It seems that many people lately, from PC World to the motley group on MacBreak Weekly, feel that Apple is making a push to put iMacs in the living room. Most of them point at the fact that it is a 27 inch screen and has… gasp.. a VESA mount. Apple needs a few things to fall into place before this becomes a reality, a much improved Front Row, Blu-Ray support, Price, and Apple TV.
Everyone seems intent on making Jason Calacanis’s prediction of an Apple branded Television come true with each product release. I find it hard for someone to replace a TV in their living room with an iMac. While what I’ve seen of Front Row looks to be a clean efficient 10 foot interface, it is missing a lot of functionality compared with Windows Media Center. Sure, there are 3rd party applications to achieve this functionality but as usual no one can compete with the integration and styling of an Apple developed application. There has to be DVR functionality for the iMac to be in the living room.
Secondly comes Steve Job’s “world of hurt” that is Blu-Ray. While most of America still hasn’t made the conversion to Blu-ray as DVD is still sufficient for most, the change will come and Apple will be caught off guard. I’m sure in the depths of one infinite loop, there is Snow Leopard code with all the DRM needed built in, to be released at a moment’s notice. If one is going to purchase an expensive piece of kit for the living room I certainly would like it to play more than just Apples HD content.
Lastly, and it seems to be a mainstay of any Apple product evaluation, is price. 1700 dollars for a glorified media player is just overkill. For the price of a 27 inch iMac one can get a very large HDTV, or can get an HDTV and an Apple TV which would seem like the better buy.
I’d really like to see Apple make some sort of Apple branded television, but sadly I can’t say the 27 inch iMac is it. Hopefully a cheap TV with Apple TV hardware built into it will come to fruition. But then again I won’t hold my breath.