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Apple Mac Home Server

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I was tooling around the Apple Store, looking at what might be the perfect setup of new gear for my personal day-to-day needs, and after thinking about stringing together a Mac mini, an AppleTV, a Time Capsule, at least one external drive, several USB dongles for A/V i/o (more i than o…) and wondering about feeding the mini & the AppleTV through a HDMI switcher (along with a cable box & PS3) and dumping it all to a 42" (or better) HDTv & surround sound speakers.

Well, the number of boxes and cables and such would get out of hand quickly, and it would be nothing near elegant on execution. Not to mention the multi-remote trauma…

And when you mix in the hardware for home automation, forget about it…

So I got to thinking about the Microsoft Home Server. Which just rubs me the wrong way. I mean come on, would you REALLY want M$ controlling your house?

And I figured, Apple could do this better, the box would look good in the media rack, and the (hopefully) forthcoming Newton-esque tablet would be a perfect remote control for the system AND a handy thinnish mobile client for the server…

Need more processing power than the tablets provide? You work on the server remotely with Back to my Mac… Need more processing power in the home server? Maybe it has a consumer friendly blade arrangement… More storage space, add another HDD…

I could see a central home server, everyone has a tablet and an account on the home server. Everyone is always backed up, everyone can always reach their files on the server while out and about, you can turn down the stereo and see who is at the front door while sitting on the crapper from your tablet. Etc, etc, etc…

Might be the future of general computing, centralized servers with lighter (resource-wise) clients on the go…

True power users will maintain individual workstations (stationary or mobile) and pro-sumers will have heavier & more expensive tablets. The 'Inserta-tablet iMac' might be a crutch to help the 'old school' naysayers move from dedicated sit-down machines to a more mobile way of computing.

Maybe people will actually start going out and doing things where the sun actually shines on them again…

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post #2 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post

So I got to thinking about the Microsoft Home Server. Which just rubs me the wrong way. I mean come on, would you REALLY want M$ controlling your house?

And I figured, Apple could do this better, the box would look good in the media rack, and the (hopefully) forthcoming Newton-esque tablet would be a perfect remote control for the system AND a handy thinnish mobile client for the server

Need more processing power than the tablets provide? You work on the server remotely with Back to my Mac Need more processing power in the home server? Maybe it has a consumer friendly blade arrangement More storage space, add another HDD

I could see a central home server, everyone has a tablet and an account on the home server. Everyone is always backed up, everyone can always reach their files on the server while out and about, you can turn down the stereo and see who is at the front door while sitting on the crapper from your tablet. Etc, etc, etc

Might be the future of general computing, centralized servers with lighter (resource-wise) clients on the go

True power users will maintain individual workstations (stationary or mobile) and pro-sumers will have heavier & more expensive tablets. The 'Inserta-tablet iMac' might be a crutch to help the 'old school' naysayers move from dedicated sit-down machines to a more mobile way of computing.

Maybe people will actually start going out and doing things where the sun actually shines on them again

It's just net-attached storage. There are a million different devices to choose from already.
post #3 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

It's just net-attached storage. There are a million different devices to choose from already.


I have enough trouble trying to figure out how to configure my Cable TV here in NYC with TimeWarner's stupid boxes and anti-logical policy on my RoadRunner cable service. All I really want to do is link 2 iMacs, a mini, and a MBP wirelessly with an HP all in one; I've got HP small laser bw printers for the two iMacs. \
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post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

It's just net-attached storage. There are a million different devices to choose from already.

Storage, yes…

All users having home accounts (with centralized backup, parental controls & admin), yes…

Multiple users receiving media on demand from multiple sources feeding to multiple locations in house at the same time; yes…

Mail server, yes…

Web server, yes…

Print server & logging, yes…

iCal server, yes…

iChat server, yes…

Home automation control hub, yes…

Telephone call center, yes…

All accessible from the house and over the internet when out and about, yes…

Other uses that I haven't even mentioned here, yes…

So, no, you are wrong. It is MUCH more than just 'net-attached storage'…
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post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post

Storage, yes

All users having home accounts (with centralized backup, parental controls & admin), yes

Multiple users receiving media on demand from multiple sources feeding to multiple locations in house at the same time; yes

Mail server, yes

Web server, yes

Print server & logging, yes

iCal server, yes

iChat server, yes

Home automation control hub, yes

Telephone call center, yes

All accessible from the house and over the internet when out and about, yes

Other uses that I haven't even mentioned here, yes

So, no, you are wrong. It is MUCH more than just 'net-attached storage'

