Is Apple Developing a DVR?

Think Secret – Road to Expo: Reborn Mac mini set to take over the living room Thinksecret is out with a post today citing unnamed sources on Kaleidoscope, the code name for a new Mac Mini project that will include an Intel processor, Front Row 2.0 and “TiVo-like DVR functionality.”

From Thinksecret: “Specifics surrounding Front Row 2.0 and Apple’s DVR application are limited at this point, although sources with knowledge of the project have dubbed the latter a “TiVo-killer.” The moniker might not be without some bias, however, as sources report that talks of an Apple-TiVo deal recently fizzled, prompting TiVo to independently announce this month that it will soon offer customers the ability to copy stored content to a video iPod.”

I was very critical of Front Row when it was first launched without a PVR and view this as a substantial limitation to the product at present. Also it would seem that an Apple based Media Center type machine would be better suited for the Mac Mini than the iMac with it’s less than optimal living room viewing screen.

Ironically, Steve Jobs has been publically somewhat negative on using a computer as a PVR in the past:

From News.com in November 2003: “Jobs said there are several problems with the Media Center concept, in particular the wide divergence in the way people want to watch television as compared with how they use a computer. “Generally what they want to view on television has to do with turning their mind off,” he said.

Jobs said that video recording is processor intensive and is best left to a device that is not doing other things such as playing games or running spreadsheets. “When I want to record ‘The West Wing,’ I want to make damn sure it records ‘The West Wing,’” he said.”

Perhaps Jobs objections back then were more because of the fact that Microsoft had a Media Center PC and they didn’t. If in fact Apple unveils a DVR as part of their Front Row platform I’d expect him to change his tune.

Update: JupiterMedia Analyst Michael Gartenberg adds his thoughts: “While I won’t comment on how likely this rumor is, I will comment that if Apple does introduce this machine in January, it will be a huge success. This is exactly the type of media hub that could gain the acceptance of the mass market. It’s interesting to speculate how the press would cover the introduction of a machine like this. I suspect they would totally igonre the MCE story that’s been on the market for all these years.”