Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Apple is in Your Pocket (with a siphon)

My favorite slide from Steve's presentation yesterday:

Back in the day, Microsoft marched to the mission: "a computer on every desk" (running Microsoft software). How quaint. Today there are many more opportunites than desk tops. Apple is targeting your desks, home entertainment centers, autos, pockets, shoes, and, of course, your pockets. Especially your pockets. (So, is Microsoft, of course, but that's another topic.)

Mickeleh's Take:
  • iPod marches on with significantly more bang for the buck and cool features such as games and gapless playback. Missing in action: the rumored widescreen iPod. It looks like enough new for a nice Christmas bump to Apple's sagging iPod sales, but you have to wonder if the market is close to saturation. (I don't need a new iPod right now.). Oh, and the new shuffle is an adorable little tyke.
  • iTunes gets hot new browsing features, including Cover Flow and now it will download cover art to you--even for music you don't buy from the iTunes store. (It's free, so I'll download it for sure).
  • the store adds movies from Disney (which I'm boycotting because of ABC's airing of that deceitful schlockudrama on 9/11,) How's the value on the movies? Well, they're pricing higher than a rental, but lower than buying the DVD (but offering lower resolution, and no "DVD extras"). Maybe useful for plane trips. And, Steve, please throw some board and shareholder weight around at ABC and get them out of Bush's pocket.

As for the "one last thing": Steve put a new product on the vapor list, scheduled to ship next year (code-named iTV)? Brilliant. It's the missing link between media stored on your Mac or PC and your TV or home entertainment center. Wireless or wired networking built-in and all the audio-video outputs you'd want (HDMI, component, optical digial audio out, etc.). And it provides slick Front Row browsing of your content.

Mickeleh's take: iTV is not only smart about what it includes (the right output ports, slick U-I, and PC connectivity as well as Mac), but it's also smart about what it leaves out. There's no attempt to duplicate the DVR--which most people will get from their cable or satellite provider anyway (or maybe the new TiVo Series 3). The big gotcha: the home entertainment center is going high definition, but iTunes movies aren't even as sharp as current DVD and not even close to HD resolutions. Is there an HD upgrade path? (Jobs was silent about which flavors of 802.11 wireless will be supported.) I'll probably be in line for one when it ships. Of course, if you have a Media Center PC and an Xbox360--you pretty much have this capability and more (except you won't have access to Apple's Fair Play locked content. Gotta love the dueling DRM standards that Apple and Microsoft are imposing.). But this product isn't shipping until some time next year. Why did Steve show it so early?

Links for the Apple-obsessed:

If you missed the keynote, Apple is streaming it.
  • Product details at Apple.
  • Smart perspectives and food for thought from Scoble, Om, Kevin Marks
  • Analyst round-up of iTV prospects -- and Apple's prospects in the nascent, but already crowded movie download market by Mark Ward (BBC News). He tackles the question of why Apple broke with its recent practice of keeping hardware very close to the vest until it's ready to ship. Hint: the message wasn't for the consumer--it was for the movie studios.
  • Detailed analysis of iTV by Daniel Eran (also see his analysis of why Apple is winning at media downloads)
  • First look at new iPod from Ryan Block (Engadget) (BTW: it looks like the old iPod, but there are some neat screenshots of new games)
  • One last thing: hot new TV spot.
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Anonymous said...

Is that an Apple in your pocket, or...
bah, dum, dum.

"Den"? isn't that what Ward Cleaver had?
Must be people at Apple (with adjusted option dates) who can afford a house with a "Den".

Anonymous said...

ok, I know Apple is the iNnovator when it comes to "iWords", but did they not realize that "iTV" has been around a long time as a term? . . . and not one with a positive connotation? . . . In fact, one associated with many failures.