apple

Apple TV Duo

I used to think that Apple's presumably forthcoming tablet was going to have to either shrink a MacBook or grow an iPhone. Now I think that was wrong.

Once I saw this rendering of a docking tablet, it seemed clear that I was looking from the wrong direction. They aren't just going to make a smaller laptop or a bigger iPod.

They're going to make a portable Apple TV.

Take the Apple TV, put it into an iMac frame with a 24" or 30" screen, and make the guts of it a docking tablet. Everything converges. Even better, make the frame work with or without the tablet docked in... because you'll want to use the tablet while on your couch watching the TV. Why not?

Need to do work? Plug it in and use it like an iMac. Want to watch TV? Sit back and use it like a TV. Need to hit the road? Dock/sync up and drop it in your bag. It all fits together perfectly.

We've already used our 24" iMac like a TV for the two years we've had it. Netflix, Boxee, Hulu streaming, DVDs, espn360.com and mlb.tv, and video podcasts. The 2008 Olympics with that msnbc+silverlight thingy. For us, then, this would be a natural next step. We need a new portable for one of us, anyway, and an Apple TV Duo would match our needs well, especially if the price came in at around the same price as a low-end iMac or MacBook. The pad itself doesn't even need to be that powerful.

What to call it, though? "Apple TV Duo" is clunky but recycles the "Duo" of their early docking laptop (of which I sold many during my brief days as a CompUSA salesperson). I still like "MacPad" but that presumes a shrink-the-MacBook approach. Any of iPod Mega/Maxi/Multi could work in theory, but those presume a grow-the-iPod approach.

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