Scott's Viewport

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Apple Suggestion Box

I'm glad to see that iTunes store offered movies for purchase and download in 2006. I've been impressed with the performance of video streaming using 802.11g from Mac to Mac inside my house. I'm looking forward to the launch of Leopard and the "iTV" product. Apple has a large chunk of my computing and media bucks for the foreseeable future. Because I care, here are a few things I hope Apple gets right in 2007:

  • Front Row Able To Play DVDs From Any Hard Disk

    I keep a whole collection of iDVD-authored DVDs on my 500 GB iMac disk, and I want to be able to browse them from my living room couch just like I'll be able to browse my music or photo collection. Allowing access to only a single physical DVD through Front Row is a real shortcoming, and doesn't respect what people are doing with the iLife products.

  • More Support For Lean Back Computing

    I want to do a lot of things through Front Row I can't right now, whether I'm sitting on my exercise bike or the living room couch. And I don't care how it complicates the menu. Add a button to the remote if you have to. Here's my list:

  • check the time and date
  • check the Calendar and Address Book
  • read e-mail
  • video iChat (with an integrated iSight camera)
  • manage iTunes library (search for Artwork, set rating, copy from/to shared library, make playlist)
  • manage iPhoto library (adjustments and effects, make albums, delete, rotate, copy from/to shared library)
  • access Dashboard widgets
  • browse the web using bookmarks for starters

  • Wireless Keyboard Option

    And while I'm at it, I'd wish for a wireless keyboard for the "iTV" so surfing and e-mailing from the living room couch is easy and fun. I don't want a full Mac up there on my TV, I just want Front Row on steroids.

  • Better Synching All Around

    I hope multi-Mac synching takes a quantum leap forward with Leopard. I want to be able to flexibly synch my iPhoto and iTunes libraries with nothing more complicated than a single preference panel to control it. I acquire photos and tunes on both my laptop and my iMac, and it takes a good deal of disclipline to make sure I have a copy everywhere I want it. A simple all-or-nothing synching strategy wouldn't work for me, because the laptop hard disk is pretty full.

    And how about synching Calendar, Address Book, and Mail without resorting to .Mac or third-party products (which leads me to my next point)?

  • Drastically Restructure .Mac

    To me, the whole .Mac thing is a big annoyance in the otherwise user-friendly Apple world. Either halve the cost (for that much money I can rent over a 100 Netflix DVDs in a year) or restructure OS X to allow full functionality without using .Mac. That would mean allowing direct Mac to Mac synching for everything that currently uses .Mac, and more support for the 3rd party web servers in iWeb, etc..

  • Decouple the iPod and the iTunes Store

    And finally, I'm going to ask for something I'm pretty sure I won't get without intervention of the U.S. Justice Dept.. Apple should pre-emptively declare that they have an effective monopoly in the MP3 player market (how could that hurt sales?), and pro-actively decouple the iTunes store from the iPod. They need to figure out the politics and the technology, but it is the right thing to do.

    From the consumer viewpoint, no one thinks they are buying a piece of Apple-only software when they purchase media from the iTunes store. But in effect, they are, because they have no option other than Apple players for that media for the rest of its digital life. Figure out how to open up FairPlay.

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