I hope you don't hope an "Apple Home Server" would do all those things. That's a bit unrealistic.
post #6 of 27
Not really. I've been running a Mac G4 Cube with MacOS X 10.3 Server (and some added apps and custom tweaks) for the past few years that does most everything on that list... and I'm looking for a replacement. Right now, I'm waiting for the mini refresh to hit.
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post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post

All users having home accounts (with centralized backup, parental controls & admin), yes

Mini + NAS

Quote:
Multiple users receiving media on demand from multiple sources feeding to multiple locations in house at the same time; yes

Mini to multiple aTV and Airport express.

Quote:
Mail server, yes
Web server, yes
Print server & logging, yes

Mini

Quote:
iCal server, yes
iChat server, yes

OSX Server on the mini...kinda pricey though.

Quote:
Home automation control hub, yes

indigo on the mini. But yes, this requires a USB connection.

Quote:
Telephone call center, yes

All accessible from the house and over the internet when out and about, yes

Other uses that I haven't even mentioned here, yes

So, no, you are wrong. It is MUCH more than just 'net-attached storage'

Well, some of the remote access capabilities you want probably isn't available or well integrated today. But for the most part you can do what you want but it is pricey today.

Today, for what you want I'd get a:

aTV for HD movie rentals
Mini for everything else.
DVI to HDMI cable + TOSLlink to AV Receiver for the mini.
Indigo software
Belkin 802.11N Wireless USB Hub and prays it works with USB TV tuners and the X11 controller. Otherwise a wired hub hidden somewhere. The problem with multiple tuners is each one needs a connection to a video source anyway...it's hard to avoid the tangle of wires unless you stick with the iTunes store and downloads.

That said, many folks have been hoping for a iMac Home Server, myself included.

i don't think it's too likely so I'll just get the next mini.
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

I hope you don't hope an "Apple Home Server" would do all those things. That's a bit unrealistic.

Point out exactly which part is unrealistic. Everything I have mentioned is possible with current off the shelf hardware. I just think that Apple could do a better job at unifying the entire concept into an elegant & easy to use package for Joe Citizen.

Most computers sit unused for a majority of the time. And when they are used, most have WAY more power than the average user needs. Rather than a collection of over-powered, under-used computers in the house, give the users an assortment of tablets (the bigger the tablet, the more 'horsepower' it has) that work in conjunction with a central server. This server would also 'run' the house while not being used for more mundane tasks like surfing porn & updating your MySpace account.

Obviously, not everyone needs a centralized home server. For those folks, the tablet 'docking' into the 'iMac' may be the solution. The 'docking station' could function as a stand-alone mini server & media hub, with the tablet as the general usage machine that goes everywhere with the user. Back To My Mac would reach out and connect to the 'iMac' back at the dorm/apartment/moms basement/etc. providing files that were not placed on the tablet originally. Same concept as a home server, same functionality, smaller scale (and price!). But for a family living in their own house (especially a new build) integrating the functions of the house with a home server and structured wiring to carry audio/video/data to different rooms as desired. Then the cost of such a system becomes a matter of simple 'future-proofing'.

I feel that the Future of general consumer computing is centralized servers and thin mobile clients pulling files from their home server over the internet as needed. The Past of computing is the archaic keyboard & mouse interface, multi-touch is here to stay. The Now of computing is me sitting in front of this ancient PowerMac having to explain all of this to you…



kormac76 had a handle on all of this…!
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post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post

Back To My Mac would reach out and connect to the 'iMac' back at the dorm/apartment/moms basement/etc. providing files that were not placed on the tablet originally.

*cough*iPhone*cough*
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post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post

Point out exactly which part is unrealistic. Everything I have mentioned is possible with current off the shelf hardware. I just think that Apple could do a better job at unifying the entire concept into an elegant & easy to use package for Joe Citizen.

Of course it's all possible. But a future of personal computing where we all use tablet thin clients is years away. Five years, maybe longer. And Apple isn't in the home automation or telephone server business, or that sort of personal web and email servers. That's why it isn't a realistic Apple product.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

Of course it's all possible. But a future of personal computing where we all use tablet thin clients is years away. Five years, maybe longer. And Apple isn't in the home automation or telephone server business, or that sort of personal web and email servers. That's why it isn't a realistic Apple product.

