Apple Computer will announce a new product and/or service next week. As per their usual methods, the company isn’t giving many hints as to what that’s going to be, but here’s what I’m expecting.
Most observers are predicting a “video iPod” that will play back video on a hand-sized device. Not me. I’m predicting not a video iPod, but rather an “iFlicks” service (they may or may not use that name) enabled by a new Airport-Express-on-steroids wireless widget with a video out, as well as a snazzy Apple remote control (perhaps looking something like this) for iTunes and iFlicks.
All this will enable Mac G5 owners to download high-resolution (but not HD, not yet) movies from Apple to their hard drives and play them back on televisions in another part of the house. G4 Macs won’t have enough horsepower, this is intended partially to drive G5 iMac sales (so there goes the Mac Mini as an HDPC theory, at least for now), but mostly to establish Apple as the primary source for legal movie downloads.
In other words, Apple makes a bid to become the Blockbuster and Netflix combined of the 21st Century, without the inventory, bricks-and-mortar overhead, or shipping hassles.
This isn’t an original prediction on my part, and I don’t have any inside info (full disclosure: I worked for Apple briefly way back in 1993). Tech pundit Bob Cringely and “As Seen On TV” (an either knowlegable or very gifted fake of a Slashdot poster who suddenly vanished a little while back) have been predicting this for months. I think they’re right.
For what it’s worth, I emailed Cringely this morning, and he agrees. We’ll see on the 12th.