As summer turns to fall and the phosphor-lit leaves of the current stand of next-gen consoles begin to turn decidedly "ËœThis Gen,' we already know that the scramble by Microsoft and Sony to put a digital Trojan horse into every living room in America has evolved into the greatest business story that never happened.
Microsoft had to redouble efforts to cover a weak 360 launch that saw the debut of the sweetest-$400-casual-game-platform-of-all-time rather than the Sony-killing muscle machine for which the geeks in Redmond had been bucking. And while PS3 delays, some deft management, and an impressive roster of upcoming releases looks to put the big green X back on track, the Microsoft army is still massing its troops.
For its part, Sony has clearly given up altogether on the idea of the PS3 as Trojan horse. Instead, it's switched strats and gone into Blu-ray battering-ram mode. In both cases, these companies have shrieked so loudly and so long about their plans to capture the Holy Grail of Digital Convergence that pretty soon people are going to start lobbing cattle at them.
Maybe, then, Nintendo really got it right when it started dressing up the DS like an iPod.
Maybe the advent of iGames, the introduction of iTV, and the application for a patent covering handhelds with more than one touch-sensitive region are really the sawing sounds of building a new"&brkbar; Trojan"&brkbar; Apple.
According to Disney chief Bob Iger, the iTV wireless streaming media device will have a hard drive. He recently said 'It's a small box about the size of a novel, and not War and Peace, by the way. It plugs into the television like any other peripheral would, like a DVD device. It's wireless. It detects the presence of computers in your home; in a very simple way you designate the computer you want to feed it and it wirelessly feeds whatever you downloaded on iTunes which include videos, TV, music videos, movies or your entire iTunes music library to your television set.'
A plausible argument by Roughly Drafted's Daniel Eran has the iTV being held just long enough for Apple to introduce 802.11n, which would allow 200 Mbit connections to an access point, nearly 10 times the a/g variety and more than enough to stream DVD-quality content wirelessly from a Mac (and possibly a PC). That would help explain the inclusion of an HDMI connection on Apple's new device. As Eran points out, you don't need an HDMI connection if you are simply streaming downloadable 640X480 content.
Some have speculated that the iTV may also be destined to get one of Intel's Conroe-L processors, which it would need to process the HD content Apple eventually wants to sell over iTunes. Further, according to some, it's very possible video card drivers could be written so that graphic output data could be sent to a network port instead of the monitor connected to the card. That opens the possibility of using iTV and a wireless controller to remotely play Mac/PC games (*cough* WoW *cough*) in your living room.