The new design isn’t that revolutionary. It’s pretty much what we saw before, but thinner. (Just like almost everything else from Apple these days.) I showed it to my parents and they could hardly believe that “that’s the whole computer.” The ‘wow’ factor doesn’t affect me much, cause I’m the guy who walks around with a Bluetooth headset in his ear.
Having a video camera integrated with the computer makes it the stereotypical “sci fi TV.” You know the scene: Our hero walks into his cabin, pushes a button on his remote and his TV turns on and starts a video call with one of his buddies. Well, the iMac is that TV. At least it’s a step towards that.
Front Row is probably the most revolutionary feature in the new iMac. All your pictures, all your music, all your movies, and a DVD player is accessible from one little remote, with six buttons, from up to 30 feet away. And it really showcases Apple’s design philosophy. First off, things don’t have to be dragged anywhere to make them work. If a song’s in your iTunes library, it’s accessible. If a photo’s in your album, it’s accessible. If you bought or added a video to your iTunes library, it’s accessible. (They might have to rename iTunes after today.)
The iPod and iTunes
This is one of the biggest changes in the history of modern content, but not for the reason you’re thinking. Sure, being able to buy a TV show or music video or animated short to watch on your iPod is neat, but the real story here is video podcasts. If you’ve got the money for bandwidth, or Apple includes BitTorrent, you can roll your own TV show. Am I the only one who sees this? If Wil decides he wants to start acting again, he can go buy a DV camera, fire up iMovie and attach it to his RSS feed. Then someone subscribes to the feed in iTunes, and can watch it on their Mac or their iPod. No networks.
I don’t think, however, that TV show downloads will be very popular. TV shows are transitory things, even if they’re ultra popular. I’m not going to pay $1.99 for a TV show I’ll watch once. I think it would be better if you could pay $20 and get a ‘season pass’ for a show, and they’re automatically downloaded as soon as they become available. It would be cheaper than downloading things piecemeal, and people would be more willing to pay for TV that way than buying things one at a time.
It’s the “Long Tail” of the media.
So this is a pretty big development in terms.