The Rumor Mill

Rumors for a New Year

- 2002.01.02

Steve Jobs will be addressing the Consumer Electronic Show the day after the Macworld Keynote. What's up with that?

Like you had to ask? C'mon, everyone knows that CES is where they show off all the new electronic gadgets - MP3 players, digital cameras, DVD players, stereo equipment, boom boxes, TVs, surround sound hardware, game consoles, VCRs, camcorders, etc.

It's never really been a big deal for the computer industry, which should tip us off that Apple is planning more consumer gear to follow in the iPod's footstep. So let's put on our thinking caps and imagine what Apple might announce at Macworld and the CES. (As always, remember that this is groundless speculation.)

We Are Not Macs, We Are iVo

To be rolled out to the driving beat of the old Devo hit, Apple will be going head to head with TiVo with a brand new OS X-based alternative. But it will go way beyond that - iVo will not only be able to record two programs at once, it will also function as a cable modem, Internet router, and network firewall.

iVo will have four internal hard drive bays, making it very easy for users to shut down, add a drive, power up, and be ready to record more content than ever. It will also be networked to both your computers and your TVs, letting you watch video content on either type of device.

Yes, that means you'll be able to take your iVo files into iMovie, edit the ads out of your favorite TV shows, and burn them to DVD with iDVD.

And did we mention that iVo has megabit ethernet and can also act as an AirPort hub?

Burn, Baby, Burn

What iTunes has been for burning CDs from MP3s, iVideo will be to the creation of videotapes, DVDs, and video CDs. iVideo will run OS X, will have a pair of last year's 667 MHz G4 processors, and will be able to burn DVDs and Video CDs easily. It will also have ports that connect it to your VCR or camcorder to record digital content to tape or digitize content from tape.

iVideo will be a network device that can be controlled remotely by any type of computer with a browser - Macs, Windows, Linux - anything. It will have hooks to work with iVo, but it will have a much smaller drive (no larger than 20 GB), so only a limited number of projects can be stored at once.

Thanks to AirPort (optional), it won't even have to be hard wired to your computer network.

The iBox

The iPod is great when you want to wear headphones, but the iBox will let you fill a room with MP3 sound - a lot of sound. The basic iBox will act as an AM/FM/CD clock radio, include a quiet 15 GB laptop hard drive (3,000 tunes!), and work a lot like the iPod. It will have a remote control, will include gigabit ethernet, and will also be AirPort optional. You could conceivably set you iBox to act as a network MP3 server.

Rumors are Bose will be making these for Apple using the Wave Radio as a template. That means they'll sound great and cost a lot - which is always good for Apple's bottom line.

iBox To Go

The iBox To Go is a portable, boom box version of the iBox. Same kind of features, but big removable speakers and the ability to run from batteries.


The only component missing from the "create your own video" package is an Apple branded digital camcorder - that's QuickFlick. Built by Sony, the base QuickFlick will use the Digital 8 format, include a full FireWire implementation, and use Sony's Memory Stick technology.

The more advanced QuickFlick (QuickerFlicker?) won't use old fashioned tape at all. Instead, it will use a specially packaged plug-and-play version of the 48 GB IBM TravelStar hard drive - ten times the capacity of a single-layer DVD with lightning fast access.

Did we mention IBM will be producing this as the first FireWire native hard drive - expect it to appear as a BTO option for the next generation of iBooks and PowerBooks as well.

I Want iMac TV

Remember Mac TV, a crippled LC 550 only expandable to 8 MB RAM - but in a nice black case and including a TV tuner? With the company's renewed commitment to digital video, a new line of digital Apple televisions wouldn't be at all out of line. After all, the FCC wants us all to be using digital TVs within a decade, so a fully integrated überTV running OS X could have a nice niche market among early adopters. Best of all, early adopters are used to high price tags, which could further help Apple's bottom line.

What Else?

Well, it is the Consumer Electronics Show - maybe we'll see Apple-branded portable DVD players, Apple-branded speakers that aren't spherical....

One More Thing

You know Steve always likes to save the best for last. So do I. Possibly called GigaWire, AirPort Plus, or SpacePort, Apple's next generation wireless networking protocol will work on both computers and consumer electronics. Using a 5 GHz carrier, wireless networking will now function flat out at FireWire speed. A new AirPort Plus card will also make this backward compatible with all existing Macs that support AirPort.

Finally, you'll be able to compute with just one wire - the power cord. And 'Book users will only need that when charging their batteries.

It's a brave new year, and Apple will be redefining itself as the brave new company behind your digital lifestyle.

Or maybe not.

- Anne Onymus

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