New York Times Probes Idea of "Mac TV"

The New York Times has published an article by long-time Apple reporter John Markoff that asks if Apple is considering a "Mac TV," a device Apple would position as a set top media management box. Centered around a wrap up of Appleis announcement last week at Macworld Expo, Mr. Markoff speculates on Appleis possible plans, and looks at the way Steve Jobs answered the question in an interview.

Mr. Markoff starts off by looking at Appleis newly announced Mac mini, a US$499 headless Mac Apple announced last Wednesday at Macworld. Pointing out that the mini is aimed at potential Switchers, he said, "that did not stop speculation that, with a minimum of modification, the Mac Mini would make a compelling interactive television set-top box, placing Apple squarely in competition with TiVo and Windows Media Center from Microsoft."

Using third party products like Elgatois EyeTV, a combination of hard and software that can record and playback TV signals, any Mac can be made into a TV Digital Video Recorder. Appleis own iTunes and AirPort Express, or Griffin Technologyis PowerWave, further enable a Mac to manage and playback music through a home entertainment system.

A "Mac TV," or so goes traditional speculation on the subject, would be able to do all of these things out of the box, with the possible addition of being able to play and manage movies.

Appleis long-standing policy is to not comment or offer any information on unannounced products, and the company recently launched three lawsuits against people accused of trading software or publishing what it calls trade secrets.

Mr. Markoff, however, closed his piece with an examination of what Apple CEO Steve Jobs himself had to say.

"In an interview after his presentation," wrote Mr. Markoff, "Mr. Jobs demurred. The problem, he suggested, was not that Mac TV was not a good idea, but that the cable companies are monopolies. But he did not close the door entirely."

You can find the full article at the New York Timesis Web site.