Five years from now, with Apple aiming to become the center of the digital home, users may expect to see a number of key products and services designed to connect PCs and digital content to HDTV stereo audiovisual networks, according to "The Future of Apple" report, released by Forrester Research on Thursday.
Currently, audiovisual equipment "and IT aren't actually connected together in most homes. A few bridge products exist...Apple's own Airport Express and Apple TV are designed to bridge this gap," according to the Forrester report. "Nevertheless, the AV/IT divide remains for video, music, and photos in most homes, and a clear consumer need remains for an industry player."
Forrester predicts that Apple will step into this 2013 future with five key products that will serve as its foundation to be the digital-home hub:
- As would be expected, the Macintosh will likely be sprinkled throughout the home.
- A home server product would act as the digital hub-and-spoke ecosystem to push video streams, music, and photos throughout the home.
- An AppleSound universal music controller could serve as a standalone iPod, and as a music and video controller, via dedicated home stereo amplifiers. And, of course, it would feature a touch screen and Internet connection, with access to Apple's home server. This device would, in essence, become a remote control, a mobile Internet device, and a gateway to a unified digital home AV/IT system.
- Network-enabled "clock radio" and digital-photo frames would aim to be spread throughout the house, offering something like Bose-quality speakers and HD-quality 9-inch screens. These little devices would pump out music, video, and, as one would expect, digital photos throughout the house.
- Lastly, there would be an Apple TV media extender. Apple TV may morph to feature such goodies as a long-rumored integration of a Blu-ray player, an integrated DVR, and a possible joint venture set-top box, the report surmises.
So as Forrester looks five years out, Apple's house will become more than a home.