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Intel's CES Keynote 2010, Apple and iLife 3D

Cool = Intel, Cover 

In October 2009, Patently Apple pointed to Intel being On the Cusp of a Whole New Industry and presented you with an insider's view of what Intel had been promoting and marketing behind the scenes in respect to the next wave of 3D TV and other interesting subject matters.  In Otellini's CES keynote, he shared his belief that "we're on the cusp of a new era in computing."  More importantly, Otellini and his 3D lab team treated us to some very powerful conceptual imagery; Imagery that most definitely could translate into explosive new Apple products in the coming years. Beyond that, Otellini emphasized SmartTV, the power needed to power all forms of 3D content and introduced us all to the Home Energy Management Dashboard that will definitely become a part of our in-home strategy down the road.





The New Era Begins in 2010 


Otellini's keynote really began when he stated that with "the kind of products that we could build on 32 bit nano meter and below, I believe we're on the cusp of a new era in computing: An era of personal computing, essentially where we have many devices for every person - For computing is increasingly integrated into every aspect of our lives.  These changes are transforming the industry and they're transforming Intel."


Trend Number One: SmartTVs 


The number one thrust of Otellini's keynote was without a doubt his absolute focus on the future of television - just as it was during his IDF keynote last October. "Looking forward we see computing expanding beyond the PC and next into the television. Just like phones are becoming Smartphones, TVs are becoming SmartTVs. SmartTVs will enable you to show content and predict content from any source and put it up on your television. And to help you navigate with this, there'll be technology like advanced search and gesture recognition to be able to walk you through the myriad of content that is out there.


This will, I think, bring on a new class of applications that will also complement and enhance the TV experience. But at the end of the day we have to keep it simple – we have to make it easy to use – and the way to do that is to develop new user friendly User-Interfaces for this myriad of content. 


We also need to deliver significantly more processing power to be able to handle all of that content. Intel is building a series of chips that we call system on chips [SoCs], or single chip computers, around our Adam core and in the case of the Smart-TV we put around the Atom core all of the circuitry that the CE Industry needs for its video and audio and encoding and display."  


WiDi and New STB UI from Orange Europe


Later in the keynote, Otellini introduced a minor new wireless product this way:  "On the wireless side we see Wi-Fi moving into everything: Cameras, TVs, appliances. At CES today, we're introducing a new technology called Intel Wireless Display" (or Wi-Di) – shown in a demo and seen on the left side graphic above of a notebook in sync with an HDTV. Intel's webpage makes it clear that WiDi is an exclusive Windows platform product.


In describing the product, Otellini stated that "what Wi-Di does is that it leverages your Wi-Fi network to connect your PC to your Hi-Def television. And with that technology, you could easily stream your videos, your photos, your personal content or any other internet content over the Wi-Fi network with any compatible new 2010 Core laptop from Intel direct to your HDTV. In fact next week at Best Buy [retailer], you're going to be able to choose from three different Core i5 laptops with the Intel Wireless Display technology built into it. And additionally all you need to do is buy a $100 adapter box to be able to connect your television to that adapter box and - that talks directly to your laptop – essentially eliminating the wires: one button connection."


Additionally, during a demo of a new Set Top Box from UK's Orange, Intel's representative talked about the cool new UI they've employed and stated that Orange is the first to introduce a new service which is basically a cloud-based DVR service. Apple is now working on this concept for MobileMe. In fact the way that the presenter was presenting this segment opened my eyes to how Apple could integrate Time Machine into Apple TV at some future time in order to keep track of content on MobileMe acting as your virtual DVR. Add in Front Row and Spotlight geared for seeking out television content on the networks and you begin to see how Apple is amassing technology for a cool future HDTV of their own. This is definitely food for thought.  


Trend Two: High End 3D Demands Multicore Power




Otellini, Shrek

In this segment, Otellini begins to build a case for 3D that may have started with professional studios but will trickle down to consumers very shortly:  "Let me begin by starting out with how computing is affecting and being shaped by the content in the world today. HD has been the driver of the industry for the last few years. From 2007 to 2009 HDTV sales have grown 2X worldwide; in the U.S. camcorder sales have grown 4X. 


