Sunday, 16 March 2008

Apple iServe with iTunes Server [Mockup]

Earlier this month, at Apple’s annual shareholder meeting, Steve Jobs was asked about the possibility of an “XServe Mini” to bring Leopard Server-style services to consumers at an affordable price. AppleInsider reported that “Jobs seemed like he wanted to say something, but then punctuated the awkward silence with the typical refrain of not being able to say anything.” Why did Jobs hesitate? Perhaps because he had just such a product in mind.

For what it’s worth – here’s what MacPredictions thinks that it might be (all speculation, as usual, no inside sources).

As consumers are buying more and more content from the iTunes Store, storage is becoming an increasing issue. Put simply, sooner or later your Mac or PC will run out of disk space. And this problem is only going to get worse as consumers increasingly switch to HD content. A home server is the obvious solution, but there are some problems to address:
  • It needs to be easy to setup and administrate
  • It needs to be extendable – consumers storage requirements will continue to grow
  • It needs to be resilient
  • It needs to be affordable

The solution that MacPredictions envisages combines several products:
  • AirPort Wireless Base Station
  • Apple TV
  • Time Capsule
So it would sit in your living room, under your TV, it would store all of your iTunes purchases, so you can watch or listen to all your content on your home entertainment system. It would provide a simple backup solution for all the Leopard-based Macs on your network. And it would serve internet access wirelessly to the entire household.

The final component would be a new software tool – iTunes Server, that would automatically sync content purchased from iTunes onto the server, and it would serve iTunes content seamlessly to all authorised clients on the network, as if the content was stored locally. It would enable the user to set rules to determine which content is synced to which clients, and it may even provide the ability to remotely manage Macs – so for example, parents could set the parental controls for their kid’s Mac.

The server would offer some RAID options, with the ability to dynamically add addition capacity to a single logical volume, with a neat hardware enclosure design enabling drives to be stacked in a tower configuration, without any hassle with cables.


  1. I have a similar setup that I've made by hooking up a 2TB hard drive to my airport extreme. I put my itunes on my wireless hard drive and I can stream straight to my apple TV. It works great without any lag because of the 802.11n networking. Same effect just requires a little more work... but now I basically have a 2TB TV.

  2. If Apple would drop the passcode necessary for AppleTV, then a DroboShare would do all of that.