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Monday, October 25, 2010

Why the new MacBook Air makes the need for the iLife Home Server even greater...

OK, so we didn't get an iLife Home Server product announcement last week...  What we did get was the MacBook Air, which is the future of notebook computers, and I contend, the future of the Mac platform in general and even greater justification for the iLife Home Server.

As the Macintosh and iOS devices start to converge, and everything moves toward flash based storage, the need for a single place to store all of your files (documents, photos, music, videos...) becomes more obvious.  Storing everything in "the cloud" (or as Apple may see it, in a huge data center in North Carolina) may be a good ultimate end goal, but the internet infrastructure just isn't there yet.  Why should I be shackled by slow internet speeds when accessing my data from the various devices I am using around my home?  What if my internet service goes down just when I need access to an important document?  If all of my files are stored on my Home Server device, I am not bound by my internet connection.  Apple has been doing a good job of isolating the file system from the users, and for good reason.  Most users don't really care where their files are stored, as long they there when they need them.

Imagine if you will... a little white box with an Apple logo on the top and a couple of terabyte hard drives inside, that all I have to do is plug it into my network and tell all of my Macs and iDevices, this is my primary storage location.  All of my files will be stored here and then synced to the cloud and/or my individual devices for use when I am away from my network, without any interaction by me.   When I am not at home, but I want play a song, my iPod knows whether that song has been synced locally, or needs to be streamed from the cloud.  If I need to edit a document on my MacBook Air, it knows if that file has been synced or if it needs to retrieve it from the cloud.  If I want to watch a video on my iPad, well, you get the picture... 

The OS on my device would control what files are kept locally, similar to the way a DVR manages its drive space.  New files are stored locally and synced back to the server, as files age, they are automatically archived and kept only on the server until you need them again.  There would also be a way to mark items that you always want to have available on your device similar to the way iTunes manages your iDevices now.  Using a MobileMe account, you could also choose to store some things in the cloud for access when you are away from home, or technology like Back to my Mac could be used to access your server directly from anywhere you have access to the internet.

This could be the future of computing.  Who needs a desktop computer with everything stored on it, that you leave on all of the time so that you can access your media?  With an iLife Home Server and a number of different iDevices, you can access your media where ever you are, with the device that is most appropriate at that moment in time.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! The server software is the important here. I want an iPhoto and iTunes server so I don't have to sync media across multiple machines and user accounts. iCal is just now starting to handle this very well.

    Server-aware iPhoto and iTunes could let me connect and view media while connected to the network, and it could let me cache it so I can go somewhere with my MacBook without having to worry about an Internet connection. And if I make changes to the media, it could sync back with the server the next time I connect.