The future of Netpliance looks bad:
Oh, you mean OTHER i-appliances? Well, I'd say there's a bigger problem than just bandwidth, but I'll get to it...
The way I see it, there are QUITE a few mistakes being made in the way i-appliances are being designed/sold and marketed. Let's start with Netpliance.
Netpliance offers a great piece of hardware with arguably the worst possible software installed. There's quite a few things this is lacking that WOULD still appeal to the "less-technical" croud.
How about offering:
Support for USB storage devices
Support for USB networking for broadband
A FREE Instant-messaging client for NON-USERS of the Netpliance service to chat with their
relatives/friends that ARE on the service.
A "web-based hard drive" that you can use to store your documents, images and sounds.
As for their pricing, instead of just offering one price-one ISP, they should offer (and in contract form like MSN does, not a "you can't do this because the software doesn't support it"):
$99 with X-year contract
$299 with no contract, use whatever ISP you like. You're still using THEIR software, their service and seeing THEIR advertisments - just accessing it all via a different ISP.
As for the whole cable/DSL vs modems, unless the i-appliance maker is in bed with the high speed access provider, they're gonna want a chunk of the ISP fees. That means dialup is going to be standard on I-Appliances for a long time to come.