Tuesday, January 09, 2007

No Disappointments So Far

At MacWorld, Apple made a few big announcements yesterday, including the highly anticipated iPhone that combines an iPod with a unique smartphone that will be available through Cingular later this year. Apple also announced AppleTV, a small device that allows users to wirelessly stream music, movies and TV shows from the iTunes library on their PC or Mac to their televisions. This device has a lot of features that will interest users, and should be a viable competitor to the Windows Media Center. Watch the Apple presentation.

Only a night earlier in Vegas, Bill Gates headlined the Microsoft keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show. Microsoft's new lineup of products including the Vista operating system, Office 2007, the Home Server and the Zune portable media player all promise to deliver users "connected experiences" in more ways than ever before. Perhaps most interestingly, Gates announced that the Xbox 360 gaming system will be able to serve as a set-top box option for IPTV providers such as AT&T by the end of the year. Xbox 360 already allows users to download movies from the Internet. It will be very interesting to watch as this develops, because it could give some service providers a new equipment option to offer to residents - offering a gaming system that doubles as a cable box would likely be particularly appealing in student housing communities, although the cost of such a service may end up being a point of contention for those residents that have already purchased their own device.

Here's a quick tour of Microsoft's latest offerings featuring Bill Gates:

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