Apple's Next Product

July 23, 2004

This week, Apple started shipping Airport Express, a compact WiFi base station which enables iTunes to wirelessly stream music to a stereo. Airport Express

The NY Times' David Pogue lauds the Airport Express, Apple's Pocket-Size Base Station. Ars Technica comprehensively reviews the Airport Express and concludes that "the Express is more than just the sum of its parts." WSJ Personal Technology columnist Walt Mossberg considers the lack of a remote control to be "just unacceptable in a device of this kind," AirPort Express Does What Apple Claims, But It Still Falls Short.

Ernie offers two solutions: 'Dude, get a laptop with built-in Wi-Fi,' or use Sailing Clicker with your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.

Sailing Clicker is a tremendously cool application ("this is so cool!"), but extremely limited by the fact that it relies on Bluetooth. Bluetooth does not have even enough range to reach across the small space of World HQ and will not be useful for someone whose computer is in a different room from the Airport Express and stereo.

Apple's next wireless product should be a WiFi remote control. Think an iPod/mini, but with WiFi instead of a hard drive: it can be used to control iTunes from anywhere on the network. Using the familiar iPod interface, the display would be able to show song info, browse the iTunes library, create playlists, and address all of the shortcomings of the Airport Express as a music player. Unlike a bluetooth or infrared remote, a WiFi remote control would not only have a much greater range, but could work with the existing Airport hardware and not require an additional receiver.

Posted by Andrew Raff at July 23, 2004 12:04 PM
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