Front Row §

I’ve done it. Front Row, the awesome “media-center-esque” software Apple has including exclusively on the newest iMac G5, is now running on my 3rd generation (1st generation G5) iMac. It is buggy, mostly because the new iMacs come with a different build of OS X 10.4 than what is available to non-new iMac G5 users. Of course, I don’t have the Apple Remote to go with it so it is sort of pointless. But it leads me to extrapolate a few things regarding the future of this.

The fact that Front Row is running on my computer (as well as many Mac minis, iBooks, etc) that it wasn’t announced for is quite telling. Jobs only announced that the software would ship with the iMac, no word on anything else. It runs quite well on many sub systems (the Mac mini has only a G4, indicating that a G5 is in no way required). I think the typical Apple strategy is at work here.

Much like the Mighty Mouse, which shipped at first as a separate product and is now shipping bundled standard with the new iMacs and PowerMacs, the same strategy is in place for Front Row. Released first as an incentive to purcahse the new iMacs for the Christmas season, for profit, then released later as a stand alone application.

But I think there’s more. Front Row will be released at Macworld 06 as a part of iLife ‘06. Not just the software, but some really cool hardware tricks will be bundled. In the box will be the standard install DVD, as well as the Apple Remote, and some crazy cool attachable IR device for the remote.

I think the IR device will be attachable to iMacs, Cinema Displays, etc. via some beautifully designed mechanism, and contain the magnet that will attach the Remote for storage. And even more, bundled with not just the new iMacs, but with every Mac mini, that will now ship with a TV tuner card standard, and a cool 180 gigs of hard drive space.

hello apple media center

This new application and pristine hardware is only the beginning of Apple’s stealthy, incremental move into the living room - the Holy Grail of the digital hub. Microsoft may have a head start here, but not for long. Apple has obtained the brand recognition in the consumer space that it needs for this jump - people think iPod they will not only think Macintosh, but Macintosh as my media hub.

So, what is it about Apple that makes such wild speculation and rumor-mongering so much fun? I think I’m right though, and I’m looking forward to January when I can actually use Front Row without bugs, and with my very own Apple Remote.

PS- I have some photos I will post later, in the meantime you can see Front Row on Apple’s Website.

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