HP this week updated its MediaSmart home server, which has many services Mac users would love to take advantage of.  Centralized iTunes music database for the home, picture sharing, even file sharing over the Internet.

Apple should (have done) do something like this too, right?

We heard in August that Apple had some plans to expand the Time Capsule platform to include a lot of this functionality and more.  We aren’t sure if this device will be shown at Macworld but here’s what we’ve heard:

  • The device will tie in MobileMe with an Apple built-in Dynamic DNS system.  For instance, if your MobileMe account was "9to5mac", your domain name would be "9to5mac.me.com".  This is how you’d reach your filesystem throughout the Internet.  Your media would also reside here.
  • Built in AFP filesharing for Time Machine backups and centralized file stores.  Technically, you could even do backups on the road.
  • iTunes shared library database for not just music, but also video.  Access over the Internet to all of your media.
  • Photo database and tie in with with MobileMe.
  • Sharing media with iPod Touch and iPhones both over the Internet and while at home.  AppleTV as well.
  • The box will be based on the Time Machine platform (ARM), not a more expensive Intel/Leopard Server configuration.
  • Current Time Machine networking functionality built in.  Plugged into the Cable or DSL modem directly.
  • Lots of power saving features like turning off hard drives when not in use.
  • Multiple hard drive configurations would be made available with RAID 5 redundancy.

Speculation at the time was that Apple was deciding whether or not to just put all of these services in "the Cloud."  The issue is that there was just too much media to move and ISPs weren’t going to be too happy to be pushing around all of this data.  Not to mention the server farms Apple would have to build out to store and back up (additional to what they have now). 

We’d like to see a hybrid where files are stored locally, but certain, more important data was backed up to the cloud.

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