I believe Apple is going to get into the home media center market,
as I've stated here in the past. And this is how I think they are going
to do it. It's all centered on the long-known merchandising tactic
known as upselling.
Very simply, upselling is the offering of companion products to the
product being sold. If you're in an electronics store buying
a camera, the salesperson will also offer to sell you a carry bag, a
set of storage tapes, different lenses, etc. Or the computer
salesperson will offer to sell you speakers or a printer for your new
computer. It's not necessarily a sneaky tactic (despite what some
people argue), but it has been known to dramatically increase sales
profits and margins.
If Apple releases a Media Center device of
some sort in January as I believe they will, its centerpiece will be a
Mac mini with an iPod dock. And I believe all the components of Apple's
media center will be sold as modular units. Buying the Mac mini? Why
not buy an iPod to connect to the mini to transfer files? Or you could
also buy this add-on Airport device that'll let you stream music and
videos to your new mini...look it plugs right in this slot here, see?
You don't want all the components right now? No problem, you can buy
them later at one of our Apple Stores. Oh, and it all works with Vingle?
What's Vingle, you ask? Why, it's Apple's new video-on-demand network
that allows you to buy and view movies, tv shows, and music on this new
home entertainment media center.
I'm convinced the Mac mini is
being positioned as an Apple Media Center device. It's already got the
desirable small footprint and a DVI port for feeding video to your
television. It also has a DVD drive for playing DVD's. And don't forget
that Apple's already released software for managing media content via a
Macintosh called Front Row. All Apple has to do is offer a revised Mac
mini with an S-Video port, a digital audio out port, bundle it with
Front Row, rebrand it, and they'll sell a million of them.
Oh, and if Apple ships this revised Mac mini, it'll be in black.
Readers, what do you think? Am I completely off the mark, or do you think Apple is working on a media center as their "one-more-thing" to make waves in January?
*note: the Mac pictured above is a Macintosh TV, a short-lived LC-based Mac from 1994 with a video tuner card. Only 10,000 of these were manufactured before being discontinued.