Despite the failure of its last attempt at such a device (the "Pippin", which was recently cancelled), Apple Computer is developing portable and TV set-top boxes that offer Internet access, play games, play music CDs and DVDs, and run the Mac OS. The devices--code-named "Columbus"--are said to resemble Microsoft's WebTV, a low-cost way to access the Internet with a TV set. Apple refuses to comment, as they are still testing the machines.

Unlike a Network Computer (NC), Columbus isn't designed as a replacement for a PC, though it will provide much of the functionality of one. Apple has developed a technology known as "Enhanced CD" that allows multimedia content stored on a CD to be transferred immediately into the memory of the device, bypassing the need to store it on a hard drive, which would need to be turned on and started up