In the past I've pondered that I wished Apple would release an "iServe." My opinion hasn't changed, even with the impending release of iCloud.
For example, the iPad is a great device, but even the upper end only has 64GB of internal storage. A home server would provide a way for keeping family media assets managed and available.
There are home server choices for the Mac, but all of them could be bettered by an Apple product. The Apple server could also be the next step to venture into another market, home control. For example, if Apple would offer a home climate control to your home server, you or the server could change the temperature in your home from a distance or in accordance with your iCal schedule.
An Apple home server could be a great companion for Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads and other Apple devices. Heck, put it under the Apple TV division and let's move beyond the "hobby" category. In fact, an iServe would fit in nicely if the rumors are correct and Apple makes its own brand of HDTVs in 2012.
We have lots of desktops and laptops. We also have an exploding number of computing devices (pervasive devices). We have a lot of servers targeted for the business. We have computers trying to own the living room. What we still don't have is an truly user-friendly home server solution. Apple is in the perfect position to create one and create a market and then own that market.
Jobs & Company have the hardware. They have the basis for the software. What they don't have is a home server software solution. Computing devices in homes have an opportunity for an unprecedented amount of connectivity. For that connectivity to be useful, there needs to be a central management system -- the iServe.
Said server would assist in collecting and managing all the data from all the various devices that enter the home. That could mean monitoring RFID tags in the pantry and refrigerator in order to tell the home owner if that recipe that they just selected for tonight is possible with the ingredients in the home. Telling all the MP3 players in the house owned by the teenagers to shut down at a specific time. Or any number of huge things.
It could also be the gatekeeper for communications (much of it automated) that attempts to come into the home. It could monitor power usage as reported by the power company and compare it to what is expected then alert you for deviations. It could do a huge number of things. The possibilities are endless.
Then, of course, there's the iTunes/iLife connection. iMovie projects devour hard disk space on your Macs. iPods, iPhones and the iTunes Music Store have been around long enough that some folks music library fills half their hard drive or more.'
Apple is firing on all cylinders and, more than any other tech company, is in a position to capitalize on the changes in technology in the months and years ago. Let's hope an iServe is in their plans.
-- Dennis Sellers