Apple TV – Still not sure about the new improvements to the second version of Apple TV. My wife and I are seriously looking at getting a MacMini with a 22" or 24" flat LCD computer monitor and Mac TV tuner as our next home entertainment system. Not only is a flat LCD computer monitor cheaper than a LCD TV of the same size but both the MacMini and computer monitor will power off automatically and we’ll be able to record TV shows similar to a TiVo. Therefore, until the Apple TV includes a TV tuner to record shows (not too mention lets me store any movies, pictures, or photos on its hard drive of my choosing), it benefits are still somewhat limited (especially in Canada where we won’t see movie rentals for some time probably). I mean if all of our favorite TV shows were offered via iTunes at a reduced monthly subscription rate that made it pointless to have cable TV to our home, ya I’d probably buy an Apple TV tomorrow. The ability to record TV shows is still the missing link for me though, especially when it has a built-in hard drive.
MacBook Air – Very impressive and a decent price as well. Functionality of it looks great but wonder how durable it is. I also realize why the need for no DVD drive but this might still be an issue. For example, they said you won’t need a drive with the new Remote Drive feature. The question I have is will you able to watch DVD movies using the Remote Drive? If not, and it’s only for installations and file transfers, then this can be somewhat limiting. Of course you can just buy the optional external Super Drive for $99.
The announcement of 20th Century Fox in that their new DVD’s will have included digital versions of the movie on them so you can transfer them to a Mac or iPod for storing and watching is great but I highly doubt these will be DRM free. Oh and why only the ability to rent a movie via iTunes? Why not the ability to purchase it flat out? Again obviously they’re worried of DRM issues. Why though when it’s been proven that DRM free music works fine. As long as it’s easy to purchase and access, that’s all that people want, and they’ll be willing to pay for it.
Oh well, Steve did say that there were 50 weeks left in the year for additional announcements. I’ll cross my fingers for TV tuner integration. Hell why not just include a TV tuner option with integrated Front Row support in their whole line (i.e. MacMini, iMac, etc). Be pretty sweet, since if the 24" iMac had a TV tuner built-in with TiVo-like features, I’d probably consider that instead of a MacMini and LCD monitor, since it’s an all in one package and you could make use of the built-in camera for family video conferencing from your living room as well.
Update: Got the chance to view the recorded keynote address. I’d have to say that in watching the demo of the Apple TV, its interface definitely looks nicer than I expected. The key benefit I noticed is the easy access to open and accessible content on the Web that you can subscribe to via RSS (i.e. photos, videos, podcasts, even HD podcasts). So sitting in your living room you can check out other family members photo albums to see what’s new with them to the point that you could spend more time watching content on the Web than watching content on TV. What’s even more interesting about this approach, and what has been predicted already, is that a person’s website (i.e. layout, design, etc) becomes irrevelant, as their content takes center stage (due to its portability via RSS). Oh and with regards to movies, it sounds like Steve promised international movie rentals later this year (hopefully this mean Canada as well).