The iMac announcement yesterday has me intrigued (yes, the pissed-off feeling has abated). All of a sudden, it seems that the iMac is being positioned for a stab at the media centre market. There has been wild speculation about what Apple’s plans for the living room computer market might be. I think now we might be seeing the start of a push into that area.

A 2005 Widescreen iMac has a big screen. Not quite big enough for [most] living rooms, but close. It’s big enough for most “dens” I’d say. It has everything built in to the screen, so fewer are extra boxes needed. It does three of the four basic requirements for a media centre: music, movies (both DVD and downloaded/ripped) and pictures all tied together in the new Front Row software and accessible from your sofa via IR remote control. The only thing missing is [a native solution for] connecting live TV. Sure you can download yesterday’s TV abc programming via iTunes, but who wants to watch yesterday’s shows all your friends/colleagues were talking about this morning?

So the current iMac isn’t quite there as a media centre solution, but it’s close. If Apple were to, say, release an iMac based on the 30” Cinema display (or even larger), with some sort of TV-in and PVR capabilities, and they could own the media centre market much like the iPod owns the portable music player space. Why have another box under your screen for your media centre, when it could be built in to the screen?

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