May 8, 2002

Say Hello to iHub

I've got to hand it to Apple. They've improved iPhoto without falling backward. I just wonder where this is all going, what with all of the iApps and simplification of the operating system.

One really has to wonder if, in the future, Apple's digital hub idea is going to end up making a Mac a super-appliance while sacrificing the traditional empowerment one has oer their system. This has always been a complaint of PC and UNIX people, that Mac keeps the user well away from tweaking the system, and it looks to be coming true.

Imagine a Mac that you boot up into one giant panel — think Mac OS 9's Panel/At Ease interface. On this panel one would have options to browse the web, edit a movie, play music, burn a CD, chat, alter photos, etc. All good things, to be sure, and all things we can do now. But imagine this being it! The Mac would not allow installation of programs, or moving or deleting files. It would be a de facto all-in-one box, a dumbed-down PC that only allowe the user to work on projects and not really interact with the file system in any meaningful way.

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the iHub. A connectivity and productivity kiosk that foregoes the overly-complex features of a regular PC. All the software you'll ever need comes pre-installed, updates to applications happen in the background without need for user intervention, and file management ends at the open/save dialog box. A built-in resource use analyzer alerts the user when they might want to clean up the hard drive (a single button does so, invoking a wizard that walks asks the user what to clean up), add more RAM (time to add memory! Please take your iHub to a local Apple-certified dealer), or a myriad of other tasks which most users ignore under the current user-driven OS interfaces of today.

I'd think long and hard about Apple's directions toward the digital hub. iChat, iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto, might all be the value-added end of a Mac now, but eventually they will be the only thing running on the Mac besides the OS.

Say goodbye to Mac OS and say hello to iHub.

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