Sorry, but bullpucky. The pieces are all in place, it just depends on whether Apple decides to link them together. For instance, an iPhone w/ Back To My Mac would let you view most any file on your home machine via QuickLook, right now.

A mini + .mac does most of that long list *now* - and the rest are simple app additions.

Personally, I think we're about two years from a ubiquitous tablet thin client presence in the Mac world...

iPhone/tablet (choose your size) + resolution independence + the death of Carbon this year (check the WWDC Sessions - not a single mention anywhere... one Lab, but it's on how to transition to 64-bit Cocoa) + resurrection of NeXT's remote display system via Cocoa and QT streaming = thin client. That's my guess for 10.6's 'big secret'... or at least one of them.
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post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post

Of course it's all possible. But a future of personal computing where we all use tablet thin clients is years away. Five years, maybe longer. And Apple isn't in the home automation or telephone server business, or that sort of personal web and email servers. That's why it isn't a realistic Apple product.

Back when Steve rolled back into the company, Apple wasn't in the digital music distribution business, now they set the standard… They weren't in the telephone business, now the iPhone is fast becoming the standard for smart phones…

Personal web server? Been part of the Mac OS for quite some time…

Without thinking about what could be, there will never be any innovation for the future…

I feel a modular home server with a wide assortment of functionalities, integrated into a modern digital house has much to offer the general consumer market, and I feel Apple can execute this in the best possible manner.
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post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kickaha View Post

Sorry, but bullpucky. The pieces are all in place, it just depends on whether Apple decides to link them together. For instance, an iPhone w/ Back To My Mac would let you view most any file on your home machine via QuickLook, right now.

A mini + .mac does most of that long list *now* - and the rest are simple app additions.

Personally, I think we're about two years from a ubiquitous tablet thin client presence in the Mac world...

iPhone/tablet (choose your size) + resolution independence + the death of Carbon this year (check the WWDC Sessions - not a single mention anywhere... one Lab, but it's on how to transition to 64-bit Cocoa) + resurrection of NeXT's remote display system via Cocoa and QT streaming = thin client. That's my guess for 10.6's 'big secret'... or at least one of them.

That's what I am saying, thin client tablets for general usage, home (centralized servers for educational/business markets) server as the backend for remote processing power. Actual workstations for those who ACTUALLY need them…
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post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post

Storage, yes

All users having home accounts (with centralized backup, parental controls & admin), yes

Multiple users receiving media on demand from multiple sources feeding to multiple locations in house at the same time; yes

Mail server, yes

Web server, yes

Print server & logging, yes

iCal server, yes

iChat server, yes

Home automation control hub, yes

Telephone call center, yes

All accessible from the house and over the internet when out and about, yes

Other uses that I haven't even mentioned here, yes

So, no, you are wrong. It is MUCH more than just 'net-attached storage'

How much would you expect to pay for all this?

PS: WIndows Home Server is quite nice.
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post #15 of 27
Apple will eventually deliver a Home Server. MacRonin is right...dealing with downloadable media in an efficient matter is going to require superior management compared to what we have now.

With CD/DVD/Blu-ray you have physical discs that are transported to different playback devices. If we are to take that same benefit and extend it to digital files we need some sort of way to manage these huge digital files. Central management is key.

Apple already has most of the tools they'll need.

Bonjour- for network discovery

AutofS- for tracking filesystem changes

Metadata- for tagging and searching via spotlight

Parental Controls- self explanatory

Time Machine/Capsule- for backup


They'll put everything together soon enough. It's appearing like iTunes 8 will be a fairly substantial upgrade and I'd live to see it gain some server attributes and be able to manage a central db of media with seperate metadata on each client and seperate libraries.

We're ready for the digital age.
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post #16 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

How much would you expect to pay for all this?

PS: WIndows Home Server is quite nice.

No more than the sum of the parts available to do the same thing now

No more than a similarly equipped Windows Home Server

Obviously more than most folks would think, but that would include the full home automation/structured wiring/multi-zone A/V scheme

Home automation/structured wiring/multi-zone A/V could easily be two or three times the cost of a small home server itself

Current hardware for an ad hoc home server/media center would be:

Mac mini w/ Elgato dongle
AppleTV
Time Capsule
External USB HDD
HDTV flat-panel (42"+) w/four HDMI inputs (Mac mini, AppleTV, cable box, game console)
5.1 surround sound system

Adding AirPort Express units & speakers will get audio to multiple zones, but not video. Feeding media via AirPort to computers in multiple zones will achieve multi-zone A/V distribution, but then you are just transferring/streaming the media to another computer, not centralizing your computing on the server.

