Your feedback is much appreciated

in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Hi all, I may not be the biggest audiophile in the world, and certainly do not have a McIntosh amp etc to prove my hi-fi credentials but I still regard myself as someone who values good quality audio, and more to the point, I enjoy sitting down and listening to music.

People's music listening habits have clearly transformed in the past 5-10 years. Whereas in the 60s/70s/80s and 90s people would listen to a vinyl/tape/CD in a relatively simple way, from start to finish (sweeping generalization, and maybe only partially true, but bear with me) today, in the 21st century, a great deal of music listening seems to happen around a computer or on the move with a MP3 player.

Music is still as popular as ever but it is quite clear that the form in which it exists is changing. From a physical matter it is now becoming digital. As a result the art of listening to an album seems to be on the decline. This is quite sad to me! I am one of those people who has digitized their entire CD collection (in lossless AAC format!) using iTunes. I also have a plethora of MP3 tracks where my current song total stands at a whopping 24,205 songs, which equates to about 1850 albums! This will continue to rise through the years.

I am very happy with the reduced clutter and the fact that all my music is at my fingertips. It is wonderful being able to flick through the covers of my music in iTunes and picking out what I want to listen to. The only problem is the quality of my listening experience has somewhat deteriorated. Ever since migrating my music over to my Mac I have slowly changed my listening habits, and in my opinion, for the worse. Instead of popping a CD into my hifi and pressing play I am now turning on my Mac, then launching iTunes, no doubt opening up Safari to browse the web and before you know it I have two or three things going on simultaneously. With the computer present it is difficult to distance myself away from it, and even if I do I still need to operate it to change a song or album!!!

Once upon a time my focus on the listening of the music was immense but now I seem to listen more closely to my music whilst commuting rather than at home, where the audio is at its optimum. My solution was to buy one of those Roku Soundbridge WIFI MP3 players which acted as a bridge between my Mac and my HIFI. With my Mac and itunes turned on the Soundbridge would detect the library and enable me to navigate and play whatever I wanted but through my hifi. It was about 75% what I wanted but the poor interface and sub-par sound quality meant it had to go.

The biggest issue for me however was the fact that my Mac still had to be on, as that is where my music is stored. The concept of having a computer whirring in the background just so I can listen to music sounded very inefficient and barely environmentally friendly. Surely there is a better solution? But there doesn't seem to be one on the market, so I thought one up in my head, and would like to present it to everyone here to gauge feedback and suggestions etc.

Imagine Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, unveiling to the hi-fi world a new Apple product that would revolutionize hi-fi as we know it. For the sake of understanding, it will be referred to as Apple HIFI. Here we go. A hi-fi separate. with a 500gb terabyte removable hard drive (a caddy slot, much like what the Mac Pros utilise) capable in storing 1100 hours worth of lossless audio (44.1khz 16bit). It has a 802.11n wireless card that seeks out your iTunes collection, whether it is on a Mac or PC.

After pairing your Apple HIFI to your iTunes library it will proceed to copy every single music/audio podcast file you have onto its internal hard drive. If you have a number of gigabytes worth of music already in your library you can physically connect the Apple HIFI to your computer using a USB cable, connecting to the USB 2.0 port on the rear, making the sync process quicker. Once fully synced you now effectively have two copies of your iTunes library; one on your computer and one on the hi-fi.

From now on, whatever you download or rip into your itunes library is wirelessly synced into your Apple HIFI, keeping both versions identical. Whenever iTunes adds new music to its library it alerts the paired Apple HIFI, which proceeds to copy the data to its own library. Once music is transferred you can turn off your computer as it is not needed for listening to music.

The Apple HIFI boasts high quality analog and digital output connections that yield the best sound performance. Phono and SPDIF are provided. Implementing Apple's world renowned iPod interface you can now search through your entire collection via the large round dial and using the widescreen LCD display. Search through music by album, artist, genre, year, even date added. Whatever playlists you have in your itunes are available on the Apple HIFI and everything is instantaneous due to the lightning quick SATA hard drive.

The Apple HIFI is also future proof by enabling you to remove the existing hard drive if you ever get to the stage of filling it up (it will take a long time with a 500GB HD), and therefore replacing it with a no doubt faster, larger and cheaper drive. It can play all the formats currently supported by iTunes, which includes WAV, AAC (including Lossless), MP3 etc. Provided is a remote that enables the powering on and off of the system, searching and selecting of music as well as the standard play/pause/forward/rewind and stop actions.

The Apple HIFI is nearly silent with a noise insulated casing that contains the hard drive's sound, whilst also conforming to the standard widths of most hifi separates. Available in black the Apple HIFI sits naturally within your existing hifi setup, expanding upon the music available.


Right, now I know this is all fiction at the moment. Still, I don't know about you, I think this has real potential and if Apple announced something like this tomorrow I would be the first to buy it. So all I would like to know now guys is what do you think? Does this have scope and would it actually be popular?

Thanks Chris


  • Reply 1 of 3
    I like the idea but this could be done with a software upgrade to the AppleTV, it already does it for video... just need to extend it to audio. An increase to the HD capacity would be nice... and use 3.5" HDs please.

    Has analog video/audio out.

    Has optical audio out.

    Has HDMI A/V out.

    Has remote control.

    Has wifi B/G/N link.

    Has ethernet for faster syncs.

    Still needs bigger drives.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    galleygalley Posts: 971member
    The $99 AirPort Express will accept streaming lossless audio, and it has an optical audio output. A $229 tv is an even better choice for lossless audio streaming. Audio is easy to stream, video is not.
  • Reply 3 of 3
    hobbithobbit Posts: 532member
    Well, what you need is a super-capacity iPod with wireless syncing.

    If the iPod instead of 160GB had 1TB of storage and wireless syncing capability then you had your product!

    You could sync every song in lossless quality and hook it up to your stereo with one of the myriad docks available.

    The iPod has a display where you can browse your entire library, search, flip through coverflow etc.

    Perhaps if you mod an iPod with a connector for an external desktop HD and wireless USB you'd be sorted. Your iPod would have whatever capacity the external HD has and would sync wirelessly via USB whenever your computer is switched on.

    With 'wireless USB' I mean something like this Geffen USB extender. This product should be able to make any current iPod sync wirelessly. So all that's missing is an iPod mod to provide a connection for a bigger external HD.
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