Apple's Slow Path Towards the Ultimate Home Media Server

Apple's Slow Path Towards the Ultimate Home Media Server

Anthony Nguyen
Sep 10, 2009

Even with all the new Apple gadget and OS upgrades released recently, we couldn't help but wonder where all of the home focus has gone. Surely, we can't be all portability maniacs playing around with augmented reality all day, right? So, while it's a highly opinionated piece that follows this introduction, we ask all of you to pitch in your two cents and let us know whether or not you would like to see an Apple Home Server with the ability to stream local media wirelessly to you anywhere in the world.

Our premise starts with this; Apple's recent introduction of the Home Sharing feature within iTunes, which allows easy media sharing between (we assume) any Mac or PC on a home network (up to 5 computers). Assuming this goes according as planned, we essentially should be able to finally stream movies onto our Apple TV and music onto our laptops without the need of ever having to plug in another external hard drive to transfer files directly.

So our question is, "Why stop there?" Why not go the Spotify route and free your media from local constraints, giving it the capability to be readily accessible from any location in the world as long as you have an Internet connection? Sure, there are third party software solutions that exist today to implement such intricate demands, but their processes are often so convoluted and full of bugs that we often don't even bother. Compared to the feature sets as an in-house produced and implemented Apple design, there should be no denying which would be deemed more appealing.

Hence, we must emphasize that there truly is a demand out there for such a device. We need something that's more than Time Machine - a device that can back up automatically as well as synchronize across different networks, securely and effectively, even when we're not home. We need more than an Apple TV, since its stripped functionality has always left us yearning for that customizable Mac Mini, our loving media box (which we've upgraded again and again).

Now, say you were to combine the two devices and turn it into something that appears to be completely new, but still features much of the same capabilities, with a few tricks up its sleeve. Let's call it the "Apple Home Media Server," a single box that backs up all your files from all your computers, streams media across both local and outside (via the cloud) networks, and also acts as your central internet hub in your home. Some may argue this obliterates Apple's iTunes business model and iPod's functionality as portable media storage devices, but we beg to differ. The only differences one gets with these changes more are convenience for the consumer, less clutter in the home space, and a much better business model in the long run. People tend to invest more into something that's reasonably priced, but more importantly, something they feel has great value and longevity.

If there is a time to refresh Apple's line of home consumer devices, that time is now. We just hope Apple acts on that instinct instead of releasing another... well, I think we can do much better than Nano cameras, don't you?

Agree or disagree with this article? Let us know below!

[Image by niallkennedy as licensed by CC]

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