I guess I am mainly looking towards the future, and seeing a unit that is a true multi-user computer, with thin clients that control the system as you move through it. That thin client may be a handheld tablet which is a mobile thin client, updating & syncing to the user account on the home server as needed; or the thin client may be a HDTV panel with stereo audio built-in and a wireless keyboard/mouse. The tablets could also be used to control the HDTV system located in any zone.

Think of the smart house concept, done right by Apple!

New construction with structured wiring & various home automation equipment as an optional package would provide the infrastructure to do the concept true justice.

Engineering all the required hardware into a sexy chassis is the easy part; creating the software that smoothly integrates all the functions and features of such a system into an easy to use experience for the end user is the hard part.
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post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Apple will eventually deliver a Home Server. MacRonin is right...dealing with downloadable media in an efficient matter is going to require superior management compared to what we have now.

With CD/DVD/Blu-ray you have physical discs that are transported to different playback devices. If we are to take that same benefit and extend it to digital files we need some sort of way to manage these huge digital files. Central management is key.

Apple already has most of the tools they'll need.

Bonjour- for network discovery

AutofS- for tracking filesystem changes

Metadata- for tagging and searching via spotlight

Parental Controls- self explanatory

Time Machine/Capsule- for backup


They'll put everything together soon enough. It's appearing like iTunes 8 will be a fairly substantial upgrade and I'd live to see it gain some server attributes and be able to manage a central db of media with seperate metadata on each client and seperate libraries.

We're ready for the digital age.

hmurchison gets it
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post #18 of 27
Thread Starter 
I know that some folks around here get touchy (no pun intended) when one makes comparisons to Star Trek, but…

Imagine that the home server is the same as the 'Central Core' on starships, and the thin clients are the ubiquitous touch screen tablets…

HDTVs on the wall & iMac-esque units on the desk are just larger versions of the thin client, but main data storage and overall systems control resides in the 'Central Core'…
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post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post

No more than the sum of the parts available to do the same thing now…

No more than a similarly equipped Windows Home Server…

Obviously more than most folks would think, but that would include the full home automation/structured wiring/multi-zone A/V scheme…

Home automation/structured wiring/multi-zone A/V could easily be two or three times the cost of a small home server itself…

Current hardware for an ad hoc home server/media center would be:

Mac mini w/ Elgato dongle
AppleTV
Time Capsule
External USB HDD
HDTV flat-panel (42"+) w/four HDMI inputs (Mac mini, AppleTV, cable box, game console)
5.1 surround sound system

Adding AirPort Express units & speakers will get audio to multiple zones, but not video. Feeding media via AirPort to computers in multiple zones will achieve multi-zone A/V distribution, but then you are just transferring/streaming the media to another computer, not centralizing your computing on the server.

I guess I am mainly looking towards the future, and seeing a unit that is a true multi-user computer, with thin clients that control the system as you move through it. That thin client may be a handheld tablet which is a mobile thin client, updating & syncing to the user account on the home server as needed; or the thin client may be a HDTV panel with stereo audio built-in and a wireless keyboard/mouse. The tablets could also be used to control the HDTV system located in any zone.

Think of the smart house concept, done right by Apple…!

New construction with structured wiring & various home automation equipment as an optional package would provide the infrastructure to do the concept true justice.

Engineering all the required hardware into a sexy chassis is the easy part; creating the software that smoothly integrates all the functions and features of such a system into an easy to use experience for the end user is the hard part.

I certainly don't get it. It seems like you are talking about several different product types that would be released over a large spread of technical evolution all at the same time.

You say "No more than a similarly equipped Windows Home Server" but then go right into "that would include the full home automation/structured wiring/multi-zone A/V scheme" and then talk about a "smart house concept, done right by Apple." I am really not following.

And i have no idea how a Mac Mini, Elgato TV Tuner, AppleTV, Time Capsule, 42" HDTV, and an external USB HDD have to do with this idea. A home server would have RAID and hot swappable drives making a USB HDD and Time Capsule not needed. Elgato is best served from a system with apt processing power, not a dedicated home server.

