In other news, Apple released their "Intel Inside" Mac Mini today. While not a big deal by itself (though it is 5 times faster than the pervious version), it's the software inside that will potentially change the world of digital content.
Above, you're looking at screenshot of Apple's Bonjour management system all hooked up through Front Row (now, for the first time, on the Mac Mini). Front Row is, basically, a KISS program that lets your select music, movies or photos all from the comfort of your couch. Apple includes a little remote that makes it all way too easy. Just select "iTunes" and you're playing music. Any TV shows you've downloaded from iTunes, it's all there.
Really, the new Mac Mini is the media PC everyone has been trying to market and Microsoft, with their Media Center, has been trying to shill, unsuccessfully. Apple, with practically no fanfare (which is really bizarre for Steve Jobs), has just hit a home run. While this isn't the accepted outcome (yet), Apple's future dominance of the digital living room is something I'll stake my blogging fortune on. They already control the music, TV and, soon, movies downloaded over the internet. Now they have the hardware to get it onto your TV and sound system.
However, probably one of the most interesting aspects of the new system with Front Row is the Bonjour software. While not new, the implementation is revolutionary. Bonjour is simply a inter-computer interface, letting your various Macs talk to each other and act as one:
Let Mac mini and Front Row entertain you by playing songs, slideshows, and videos from other computers in the house. Buy new music in the kitchen, play it in your living room. Mac mini automatically finds networked computers under your roof — whether they be wireless or wired. Sounds like magic, but it’s just the Bonjour instant networking technology built into every Mac.
The idea is you buy a $599 Mac Mini, hook it up to the TV/hi-fi system and you have one giant commune of music, pictures and movies. Karl Marx would be proud.
Naturally, with a USB DAC, this can be one killer little system. The Mac Mini already has optical out but, for those who are new here, optical is the worst digital transfer available while USB is shaping up to be the best. The big question is, of course, how do we pitch this as a legitimate high-performance front end and convince all the Apple buyers to purchase wicked audio rigs. Anyone? Anyone?