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5 Video Innovations We Would Love to See at Macworld Expo

MacWorld Expo is going down starting Monday in San Francisco, and Apple fans have been speculating about new products for months. Will there be a new Mac Mini? An iPhone Nano? Or maybe even an Apple Netbook ? Answers to all these question will be given in the coming days, and our friends of The Apple Blog will be there to cover it in depth. Meanwhile, there’s still some time left to imagine what kind of Newteevee gadgets we would like to see announced.

Let’s face it: We’re probably not going to see anything too unexpected from Apple a the event. Steve Jobs just won’t leave it up to his minions to announce any revolutionary new product or service, and with him most likely not showing up we have to brace ourselves for a bunch of unspectacular upgrades. So why not dream big and come up with some stuff we would really like to see in our living rooms?

Here are five announcements we would love to hear from Apple:

A Mac Mini with two display ports. This rumor has been simmering on the Apple blogs for a while now, and it would be a great boon for everyone thinking about a dual-use box that could feed your flat panel TV as well as a plain old LCD computer screen. Likelihood of this going to happen: It actually could, according to Apple is supposedly going to use its new Mini DisplayPort for a revamped Mac Mini, but could also keep a Mini DVI connector to allow the use of a second display. Of course, Apple isn’t really know for smooth transitions from old to new interfaces, so we don’t hold our breath.

An Apple TV Deluxe with built-in TV tuner. Apple could use the digital TV transition to enter the DVR market with a bang and market the Apple TV as the all-problems-solved box. Free digital HD TV? Check. Time shifting? Check. Premium content on demand? Check. Home networking? Check. A design that makes your Tivo blush? Check mate. Likelihood of this going to happen: Unfortunately, zero. Apple has never shown any interest in supporting traditional media distribution methods. Case in point: iPods could offer FM radio for practically no extra costs, but Apple prefers its customers to use the iTunes store.

An Apple TV App Store. Yeah, we get it. Apple wants to control its Apple TV platform and is going to sabotage unauthorized outside developments like Boxee until the end of time. But how about opening up the box just a bit, and in turn creating a whole new revenue stream? How about bringing social networking, online gaming, news tickers and maybe even a Joost app to the big screen? Likelihood of this going to happen: Not this time around, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple is already working on something like this.

BitTorrent support for iTunes podcasts. Video podcasts are eating up more and more bandwidth, and podcasters don’t exactly have much money to spare in times like these. Adding a simple BitTorrent client to iTunes would go a long way towards guaranteeing that great shows will stay online even if corporate giants like AOL stop to sponsor podcasters with terabytes of free bandwidth. Apple could even limit the client to a company-run tracker to make sure that iTunes doesn’t become the latest toy of the Pirate Bay crowd. Likelihood of this going to happen: None. Never. Ever. Online video sharing. The MobileMe gallery is nice for photo storage and sharing, but what about videos? Apple could attract lots of new users to its cloud service by offering the ability to easily share videos with your contacts through Macs, PCs, iPhones and Apple TVs. It could even integrate some iMovie-like features into an online video editor to allow users to create video playlists and simple mash-ups. Likelihood of this going to happen: Sure, why not? Apple has been a little too dependent on YouTube for user-generated online video in the past, which must bug the hell out of Steve Jobs. Also, Computerworld blogger Seth Weintraub just wrote that he heard about plans to revamp iMovie as a cloud app. I guess that means MobileMe fans can keep their fingers crossed.

12 Responses to “5 Video Innovations We Would Love to See at Macworld Expo”

  1. Well wasn’t Expo an AppleTV – Mini letdown: If it wasn’t for ‘Take-It-To-The-Next-Level’ stuff like ElGato’s revamped EyeTV Hybrid 2009 with FM radio tuning, Equinux’s ‘Live TV’ iPhone WiFi TV update to TheTube, and a few others..

    I’m still slogging thru Expo press releases – Were there any other Video / HTPC / TV / MultiMedia announcements of note? I need more than “iMovie ’09 – It now sucks even LESS than the ’08! rewrite” kinda news to chew on… :)

  2. Dave, you do have a point, but that’s exactly how Apple could be a trend setter. Free digital HD + paid on demand instead of 70-100 bucks per month for cable … it’s no secret that Steve Jobs hates subscriptions, so why not become the messiah of unbundling?

  3. There’s no “check mate” unless the tuner handles digital cable. It’d certainly be more compelling than the current ATV, but it’s not going to replace a cable- or satellite-capable set-top box. Which is where most of us with disposable income get our television programming these days.

  4. I agree, chance of PVR-TV tuner functionality in AppleTV remains ZERO. Although introducing TV tuning at Expo would coincide nicely with the digital television switchover. Sigh. This is a good example where customers clearly want to be able to schedule and record TV, but Apple deciding we can’t and won’t.

    If Apple’s serious about the HTPC market, they ought to take the BILLION$ in cash they have onhand and start by acquiring – oh, say – TIVO outright! :)

  5. Dave Lindsay

    I second the call for an AppleTV Deluxe (Extreme?), but you’re right – adding PVR functions would indeed chew away at what they’re doing with the iTunes store. Would be nice if El Gato’s lineup could be hacked into the aTV somehow.

  6. I live on my AppleTV for YouTube viewing, and watching television shows and movies. I wish they had more selections and better user experience. I love the lack of a monthly service fee… but AppleTV needs to step up the game to connect web with TV- it’s poised to do so, but adoption is the biggest problem…. I don’t know many other users of AppleTV.