in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
<a href="http://www.macrumors.com/forums/showthread.php3?threadid=6605"; target="_blank">Mac Rumors</a> talks about a digital picture frame that you can hookup to your mac to display your iPhoto pictures and maybe even play mp3s from. This has been done before, but I'd really like to see what apple would do with it.

This is possibly the most logical hardware rumor I''ve heard in a while.

Think about it:

iTunes - iPod

iPhoto - iView?


  • Reply 1 of 7
    engpjpengpjp Posts: 124member
    This has been extensively discussed at MacRumors, and I believe it has also been touched upon in threads here on AI.

    To be brief: the iFrame (proposed by the IBM development dept. some twenty years ago) doesn't work in a real household or in a real economy.

    A screen and some chips is the most basic design imaginable here. That means a battery too; however, the original idea was to be able to display a number of images in a sort of slideshow, and then you are getting close to needing a rechargeable, built-in battery a la iPod. Also, a port for data input (to enter and renew the pictures). A price for such a device would be in the region of $150 - when including a color screen the size of standard photos, and of a reasonable quality. Also, being backlit it eats into the battery at a much higher rate than does the one on iPod.

    The iFrame could be displayed on a wall or put on some horisontal surface. Neither place is very suitable for putting a smallish, light device with a power cable - getting knocked over is one thing; another is the aesthetics of cables hanging down the wall...

    Why do people have aquariums? to have something bright, everchanging, colorful to look at (or make movies about). The difference between the aquarium and an iFrame is the size - to see it properly you need to handle it as you do snapshots, and the screen size and quality demands that the admirers hand it round rather than stand and gaze at it admiringly. Unless the iFrame has the size of a large iBook screen (14.1"), of course - but then the price would kill it.

    The price might kill it anyway - how many people would pay §150 for such a device? That would pay for a lot of paper photos and even a few reasonably sized enlargements. I think the market is rather small, given the limitations of the product.

    If it were to be an MP3 player too, it might be more interesting - but then it would be a fully portable device, and that's very different from the original iFrame idea. It would need more circuitry for that, and of course a harddisk (since we live in post-iPod times). Price increase - more complex OS - we are talking iPod Enhanced: an MP3 player that can also transport data, display images, contain and display text, notes, contacts, databases, webpages, email and many other practical kinds of data. These would, however, be secondary functions in an iPod.

    This is not a PDA: data input would strictly come from a Mac via the FireWire connection.

    Damn, I've done it again: ruined a perfectly good discussion by pushing it towards my hobbyhorse of the week.... :-/
  • Reply 2 of 7
    nebagakidnebagakid Posts: 2,692member
    I think it would be the size of the 14" iBook. It would have a stand or a hang up place so a nail can be used to hang it. It recharges through FireWire and gets the data through it.

    On the side would be a scroll whell for going through different things to show.

    Play through Albums.

    Show all pictures.


    Makes sense, yet, it would have to get the audio input and that means that unless you have two audio outs then that would be a problem

    and making it so it can only get the audio from the FireWire would mean only FireWire based music players, are there any besides the iPod?, could take advantage

    Overall, this sounds like a good idea and possibly something that Apple would invest in. People would love it that if they do not have a high quality printer they can display the pictures just as easily, and probably some people would just stand in front of it.

    Comes in two sizes The 14" (so i can be put into a backpack after you secure it with the flipover case) and the whopping 22", as apple with be phasing out the 23" and will be using the 22" as iFrames
  • Reply 3 of 7
    cakecake Posts: 1,010member
    Don't forget BlueTooth.

    I'd want my iFrame to update from my Mac.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    It's a great idea, but current technology isn't up to par.

    Essentially the idea is to be able to show photos much like one does with a stack of prints. For such viewing, the display quality would need to be exquisite, far superior to something like the iBook. It would have to compete with a real photo, or a digital photo printed via a quality printer, and such an LCD display would cost a LOT of money.

    Then there's the issue of storing the photos...RAM might work but forget holding many photos. So you need a HD for the thing to be practical. Add some Firewire ports for data transfer and recharging the battery.

    The cool thing about such a device is that it could be used to dump photos from a camera with limited RAM, and one could then view the photos on a high quality display.

    The bad thing about such a device is that it would cost as much as an iPod PLUS the cost of a bitchin' LCD display! Holy schnikies, we're talking around $700-$800! ($400 for the iPod parts, and another 300-400 for the HD LCD display). Nobody is going to pay that much when they can show the pics on their laptop display or print out the nice one's on a printer.

    But it IS a great idea and such a device will probably become available sometime in the future. But I doubt Apple is going to bring it to the market first, and it's going to be 5-10 years before such technology is cheap enough to sell at "photo album prices".
  • Reply 5 of 7
    I have seen a sony device that does that ( about 12 months ago)
  • Reply 6 of 7
    engpjpengpjp Posts: 124member
    There are basically three options when you consider the iFrame concept:

    One, simply a picture display. With a small display, as discussed above, there are problems with ergonomics unless it were to be "grabbable". The price might conceivably be acceptable, and I doubt that picture quality would be an issue. I use a PowerBook to show my digital photos, and the backlit screen makes most people comment on how good it looks. But if the screen were to be 14" or more, the price would be beyond anything the market would pay for such a simple device (re JYD).

    Two, an enhanced iPod cum picture/data viewer. I have argued for this above, and with a screen size of about 8" the quality of the pictures would (seemingly) be about what you have on the pics in your wallet (plus, it would be acceptable for holiday pics, etc. The iPod capabilities will justify the price range, when the ADDED features are considered; it COULD be sold for around $500, I believe (the iPod prices would have to be lowered, but that will happen anyway).

    Three, a complete Pad, with touchscreen, OSX, AirPort, etc. While the enhanced iPod would basically be an enhanced iPod, this category is an ENHANCED PDA. Of course, SJ would see it as a computer category... :-/ Again, we are talking mainly display, but here it would be dynamically updated, and it would have the limited input capabilities of a stylus device (plus, a keyboard could be plugged into the USB port. Together with a suitable stand, it emulates a complete desktop the way a laptop does). Price range: probably around $1400.

    So, we are talking three different categories, and that continuously muddles the discussion...
  • Reply 7 of 7
    drewpropsdrewprops Posts: 2,321member
    For more discussion about iFrame just go to<a href="http://forums.appleinsider.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic&f=1&t=001097"; target="_blank"> the original iFrame thread</a>.

    The one thing you guys haven't mentioned yet is the ability to let iFrame display photos from specified iTools accounts. I thought that this would be a neat product to for older computer-illiterates like Grandma and Grandpa. They'd have one of these things hooked up to the internet for them and the pictures would updated whenever the family uploaded new photos to the iFrame folder in their iTools account.

    The problem I didn't consider is the cost of having a dedicated phone line for the thing, the ISP service and the fact that most kids aren't that thoughtful and they'd sell about 200 a year.

    So for now I'm retracting the idea.

    What was I thinking?

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