Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Front Row

The most amazing thing at Front Row for me is the remote control. It's funny that a company like Apple at least had to come to design the first remote control for home entertainment that is easy to use :) The question is, how could they realize that and why did so many other companies fail?

I think the first important point is that Apple reduced the features of Front Row to a minimum (and that is quite not so easy as it sounds). And then they adapted the user interface of an already established tiny, little piece of hardware, the iPod. That's interesting, because that interface was designed for a hardware tool, but also works on a computer as well. (Speaks for their designers :)

And in such a way Apple created it that not the remote control, but the software carries the functionality, and that is much easier to handle. Based on that they were able to get this typical sexy Apple look. (The picture I like mostly is where S. Jobs compares the Apple remote control with several others)

But let's take a closer look. What does Apple's Front Row really provide?
  • Menu
  • Play/Pause
  • Skip
  • Rewind
  • Volume up
  • Volume down

That's it. Looks quite simple, doesn't it? So there is no need for more than 6 Buttons on the remote control, which now looks really revolutionary.

The 3D main menu offers these really big 'icons' and does not even seem to be a typical menu, so I think I had no problem sitting my grandma in front of this and let her use it.

For my opinion, the only 'problem' on the whole home entertainment srory is that you always have to run a computer. That also means that you have to start up a machine, even if you just want to hear music or something. Currently I am used to shut down my computer, if it's not needed anymore, and that means you have to turn it on again. That's not really a 'problem' but it makes the usage a little bit more complicated.


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