Today, many of us are viewing HD at home. I think that 3D, if you walk around the show, is the next thing that's poised to explode in the home: 3D television. In 2010 there will be 50 - 3D movies released versus 20 in 2009.  Increasingly sports, video games and concerts are all being filmed and generated in 3D.


The 2010 World Cup will be recorded and broadcast in 3D. This week, ESPN and Discovery networks announced 3D networks and their plans to deploy them over the next couple of years.


The good news for us in the hardware side of the industry is that creating and managing 3D content requires a ton of computing. Let me give you an example: In general, increasing the richness and quality delivered to the screen requires more and more compute cycles. Behind me is the chart that shows the historical trend in terms of compute hours to create the various versions of my favorite franchise from DreamWorks Animation, Shrek (see Shrek graphic above to see chart line dramatically rising). Shrek's third adventure took 4X the computing time as its first one. Even with increasingly powerful processors.


Shrek number four 'Shrek Forever After' which comes out later this spring, is the first 3D movie in that franchise. That movie takes 9X the compute cycles as the first one. Every time we increase the quality and realism of imagery we take another great leap forward and that happened this time with three-dimensional content.


What I find interesting though, as a technologist, is that what starts at the high end, typically trickles down and very often ends up in the mainstream, in our homes. I think that will happen this time as well.


In the past, the only thing that audiences saw was professional content. Now increasingly we're all seeing user generated content that is reaching anyone via the internet. In 2006, there was a hundred million downloads per day on YouTube. In 2009 that number was over a billion – a day. And the content that is being shared on the internet is increasingly richer. For example, there are 150, 000 HD clips available on YouTube. We see 3D moving from the studios to the home and we're providing the compute horsepower to make that happen."


Trend Three: The Coming User-Generated 3D Content Revolution


Intel's 3D content research project is working on future applications that will allow amateurs to create rich 3D visual content from everyday photos.   In the future, users will be able to create detailed 3D models and lifelike avatars from real-life images without any special equipment other than a standard digital camera and an 8 core PC. One of Intel's target goals is to make 3D modeling and avatar creation as easy for users to use as blogging software is today. 


3D photo program

In a must see video about 3D Content Creation, Chris Anderson, an Intel Technician Marketing Engineer - explains his ease of creating 3D models from photographs using a new program in development. "Today I have an 8 core workstation and I can compute this in 5 minutes or so. What we have here is a multithreaded application that scales quite well to many cores. We see going forward that we'll be able to process this much faster as the number of cores in your system increase."  You could also check out this PDF on Immersive Connected Experiences – which is very informative and relates to our report on the 3D Internet. Below is another Intel video, though far less detailed. 



At a different segment of the CES keynote, there was a presenter using CineForm software (CineForm for the Mac; CineForm Wiki], I believe, making a case for easy 3D Movie creation was in the works that would be able to play on new 3D HDTVs.  Otellini later on admitted that the PC in the 3D home-movie demo was actually connected to the HDTV via Light Peak. Translation: It's working now!


Surprise: Think iPhoto and iMovie 3D Features


The key to all of this is, as Intel's Chris Anderson pointed out earlier is multithreaded applications that scales quite well to many cores. Isn't that what Apple's OpenCL (link is to an Apple PDF) is all about? In simple terms, think of Apple using OpenCL to create and power not only high end video games but also 3D versions of their iLife suite, mainly 3D versions of iPhoto and iMovie.


If Intel is demonstrating the kinds of software being designed now to promote future 8 core systems like those to be powered by Intel's new Sandybridge microarchitecture sometime between late Q4 2010 or Q1 2011 – then you could be sure that Apple will be delivering a screamingly cool new iLife suite to knock your socks off! Count on it.