I also don't understand how an HDTV and audio HW fit into this. Audio sHW should be handled at the end and have no baring on Apple and an HDTV by Apple would severely limit consumer options. Now, a unified standard for plugging a 3rd-party device into higher-end displays that allows MS, Linux, Apple or whomever to have their display of choice on the monitor would be nice. Such a device would have an 802.11n or 1000BASE-T for netowrking, a Flash drive for storing the home server's meta data, and something like FrontRow/BackRow for an interface and the plugin will use whatever remote you choose via the monitor to the device attached in the back. But I don't even know of any proposed standards that would begin to make that a reality.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love for a unified system, and now that personal computers are being used as media hubs in so many ways it will happen, but not all at once and not any time soon as it seems to be presented here. I still want a simple home server from Apple that offers a free DNS name for accessing files and streaming media the way Windows Home Server can.
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post #20 of 27
Thread Starter 
I mention the current hardware as a baseline of equipment required for a simple home server/dvr/media center type of setup…

I mention the home automation aspect because that is the future of the true smart house. Integrating the media control with the home automation only makes sense from an end-user ease of use aspect. I am sure we can all agree that a software front end to control both your 'digital life' and the functions of a modern automated home would be better designed & implemented by Apple rather than Microsoft…

I would envision all input sources (cable, internet-derived media, telephone, etc.) piped into the server; access from that point is the 'head' unit (this would be the main HDTV in the living room/den/etc.), thin clients are either feed via Gigabit Ethernet (for zoned HDTVs or 'iMacs') and via WiFi for the tablets…
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post #21 of 27
Personally, I would consider this, over a Mac HS or WHS box.

It's similar looking to a WHS box, but it runs Linux, and costs like half the price (500 GB), and has a web-based UI, that allows Linux, Mac, and Windows users to access it - which is more important IMO, as with WHS, it's basically Windows only, and an Apple version would probably also be OSX only or crippled. And I don't see why Time Machine couldn't work with this somehow.

http://www.amazon.com/HP-MV2120-500G.../dp/B0015313O8

And the unit is sharp looking to boot.

post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by guinness View Post

Personally, I would consider this, over a Mac HS or WHS box.

It's similar looking to a WHS box, but it runs Linux, and costs like half the price (500 GB), and has a web-based UI, that allows Linux, Mac, and Windows users to access it - which is more important IMO, as with WHS, it's basically Windows only, and an Apple version would probably also be OSX only or crippled. And I don't see why Time Machine couldn't work with this somehow.

http://www.amazon.com/HP-MV2120-500G.../dp/B0015313O8

And the unit is sharp looking to boot.
<image>

I doubt it would be crippled, but it would be HFS+ (or ZFS in the future) which may cause some issues for Windows.

I like the HP models. They run cool but the fan is a bit too noisy. Intel Mac Pros and iMacs have significantly less fan noise.

As for TimeMachine, you can use it now with eh HP device as it sees it as a networked drive. I haven't see the Linux interface, but I do like the Windows software.
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post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post

I mention the current hardware as a baseline of equipment required for a simple home server/dvr/media center type of setup

I mention the home automation aspect because that is the future of the true smart house. Integrating the media control with the home automation only makes sense from an end-user ease of use aspect. I am sure we can all agree that a software front end to control both your 'digital life' and the functions of a modern automated home would be better designed & implemented by Apple rather than Microsoft

I would envision all input sources (cable, internet-derived media, telephone, etc.) piped into the server; access from that point is the 'head' unit (this would be the main HDTV in the living room/den/etc.), thin clients are either feed via Gigabit Ethernet (for zoned HDTVs or 'iMacs') and via WiFi for the tablets

Direct TV and ATT u-verse are working on full home DRV systems. Comcrap is not want $6 or more per tv or even more for a DVR box. The others want $5 per tv.

With out a good cable card system with full 2 way then don't put cable in.

Maybe apple can work with Direct TV on a box Direct has a apple tv like on demand system over the internet + SAT right now.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRonin View Post

I mention the current hardware as a baseline of equipment required for a simple home server/dvr/media center type of setup

Except that Apple has gone the download vs DVR route. I expect Apple will leave the DVR stuff to elgato. The Apple media cener is just aTV and iTunes.

Quote:
I mention the home automation aspect because that is the future of the true smart house. Integrating the media control with the home automation only makes sense from an end-user ease of use aspect. I am sure we can all agree that a software front end to control both your 'digital life' and the functions of a modern automated home would be better designed & implemented by Apple rather than Microsoft

That future has been the future for some 30 years. Heck, X10 was developed in 1975.
For whatever reason it hasn't caught on.

Arguably, neither MS or Apple is doing home automation in the near future given the size of the niche (tiny) and because Crestron solutions, although pricey, work well.

