Paging Robert Morgan
For those who don’t remember Robert Morgan, he wrote a rumor site ostensibly aimed at investors and then a column for MacWeek before it became eWeek. He preached the convergence of computers and consumer electronics in long, sometimes rambling posts. But these were some of the rumors the Macalope was weaned on when he was but a young Mac buck.
Morgan wrote around the time of the original iMac’s introduction when the rumor mill heavily bet that it would be a set-top box. Witness this CNet article from 1998 which is both astoundingly wrong and accidentally prescient:
Apple Computer (AAPL) is working on portable and TV set-top entertainment devices that offer Internet access and play everything from music CDs to DVD movies, as the company refashions itself for the convergence of consumer electronics and PC technologies.
The top-secret project could throw the computer maker back into the limelight of the high-tech industry if, as planned, the company combines a WebTV-like Internet access device with a CD or DVD player to create an easy-to-use, low-cost computing device, sources close to Apple said.
Apple declined to comment, but one source said the convergence project is code-named Columbus.
Columbus turned out to be the iMac. On the prescient side, the article notes:
“Studios need critical mass. It’s hard to justify new channels (for distributing) content if the subscriber base is small,” said one entertainment industry source.
Which pretty clearly describes how it’s Amazon and Microsoft that face the uphill battle here in 2006.
So, it’s been a long time coming – and it’s still not actually here yet – but the Macalope will be hefting a flagon of mead to Robert Morgan along with the modest portion of crow he’ll be eating tonight.
Because the Macalope was certainly wrong about wireless video vs. wireless audio. Judging by Gizmodo’s specs, it appears the “iTV” doesn’t have a hard drive (although Gruber speculates it has one for caching) so it is, in fact, receiving streamed video from a Mac and, for smaller content, from the iTunes Music Store. Certainly the “TubePort” was also wrong, though, and simply based off last night’s crop of rumors. No dongles and no “iDisk-like storage component hosted by Apple.”
And no “true” video iPod. We’ll just have to soldier on with these “fake” video iPods.
HD video requires transfer rates of 25 mbps and regular ol’ fashioned non-extreme Airport and mixed Airport/Airport Extreme environments only get up to 11 mbps. So, while the Macalope hates to say it, it’s time to ditch that stylish but antiquated key lime iBook.
UPDATE 9/13 – Correction: 25 mbps is for uncompressed HD. Commenter Jeff notes you could copy the movie file over 802.11b in less time than it would take to watch it, so you should be able to stream it. He also points out the use of the term “802.11 networking.” Is that because it’s 802.11b and 801.11g or because it’s 802.11a?