On the Apple Event Today And The Microsoft (Zune) Content Released Over The Weekend

So, the masses will be commenting (and how could I not join them?) on the Apple event throughout the day. Some of your best reports of the pure data comes, as always, from Engadget and Crunchgear. I, sadly, missed the live commentary from Cali at Geekbrief this year. Long story.

And of course, you can track the full details at Techmeme.

The buzz will, of course, push any of the Zune announcements out of the ‘Meme and further down the feed readers of many. I want to suggest that Microsoft's third round is at least as exciting, if not more so, than anything announced by his Steveness today.

Disclosure: I spent yesterday at Microsoft (on their dime) getting briefed by the Zune team on all of the features coming out with the new Zune 3.0 software. The scheduled release is next Tuesday – but you know how these things can go. While at the Redmond Campus I took notes on my MacBook Pro and did a lot of work on my iPhone (much to the ribbing of a few in the room) during downtime. I consider myself an Apple Fanboy but absolutely prefer the best technology for the job. FWIW.

In a fun bit of synergy, the announcements from Microsoft and Apple actually have a lot in common: A) they've both updated their software (desktop and device) with an obvious focus on music and music discovery B) they both have some new hardware and C) they both made no announcements about Podcasting and New Media (minus the HD television show option which I consider moot as Xbox has been doing it for over a year now).

For the first time in awhile, this similarity in announcements allows for a real clean comparison between the two companies.

Lets talk about all three of these issues:

Music discovery in the software: As I flew home from Seattle today, I listened to “That Lucky Old Sun” from Brian Wilson on a first generation 8 gig Zune. Turns out I really liked it. I wouldn't have purchased the thing normally but the Zune Pass option offered (at $14.99 a month) to Zune members allowed me to check it out, rent it, whatever you want to call it.

This isn't a examination of the music rental or subscription model, it's an examination of music discovery models. Yes, the new Apple iTunes will tell me what songs in my collection might sound better together (and I think) offer me a chance to buy some songs that might work as well but … I know my music collection – telling me what works together (in my collection) doesn't matter to me at all. And in terms of, sure I can buy new stuff, a one hour playlist could be $20 that I'm not willing to spend at this point.

I guess I'm just not excited by a “Genius” that tells me what's in my collection (I already know) and the idea of trying anything out at .99 cents a pop doesn't do it for me either. I've been a huge fan of music subscriptions (even back to times when Zune.com was a Spanish Website and Yahoo Music was yet considered a failure) because of this very issue. Of course, having to poke your way around Napster, Rhapsody, Zune or any of the other sites was never much fun (or that fruitful) – but the music discovery options on the Zune hardware and software make this very doable – and do I dare say exciting?

For pure music discovery or genius, I declare Zune the clear winner.

FWIW: My prediction is that you'll be seeing a music subscription option from Apple very soon – the Genius option really doesn't make much sense without it.

New hardware: Sorry, but the new Nanos look like someone in first year CAD class was assigned the task of “Appleing Up” the Zune 4 or 8 models. There's really nothing exciting at all about the look – and let's face it “Fatty Nano” was a bust. What about features?

The accelerometer in the Nano is very cool – but I don't think the implementation is anything exciting at this point. One does have to wonder how the ‘shake to shuffle' thing will affect joggers, but that is another story all together. That might excite me at some point – just not now.

In terms of Zune's new hardware, there is nothing new at all (that I can tell) – just capacity upgrades. I do have a Black Zune 16 that I'll do an unboxing of soon (we'll put that up at ZuneLuv.com) but I don't expect to see anything too exciting.

Is there a winner? I'll give that one to Apple but only because I had to give it to someone.

New New Media / Podcasting announcements: This, obviously, is my passion, and this topic, obviously, was completely ignored by both parties. We can call it what we want and blame it on whatever we want but nobody said or did nothing.

For that category, I declare both companies losers in this one.

The world is changing. Even within the music space, the monoculture of “look, a new album by the Beach Boys guy” has it's place but is quickly being replaced by the excitement that comes from getting a remix over the RSS feed from the latest Geoff Smith album. I understand the need to grab the low hanging fruit of Jack Johnson but the future of music and media (of which both companies are trying to dominate) is the non-traditional music and media.

And the one who dominates that …

Remember how Steve pointed out with a smirk that Zune is #4 in the player space and #2 is “other” … that other is a huge number and doesn't just apply to device makers – it applies to content sources as well. The numbers are there and growing every day.

Apple has done a good job of corporate embracing and Microsoft's support of the Podcast format (despite it's sounding like an Apple trademark) is a great step in the right direction but both companies would do very well with a “one more thing” dedicated to their future.

And between now and then, make sure that the Zune Engine and Apple Genius Cloud recommend “That Lucky Old Sun” – it's one of the better things “big music” has come out with in awhile.