X10 and INSTEON modules seems waaay out of scope for both MS and Apple.

Quote:
I would envision all input sources (cable, internet-derived media, telephone, etc.) piped into the server; access from that point is the 'head' unit (this would be the main HDTV in the living room/den/etc.), thin clients are either feed via Gigabit Ethernet (for zoned HDTVs or 'iMacs') and via WiFi for the tablets

Except that it appears that the Apple strategy has but one media input: iTunes. They appear to expect to co-exist with other systems (PS3, Blu-Ray, etc) with the aTV part of the rest of the various media boxes that Apple has little hope of controlling or integrating with (cable boxes for example).

For telephony I would expect Apple to embace VOIP probably through iChat or just docking the iPhone to your Mac (either physically or over 802.11). with the iPhone all the telephony integration is there in your pocket and wireless connectivity.

Home automation and other integration over the iPhone and iPod touch will likely have solutions soon after the June SDk release.

Is it possible that Apple will do more? Sure. Likely? Probably not.
post #25 of 27
I'm personally not suggesting Apple suddenly spring out Telephony and Home Automation apsps. As with any server it's the applications running from ISV that count.

I'd expect to see El Gato, Parliant and Perceptive Automation (Indigo) with modified apps that work for server/client scenarios.


I don't know how much Apple will participate but regardless of what they do the typical home of 2015 will resemble the typical business of 2000. There will be networked everything and virtualization. The emphasis will be on Green thin/thick clients and centralized management and likely storage of the main media.

Metadata will remain intact as it traverses through different filesystems and security will be domain based. Parents will be able to monitor and filter their childrens data quite easily even if they try to rename files.

VOIP phone systems will be the norm with auto attendant features to get rid of pesky telemarketers and of course push voicemail.

ZFS will mature and handle storage pooling and snapshots. Time Machine will gain WAN backup to .Mac. Upload speeds for broadband carriers will finally become in vogue (Sorry Comcast you're behind here...hello FIOS)

Apple will ship a multifaceted product that is tablet like but so much more. Amazing things are done with it like Home Theatre control (imagine a low cost Crestron copy), display of IP cameras (security) and much more.

Apple will not make a GPS but they will develop a nice backend structure for those vendors who want to deliver GPS functionality from iPhones all the way to laptop/tablets

The pieces are all starting to coalesce into a sum that is potentially greater than all the parts. Digital Lifestyle is still a toddler.
He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
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He's a mod so he has a few extra vBulletin privileges. That doesn't mean he should stop posting or should start acting like Digital Jesus.
- SolipsismX
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post #26 of 27
Basically what you need is a back-closet Linux box with a decent server/GUI implementation. Or perhaps a Hackintosh server if you want the Mac gui. Or just buy an old Powermac/Mac Pro and a server license...
post #27 of 27
All of the parts are waiting to come together, and what's missing is the software to make it "just work." The jury is still out on optical discs and cable TV as delivery methods, but the idea of a central database of media content on our computer is pretty much a given.

If Apple decides that iTunes can serve centralized content to multiple clients (iPhone, Apple TV, MB Air, etc.) then my 5 authorized Macs can appear to use the same iTunes library. Of course not all the content will always be everywhere, but it will be available anywhere I can access sufficient bandwidth to stream it. Local caching of media a la Apple TV or iPhone makes offline access just as easy (if the software is smart enough to know what I'm going to want to access).

Anyone who has used Apple TV, iPhone, or iPod is already living in a world of thin clients. I'd suggest that MB Air is the beginning of a redrawing of the line between thin clients and full-fledged computing platforms. With Back To My Mac and the seamless sharing in Leopard's Finder, the first steps toward seamlessly integrating multiple "computers" into one "computer" (as in "Computer, locate Lieutenant LaForge") have already been tread.

Sooner than later users will tire of the endless manual syncing of files from one machine to the other, work desktop to personal laptop to iPhone. The sooner my Macs learn how to share nicely with one another (and push content to the iPhone from multiple machines, for cripes sakes) the better.

When I leave a document open on my desktop at work, it would be nice if I could just use Spaces to get back to it from my laptop on the couch at home. Same with the movie I started watching in the Living Room and now want to fall asleep watching the end of in bed.

Anyway, it really is just the beginning for all of this. Besides Multitouch and mesh networking, we pretty much have all the hardware we need to begin dreaming up the software to drive a new era in personal computing.
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