mouse, while your computer is inside the cabinet.

I can see my money dwindling as I type. (Maybe my post has drifted off topic a bit and stupid)
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post #35 of 36
I have no high demands for Apple in the Audio division... I'm an Audio Production major trying to finance a mac and the only thing i think a mac really should have right NOW is 24 bit mini jack so i can plug my expensive headphones in and warrant the expense instead of paying almost as much for a sonica that steals a USB port... 5.1 and beyond would be nice but in reality maybe only a few high end audio geeks would be able to take advantage of it at least until a few years when multichannel audio formats and standards are locked down... which apple is on its way already in doing...
post #36 of 36
[quote]Originally posted by neovirusnine:
<strong>I have no high demands for Apple in the Audio division... I'm an Audio Production major trying to finance a mac and the only thing i think a mac really should have right NOW is 24 bit mini jack so i can plug my expensive headphones in and warrant the expense instead of paying almost as much for a sonica that steals a USB port... 5.1 and beyond would be nice but in reality maybe only a few high end audio geeks would be able to take advantage of it at least until a few years when multichannel audio formats and standards are locked down... which apple is on its way already in doing...</strong><hr></blockquote>

Ahhh, "Ye Olde 'Hi-End-Geeks' argument" ...

If that didn't go out with the infamous "640k oughta be enough for anybody", it certainly has no business haunting the discussion in this home entertainment cable spaghetti age of ours ...

Unix on Mac's?!?!?!
That'll be the day ...

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[ 02-26-2003: Message edited by: OverToasty ]</p>
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AppleInsider › Forums › Mac Hardware › Future Apple Hardware › It is time for some real audio capabilities...