January 14, 2004
iServe pieces continue to fall into placeBetween Macworld, CES, and the efforts of the open-source community, we continue to move closer to the day when we'll all have an iServe in every pot.
- New or recent releases that help:
- Ovolab's Phlink is an answering machine for your Mac with full programmability -- you can get an e-mail with the message anytime someone leaves you a message, or give everyone in your house their own PIN code, with calls being routed by PIN code.
- Perceptive Automation's Indigo interfaces with X10 home automation equipment.
- There's a detailed writeup on using a Linux box as an iTunes server, complete with Rendezvous support.
- There's also TunesAtWork, a Java streaming server you can run on a machine at home that provides a web interface to your iTunes library.
- Finally, on the client side, ElGato has introduced their new EyeHome, which brings your computer's music, photos, movies, and internet bookmarks into the living room, showing them on your TV, and playing them through your stereo.
I notice that this week, I can walk into CompUSA and plop down $99.99 and walk out with a 200-gigabyte drive (after a $70 mail-in rebate). Imagine the price a big manufacturer like Apple would get.
November 10, 2002
Xserve minus = iServe
Update: Since Apple still hasn't introduced an iServe, I expanded on the idea in September 2003. Click here to see that post.
The Xserve has been available for almost a year now, and it's gotten good reviews as a workgroup server, with simple administration, good price-performance ratio, and terrific performance on AltiVec-friendly processes like Genentech's BLAST. They're likely due for a freshening, now that the top-of-the-line Power Macs have faster processors and the early adopters have all bought theirs.
The lowest-cost Xserves go for $2,999, and they're the first Apple machine to adhere to data-center standards for rackmounting, like all the competitive servers.
Apple has built an interesting product line, where you can (or have to) choose between the consumer models -- the iMacs and iBooks -- and the pro lines -- PowerMacs and PowerBooks. Why not extend that model to the Xserve, introducing a consumer-oriented iServe?
More and more homes have multiple machines and a home network. Just about all of those have issues sharing resources, whether that's just a printer, an MP3 library, digital photos saved on multiple machines, or a family web server that gets content from multiple machines. Why not introduce a product, the iServe, that could bring all those resources together?
Such a product would bring the server to the consumer market, and could naturally be the mail server, backup server, firewall, file and print server, and web and domain server for a household. Throw in an easy-to-use web filtering package to do net nanny duties, and parents would line up.
Depending on the price target, this could take the form of anything from a network-attached-storage (NAS) box, with very little processing power (with a 100 Gb drive for $499), to a fast G3 in a small form factor case (Cube, anyone?) with a minimal video card for $999. These are products that would appeal to the Apple faithful, but also to switchers, who presumably still have the PC around somewhere, and could use a server to facilitate data and resource sharing.
Of course, you can run most of the software that would make the iServe special on a PowerMac, but I think a lot of people would rather centralize shared information, and the iServe would also attract education and small business customers who might be put off by the Xserve's price and who don't have 19-inch racks in which to mount one. In my house, I use a Linux box in a similar role (it's serving you this page), partly because the nicest Mac in the house is a PowerBook, so it isn't always available.
To make this a total home run, include TiVo-like functionality, allowing the server to capture TV and stream it on demand to clients anywhere on the network.
August 31, 2002
Xserve story at InfoWorld
Apple is picking up some new resellers, and seeing improvements in Xserve sales, at least according to some of the article's sources.
June 26, 2002
Xinet publishes pre-press software and a Unix implementation of AppleShare. They've just published the first benchmarks of the Xserve that I've seen, though they only benchmarked it running their software...