Mac Lab Report

Expanding the Digital Hub with a Video iPod, Video iPhone

- 2004.06.04

It's a good first step, Apple. Photos from iPhoto can be integrated into iMovie. Music from iTunes can be background music for iPhoto slide shows. iMovies can be used with iDVD.

We all know the point of iLife and digital integration. So what's next?

Here are a few suggestions for Apple.

Video iPods: You may not want to watch a theatrical movie on a tiny screen, but there may be a market for people wanting to show off their own creations. Nevertheless, the solution is simple: Provide a video-out port on the iPod so you can use it to watch movies on anything via a variety of devices (using a series of adapters available at a charge of maybe $39.95 each, of course). iMovie should export directly to the iPod.

Speaking of video integration, given the ability above, why not let the iSight feed directly to the iPod for portable recording? With a properly designed clip, you could create a video camera with hours of recording time.

While we're at it, why don't we upgrade AppleWorks with three strategic features:

  1. Set a switch to allow one to always save in Microsoft Word format (we're still spreading memos about Save As... for people who like AppleWorks).
  2. Enhance the drawing capabilities and file access to follow the precedents set in the other iApps.
  3. Add a rudimentary animation function to open up yet another part of the digital creation process to users.

Here's an idea: sell an Apple-branded videophone designed to connect using the Internet and consisting of a simplified motherboard, ethernet port, iSight camera, and a FireWire port so you can use it with a Mac to record your calls, transmit iMovies, and send other digital creations back home to the family on the other coast.

It would be expensive, but imagine jump starting the videophone market the same way the music player market has been fired up by the iPod. Call it an iPhone.

Whatever Apple has planned, it'll be interesting to see how it all turns out.

What are your ideas for digital integration's next step? Drop me a note, and I'll collect the good ones for a follow up column.

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is a longtime Mac user. He was using digital sensors on Apple II computers in the 1980's and has networked computers in his classroom since before the internet existed. In 2006 he was selected at the California Computer Using Educator's teacher of the year. His students have used NASA space probes and regularly participate in piloting new materials for NASA. He is the author of two books and numerous articles and scientific papers. He currently teaches astronomy and physics in California, where he lives with his twin sons, Jony and Ben.< And there's still a Mac G3 in his classroom which finds occasional use.

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