Apple to Take Over Our Homes In 2006

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Apple is poised to work its way into our personal lives in 2006, from our entertainment centers, living rooms and kitchens, all the way to our bedrooms and bathrooms, according to Bambi Franciscois predictions for MarketWatch. She also predicts that Apple will release an updated video capable iPod in the first quarter, and that CBS and News Corp will join the growing list of video content providers at the iTunes Music Store.

Apple has been proving itself as a media powerhouse over the last year. It is already the Number 7 music retailer, according to NDP, which is an impressive feat for a computer manufacturer. Appleis popularity is showing in other areas, too. According to Nielsen/NetRatings, it is the fastest growing Web property.

The current rumors have Apple announcing digital home media centers, new content subscription services, PDAis, cell phones, and more in 2006. In reality, only Steve Jobs knows whatis really coming our way, and heill tell when heis good and ready.

What we can deduce, however, based on what Apple has already shown us, is that it is well positioned to take over our home media experience. Several pieces are already in place, like iTunes and the iTunes Music Store, for purchasing and playing our music and TV shows. Airport Express lets you stream your music from iTunes to your home stereo. Front Row and the new iMac with remote control make it easy to listen to music, watch movies and photographs, and view Internet-streamed movie trailers from your couch, and the video capable iPod lets you take your digital media with you where ever you go.

The next step is to bring the pieces together with typical Apple flair, and its collaboration with Intel may be a big part of that. Intelis new Viiv chip set is designed to make it easier to manage music, video, and photo libraries, and includes the tools to handle the Digital Rights Management that the big studios demand. Appleis announced switch to Intel processors for upcoming Macs will make it even easier to integrate Viiv into new home theater-focused Macs.

With Macworld Expo on a couple of weeks away, we may get some of our answers soon. On the other hand, we have a whole year ahead of us thatis ripe for surprise Apple announcements.

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