Intel Concept - Home Energy Management Dashboard


On a last note, Otellini introduced the Home Energy Management Dashboard that any Macite would recognize as yet another potential opportunity for Apple to deliver yet another style of in-home tablet in the future. The unit utilized widgets and/or iApp style icons, a video messaging app and likely another in-home wireless phone option, being that the device clearly demonstrated a Yellow Pages icon. 


Here's what Otellini had to say about this product: "As I look forward, just like I've seen in the world of computing, I believe that the world of entertainment will also be driven by Moore's Law. But computing in the home is not just about entertainment. Security, personal finance, video conferencing, home business, health - are always changing the computer the way we live.  For Example many people are increasingly concerned about energy. Technology, I think has the potential of saving money and save the environment. In the United States, the demand for electricity will grow 19% in the next decade. On the other side of it, capacity will only grow 6%. The only way to solve this mismatch is to be efficiency into the system. Intelligent systems have the potential to reduce the household energy consumption by 31%.  


Home Energy Management Dashboard 

Otellini's side-kick presenter added "What that means is that I could basically go ahead and manage the entire energy consumption of all the devices inside my house … get realtime two-way communications back and forth from the utilities. You know…how much I'm being charged … and really how much I'm drawing constantly. Really the message behind that is if I know then I could act ... which relates to a lot of money. It adds other functionality: It's a general Atom based PC so you could leave a few videos for the kids to watch, send the family a video message."


At the End of the Day


At the end of the day, Otellini's CES keynote may have only had a few subtle twists to ongoing themes that began during their fall session of IDF 2009. Yet the twists were enough to open the door for us in the Mac community to envision what other cool things Apple may have in store for us in the future.


There was more evidence that Apple could likely push MobileMe in a new direction in the future regarding television program recording and storage, perhaps how Time Machine could be implemented into Apple TV and most importantly that 3D versions and/or feature sets for iPhoto and iMovie are likely in the finishing stages to be ready for Sandybridge based iMacs in the near future. Cool = iLife 3D. 


And lastly, we saw yet another opportunity for an in-home tablet styled product for Apple's Media Player line up in the future. Unlike most, I'm a firm believer that Apple has many tablet style units for us in the future, just like they have multiple iterations of the iPod.


The bottom line is that Otellini's CES Keynote provided us with a lot of food for thought. In fact, Patently Apple has now opened new 3D + and TV database segments that you can search out and over time, we'll add some other new archival material and list all new related patents accordingly.   


Now it's your turn: Do you envision Apple having 3D versions of iPhoto and iMove in the 2010-2011 timeframe? 



Jack Pucher

In respect to your funny glasses comment James, I made a similar comment in the report noted above "On the Cusp of a Whole New Industry." -

"Apple's technology is way ahead of the curve on this front in that their advances could eventually give viewers the ability to perceive 3D TV without the aid of goofy goggles."

Yet for a more sophisticated 3D UI and for 3D iPhoto, I vehemently disagree. Under our 3D + section you should check out the report titled "Apple Preparing OS X for New High End 3D Interface." The response to that report was extremely positive and the community most definitely wants it.

But a 3D UI by itself is silly. And Apple knows that for 3D to stick beyond a short term gimmic, they have to support it with 3D iPhoto and the ability to create avatars in iMove 3D. It's not for everyone James, but there's a huge demographic that do.

There's too much evidence in the industry to deny the fact that this is coming to the consumer over the next few years and will only get bigger over time. I could remember a time when the community thought the iPod was stupid and didn't think there was a market for that too. So only time will tell.

James Katt

The answer is no.

3D is a pie in the sky dream.

Consumers have not shown any inclination for 3D. 3D means the use of animation in entertainment, not real people.

3D has not been popular in Movie Theaters. Why should it be popular on home TVs?

For what compelling reason would consumers want 3D? Particularly when they have to put on funny glasses to see 3D?


Bring it on! That would be sweet. While I can't think of how Apple would do iMovie, I can see iPhoto 3D being a smash hit. Excellent observation by the way.

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