[quote]For Example, if they make a digital camera, like they did an MP3 player, then it will have mass amounts of storage (5gb drive), in a small, elegant shape, with a super fast computer link (firewire), and the ability to show your pictures (and maybe movies) on any TV, without connecting to your computer first, and when you do connect it to your computer, it will have it's own iApp. Imagine an iPod geared towards video, connect it to any TV to share your iMovies with friends, or record them to VHS, connects via firewire and syncs with iMovie. What else? who knows... but it'll have to be good, so good that they make the masses take interest in what Apple's doing, and since they'll all be engineered by Apple, with matching Apple iSoftware, they'll work flawlessly with any 'supported' (i.e. new) mac, and while there will be copycats on the Windows side, none will have the same level of refinement and integration that Apple is capable of.
I think that an "iCamera" wouldn't need a large HD, that's what the iPod is for. Just give the camera enough flash memory for 30-50 photos or so, and then the photos are dumped to the iPod.
This way, Apple sells the camera, AND the iPod. And it all works seamlessly with a Mac, with the new app, iPhoto.
iPhoto will organize photos, do rudimentary editing of photos, and make slideshows. It will be able to burn a slideshow to disc, and then the disc will play on a DVD player, with your photo slideshow.
As for having a slideshow direct from an iCamera or an iPod, this would entail video hardware that would add to the cost of the device, so it's unlikely, but not impossible. It would certainly be a strong selling point, but I think Apple will concentrate on solutions that involve the use of Mac computers.
But I think you nailed the objective of marketing the Mac as a digital hub. Apple is going to release many little digital hub devices, the iPod being the first, that work seamlessly with Macs and can do more than any of their competitors, easier and faster, and they will all require Macs to work. This is the secret weapon for increasing Apple's market share...use Apple's control of the entire widget to their advantage, and do things that Micro$oft and Dell cannot copy, because they do not control the entire widget!
Music listening: iPod and iTunes, for the music listener.
Audio recording: New iPod model? Records voice or music at adjustable quality settings, up to 5 GB worth. Use a new iApp to edit the recording, send it to iTunes and rip it into an MP3 for network transfer, or storage. I'm not sure how much demand there is for recording, but certainly vocal recording, for lectures or interviews, would appeal to students and journalists. This wouldn't require a new device, only modification to the iPod, and software development. Apple could buy a shareware audio editor and and Aquafy it (felt tip sound studio? Amadeus?), and if the audio in OS X is half as good as Apple proclaims it to be, then DSPs will be a dime a dozen for it.
Motion: Apple already has this one nailed, iMovie, iDVD, FCP, yadda yadda yadda. They rock.
Still: iPhoto, as described above.
iCamera, or just optimize the iPod, give it an adaptor so USB digital cameras can link to it, and software so that it can load photo images from any digital camera on the market. 5 GBs worth of photos! iPhoto edits, organizes, presents, burns, and does it all easier and faster than anything else on the market.
I can't think of anything else at the moment, but even with these, if Apple does it well, then they have something that no Wintel can ever copy, because Apple controls both the hardware and the software.
Back to the hype topic:
A new iMac alone isn't enough to justify this sort of hype. The new iBook didn't get this sort of hype. The Titanium didn't get this hype. Even the cube didn't get this sort of hype. No, it is more than a single product. I bet we witness a dramatic revision of the entire desktop line.
That's what I'm betting on. The G3 is history. I haven't yet determined how IBM's new Sahara fits in, perhaps it's for the iBook? Is Apple the only buyer of IBM's G3s? Could there be another use for the Sahara G3 that doesn't involve Apple?
If Apple sticks a G3 in their new iMac, it will be a grave mistake. Replacing the 13.9" viewable CRT with a 15" viewable LCD is not enough of a change...furthermore the G4 needs wider implementation, a greater user base, for app developers to have an incentive to code for altivec. If iMacs used Altivec, then that would mean millions more software buyers who actually look for the "Altivec accelerated" tag on the box. It's the chicken and egg syndrome...few altivec Macs means few altivec apps, and if Apple waits for more altivec apps before they add it to the iMac, then they will wait for a long-ass time.
Whew..the beers getting to me... long winded post, but hopefully there is some sense to it.
Thanks everyone, for discussing the real issues, for seeing through all the lies of M$ and Apple's fibs. We've got to bitch if there is to be any hope for Apple making computers that don't suck. Right now they're holding on by a thread, it unravels a bit more everytime Intel gives the P4 another 500 MHz speed bump, everytime M$ unveils a new OS with more Mac features. Apple is more than a computer, it's an appreciation of quality, of the finer details in life that make the difference between shoddiness and beauty in a design. Apple's cases may look beautiful to everyone, but only us loyal mac users see the beauty of what makes a Mac special. The elegance of the OS, the beautiful file navigation of OS X, the gorgeous attention to detail one finds in every nook and cranny of the Mac OS (X). When I breeze through a file hierarchy using COlumn view in OS X, think about how many years M$ worked on their own file browser, it always brings me to a chuckle. Even an army of 1000 drones engineering Windows XP couldn't achieve the elegant simplicity of a few hundred engineers putting their love in to OS X.
Apple rocks, and I bitch because I want it to remain that way. The natural state is one of entropy, and Apple is no different. Without constant pressure from use Mac users, Apple would not be what it is today. So to my fellow Mac users (and abusers), I say, thank you! And have a happy new years eve! Drink as much as you can and drive as little as possible.