FrontRow a no go on Pro?

Written by: Adam Christianson

Categories: Editorial

No PopcornI am not really sure how I missed this one, but I guess (like many others) I was so blown away by the awesome specifications of the new Mac Pro that I didn’t notice an interesting omission. Now I need to give credit where it is due, because it was listener Scott who actually brought this to my attention, “Despite the great configurability of the new MacPro, did you notice you can’t add a remote control?… “The addition of FrontRow (also missing from the specs) with a remote would have been so nice!”

Ah ha, you see it now too. I guess Apple feels their Pro customers are too busy working to enjoy a little media experience on their Macs?

Now I am sure that to some people who purchase a new Mac Pro this may not be a big deal, but for other customers like Scott it does obviously matter. I think I tend to be in agreement with Scott on this one. The Mac Pro could really serve double duty as a nice secondary home entertainment device. It could be ideal our secondary forms of entertainment like IPTV, video podcasts and iTunes TV downloads. Note that Apple dropped prices on their Cinema displays and many of those buying Mac Pros will also pick up a 23″ or 30″ HD display. Wouldn’t that make a Mac Pro an awesome, and easy, way to add a media center to a spare room or den in your home? We all know that OS 10.5 will have FrontRow built in, so part of this omission will be solved then, but it doesn’t ship until Spring 2007.

There is no doubt that the Mac Pro is the king ca-macho macho of all Mac-dom, but there does seem to be a couple of niceties (FrontRow, Apple Remote, built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) Apple has decided to reserve for it consumer customers. I would expect things to change when Apple releases Leopard with FrontRow in the Spring, but I guess for now Pro users will still need to rely on the great 3rd party solutions like Media Central to get their Mac media center fix.

There are 21 comments on FrontRow a no go on Pro?:

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  1. Mike Talmadge | Aug 10 2006 - 11:21

    How about photo booth too? And does the mac mini have photo booth?

  2. rick | Aug 10 2006 - 12:25

    Front Row is mostly a function of the software, so the only thing Apple (or a third-party company) needs to do is to produce an USB infrared sensor. That’s all.

  3. Joe | Aug 10 2006 - 01:37

    In the keynote Jobs said that Frontrow would be included with all versions of Leopard.

  4. dherd | Aug 10 2006 - 01:52

    You can also control Frontrow via Bluetooth or Wifi from a PDA or cellphone using SallingClicker. There are many other ‘pro’ remote solutions you can buy as well.

  5. Cameron | Aug 10 2006 - 01:27

    I believe that Bonix has added remote control functionality to its iStop Motion product. If other developers see potential in the remote control then Apple should think seriously about including it across the board.

  6. Neil Anderson | Aug 10 2006 - 06:41

    I don’t see Photo Booth on my newly arrived Intel Mac mini.

  7. Jeffsters | Aug 10 2006 - 07:17

    It doesn’t matter if Front Row is installed as part of Leopard if the Mac Pro has no infrared. This means, as has already been pointed out, a 3rd party opportunity IF able to fully access Apple Remote’s functionality. On the other hand, since it would seem that this is the ONLY shipping Mac lacking an infrared port there may not be a big enough market in the long term. Why the MacBook Pro has infrared and this does not escapes me personally. Poor oversight.

  8. C Sporn | Aug 10 2006 - 08:41
  9. Constantinos Kouloumbris | Aug 10 2006 - 10:15

    How about, shipping a remote control and a usb IR Sensor with every copy of Leopard….

  10. Dram_man | Aug 10 2006 - 10:43

    For what its worth, I see a hole in the line up (or rather future line up if you stretch out trends).

    Perhaps the mac pro will eventual come as a mega-media center type edition. All those tetrabytes will be needed when iTunes starts selling movies.

  11. maccast | Aug 11 2006 - 12:48

    As far as the Mac Pro not having infrared… I assumed that since Leopard is not out until 2007 that the Mac Pro would be revved by then and if FrontRow was added it would get IR.

  12. dinobot | Aug 11 2006 - 02:57

    MMM. I felt when Sir Steve said that Leopard is the going to be the “Complete
    Package”, PPC, Intel. That there is going to be an Apple product
    for front row. EG, USB remote. Type product.
    I have feeling that this product is part of the future of Apple media centre
    Direction. It makes perfect sense; Films Albums and most creative forms of entertainment are made on Mac. (To give credit PC’S producers do make great games) Made on Mac, enjoyed on Mac

    I’m sure Adam, Apple or Steve is listening, your show and community is living Apple Spirit.

  13. lars | Aug 11 2006 - 03:09

    I was wandering about the remote thing, but again the macpro it made in metal gray thing I guess it is aluminium or something and the remote are white, does it match? I am also wandering about no inbuilt camera in the cinema displays since a camera are build into the MacBook pro.

    it is the same with keyboard a and mice, why haven’t they designed a keyboard that actually matches in material with cinema displays and teh macPro again keyboard and mice are white. Inspiration to the keyboard and mice to macpro could be from MacBook pro.

    the selling of laptops could drop down now after the regulation with hand luggage in airplanes, where you are now not allowed top have computers and mobiles in your hand luggage.

    The cool thing apple could design could be a travelling bag for cinema displays and iMacs instead of using the boxes for travelling.

  14. John Lockwood | Aug 11 2006 - 04:13

    I can confirm the Intel Mac mini does not come with PhotoBooth but I see no reason why it would not work if you had a copy and an iSight camera. I have for example successfully run PhotoBooth on a iMac G4 with an iSight camera although it is very sluggish due to the antique video card in the iMac G4.

    Regarding a remote for the Mac Pro, you could either use the Keyspan RF Remote For FrontRow or if you prefer to use Infra-Red, the Keyspan Express Remote. I have myself successfully used the Keyspan Express Remote on a PowerMac G4 (and someone else’s PowerMac G5) with FrontRow and also Equinox’s MediaCentral.

    Note: Steve said more cameras would be supported in Leopard, I wonder if this will include the Logitech Orbit MP or Communicate STX or Pro 5000 with their face tracking capability.

  15. Avner | Aug 11 2006 - 07:13

    I think we should expect a new generation of Cinema Displays with improved specs, a built in camera and an IR port with a matching remote. I’d sure like to put my hands on one of these…

  16. stevievep | Aug 11 2006 - 08:20

    I agree with Avner, but these things might take a long time to materialize.

  17. Phillip | Aug 11 2006 - 08:20

    Perhaps the longer term plan is a wifi remote. That way it could also be used in another room if you are sending the video to your TV with a next-gen Airport-Express (with video)?

  18. James | Aug 11 2006 - 05:14

    Steve said that front row and photobooth etc. will be included with lepord

  19. GaryJohnston | Aug 12 2006 - 04:46

    The question I have is why do Apple insist on using infrared at all?

    Macs now come with Bluetooth as standard and it wouldn’t take much to make an Apple remote control that uses Bluetooth to communicate with the computer.

  20. Steve | Aug 14 2006 - 12:37

    The current Cinema Display lineup have just had a big price cut, so I wonder whether we should expect new displays with integrated camera and IR sooner rather than later…?

  21. Scott | Aug 30 2006 - 04:52

    I’ve been lucky enough to see the beta version of 10.5 Leopard, released at the WWDC earlier this month. Want to hear something interesting? Front Row is still not available unless the machine you installed Leopard on has a infrared port.

    I suppose you could activate the “hidden” Front Row functionality by using the Andrew Escobar hack, but it’s weird that Apple doesn’t offer a way to launch Front Row by a keyboard shortcut or function key.