Mac Develeoper Plans Wii / iTunes Integration
Wii Transfer, a Mac only application, already plays music from iTunes, and views pictures from iPhoto on your Wii. Soon, video streaming will be added to the feature list. Wii Transfer’s primary feature, however, is converting videos on your Mac to Wii format, which are then playable on the Wii from an SD card.
Wii Transfer is a very simple application: leave it running on your Mac to allow the Wii to browse your entire iTunes or iPhoto library over wireless. Performed through the Wii Opera browser, Wii Transfer is actually running a small website on your Mac which is viewable from any web browser.
As of now, Wii Transfer supports playing both MP3 and AAC files from your iTunes library. It will also view your iPhoto pictures, and photocasts. I really like the iPhoto integration – I can view my friends flickr feeds right from my television – because they’re set in iPhoto on my Mac. iTunes playlists and album covers, as well as iPhoto albums are supported. Photo viewing also sports the Apple-esq smooth transitions from picture to picture.
However, The media sharing features of Wii Transfer feel quite underdeveloped. A minimal interface, and buggy playback handicap the software. This is because Reece originally thought the movie conversion features were more important, thus his development resources were allocated as so. Recently, I asked Reece some questions about the future development of Wii Transfer:
Me: First of all, why isn’t this feature it’s own product? I don’t
think it makes much sense to include a music player with a video
converter, when it has so much potential. Why not create a second
project called “WiiTunes” or something and have it be devoted to
this feature? Many people would buy it (I have no interest in the
video conversion features).
Reece: This is a good suggestion, and one I’ve considered. The truthful
answer is that I didn’t know how well the music sharing feature would
be received, so I hesitated to make it its own product at first. Now
that most of my customers are buying it for the music alone,
eventually I will transition it so that that is the core feature. I
won’t take away the other features, but they will be secondary and
less prominently featured. The movie conversion will be supplemented
with movie streaming so that it works more consistently together (no
Me: Second, it seems the interface could be much more refined and
pleasant if a simple, pretty CSS template were used. Right now,
white text on a black background seems pretty underdeveloped.
Reece: Point taken. The interface will definitely keep improving.
Wii Transfer looks to be becomming a “Front Row” for the Wii – a simple solution for consumers looking to bring their media into the living room. Cheaper than an Apple TV or XBox 360, Wii Transfer should find a good niche in the marketplace.
Wii Transfer can be purchased online for a humble $14. A free limited demo version is available.