Hot on the heels of my last rumination on the subject, the (so-called) rumors start flying about the next Mac mini release being A/V-oriented as something of an Apple PVR/media center device. TUAW and Gizmodo both follow-up on the ThinkSecret post that highlights the “Kaleidoscope” Mac mini as scheduled for release come MacWorld in January.
As some TUAW readers have commented, this doesn’t really seem like much of a rumor. The Mac mini always seemed oriented at/toward “living room integration”; one individual remarked that one merely need look at the number of AV accessories that are available for the mini to get a sense of what’s in store there. The other “ho-hum” comment had to do with the supposition that it would ship with an Intel chip inside. No surprise, since Apple had already said that the “lower end” models would be the first ones to get it. (Recent revisions to the PowerMac and Powerbook lines only lean in the direction of confirming this.)
The interesting questions are indeed re: How do they plan to handle different broadcast formats? HD support? How will they manage iTunes video downloads w/r/t/ sharing and on-TV-display? A new remote for FrontRow that takes DVR abilities into account? Why not a Bluetooth remote? Are they taking on TiVo or is this just a “me too!” proof-of-concept thing? Switch to 3.5″ drives or stick with 2.5″?
It’s going to be interesting to see what they turn out, no matter what it is. My guess: It’ll be slick and will kick some ass in the Media Center department re: music and DVD-playback – – but the DVR part will under-perform (it’ll be cool but will feel like it’s missing something).