Is a stereovision Mac in our future?
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Is a stereovision Mac in our future?

Somewhere down the road we're going to see some revolutionary Macs. In the near future they'll have USB 3.0 support and (please, Steve) Blu-ray playback support. And who knows? This Mac might be one of the first stereovision personal computers.

Jon Peddie Research (http://www.jonpeddie.com), a research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, has just completed an in-depth look at the emerging Stereo 3D (S3D) computer market. (S3D involves playing back 3D images.) The report finds that the S3D market is poised for rapid growth in the immediate future. Close to one million dedicated S3D computers will ship in 2010. That number will grow to 75 million by 2014 as S3D becomes ubiquitous.

Although most computers will be S3D capable due to the GPUs that are in them, not all will be S3D computers because they need a special monitor, glasses, and appropriate content. However, S3D computers will be very attractive to several important market segments, according to the folks at JPR. The research group expects to see S3D PCs achieve a much higher growth rate than their more traditional counterparts and, of course, they will have a higher ASP (that's average selling price -- and Apple sorta likes that). A S3D iMac sounds mighty appealing.

On the other hand, those 3D glasses are sorta clunky -- and Steve Jobs doesn't like clunky. So it may be that we won't get a stereovision Mac until glasses-free 3D monitors are ready. That will probably be another five years or so.

JPR’s report says there are seven major applications that will take advantage of S3D on the computer: games, Blu-ray movies, streaming TV (IP TV), photo editing, home video editing, streaming video (from YouTube and other sites) and professional graphics (CAD and visualization. All these are areas of interest to Apple (well, except for, apparently, Blu-ray). The expected growth rate of revenue in the hardware and content markets is very promising. JPR forecasts $34 billion by 2014.

"Gaming will be the vehicle for kick-starting the S3D personal computer market," says Jon Peddie. "The gaming segment has the largest inventory of content and the most vocal enthusiasts who will spread the word and show their friends and families what it looks like and what it can do. They will ignite the imagination of the non-gamers. However, our forecast is that the S3D market will soar within the next three years based on the expectation that good quality content will be produced, and the incremental cost for S3D will diminish, if not disappear. Otherwise history will repeat itself and it will be reduced to a small volume novelty market."

-- Dennis Sellers

 
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