Of course, that's after they recommend Mr. Smith.

WWDC 2008 – Covering The Livebloggers With A New Media Take

I love a good Jobs Keynote as much as anyone else does. I'm as big of a fanboy as the next guy and do plan one day to go to one of these events live.

And, yes, I'm following the livebloggers but … I'm trying to do the whole angle of a “new media” take on what's happening – as the gear's real “fun” is in the revenue it can help bring us new media types.

Here's what I'm following:
Cali and Neal on Ustream. Just too much fun.

Engadget's “live” Keynote Reporting. They always seem to get the good stuff.

Ars at WWDC '08. The content from Ars Technica seems to be getting better and better. Note: First blog to go down.

Techcrunch's “Let The Games Begin.” Their live coverage hasn't been much so far – but they always have great content. We'll see what they come up with.

And of course, as a good geek, I have to follow what's happening up over at Twitter. I just can't believe they're gonna stay up through this.

But now … the content …

Actually, I have to start with my first statement.

Yes, in the grand scheme of things this is “big” but … it ain't big in any “real world” numbers. The streaming, the blogging, the twitters, etc. – they can't (infrastructure / not content) handle a Steve Keynote – how can we expect them to handle “real” media events. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the Web isn't for streaming … time shifted content is our future.

O.k., now the real content …

Three parts to Apple: Mac, Music/iPod/iTunes, and iPhone. This is good. Distinguishing Music/iPod/iTunes as a “part” of Apple means we can not have to worry about the whole Mac v PC thing. That's good for all involved.

API stuff. The more they open to the world (not always the Apple way of doing things), the more us new media types can get in there.

The pirate audio feed from the WWDC. Without sounding too geeky, Nothing Can Stop The Signal. In short, you can't beat 'em, you have to join 'em.

eBay applications on the iPhone. The site for the democratization of commerce is working with the iPhone. Important.

TypePad application for the iPhone. We all know what blogs have done for Podcasting. If TypePad has one, we'll see one for WordPress before the end of the day?

The gazillion game demos. iPod is platform. I've been saying that for a long time. Actually, iTunes is the OS, iPod is the clients / iPhone is the client / Apple TV is the client.

Apple push notification service. Smart solution.

New iPhone features. The iWork and Office documents support makes a lot of sense.

Parental controls. We needed that. My kids play with my iPhone too much not to have this.

Personal iPhone application distribution. Sure, it's being promoted as an “Enterprise Solution” but this will be leveraged for businesses. I can see some very cool new media applications here.

Mobile Me. Push email, contacts and calendars. Cloud computing is very cool – but part of Podcasting's future – no doubt at all.

3G iPhone. Much faster new media delivery. Battery life very impressive too – 7 hours of video / 24 hours of audio / 5-6 hours of 3G browsing. Nice portable media player. iTunes is the OS / iPhone is a client people. $199 to $399 for price points. Availability for a good chunk of the world. Rollout July 11.

There is. I'm sure I'll have some more commentary later – but let's get this out.

If You Aren’t Nervous, You Aren’t Paying Attention – Big Changes Very Quickly In The New Media Space

I've yet to connect all of the dots but consider the follow new stories in the new media space. Some things are brewing, some things are changing, and some things are about to explode.

These stories are in no particular order but I do believe strongly that they ad up to something pretty big. Consider the following:

Half of all music sold will be digital in the next three years. Microsoft won't release a new OS in that time. We've stopped being a "blip" on the books. People are taking notice and changing some things as a result.

Remember that writers stike? Digital distribution was a huge issue. It's about the money.

Random House killing audiobook DRM means that Audible's demise and sale to Amazon means only one thing – they've made the very careful choice not to pick sides in this upcoming battle. And trust you me this, there is a battle coming. Amazon has always wanted to become a media company with with Audible, Unbox, the Kindle and their MP3 store, they are very quickly going to become a force to reckon with.

Apple ain't just in the music game – they're renting movies now. They also ain't just in the movie rental game – they're in the discount movie rental game. The new release of iTunes has a weekly 99 cent movie rental option. It's much easier to rip a DVD from Netflix or Blockbuster than it is a rental from Apple. There is a lot less plastic, no postage and minimal employee requirements through this model. How could the movie business not support this full-force?

Speaking of movies on plastic, the death of HDDVD doesn't appear to be doing a thing for Bluray. Ever wondered why?

More and more on demand content from pretty much everyone and their mothers seems to indicate some small change in studio understanding of the value of their back catalog. Why worry about the kids stealing Fantasy Island and Star Trek when you can make a few pennies by streaming it. And, of course, if you don't have to share your profits with Apple and/or Blockbuster, a few pennies is decent profit indeed.

I've written a few times about how impressed I am with the Apple TV and how they have effectively killed the subscription paradigm. Ever wondered what else they're looking to kill? This little patent for custom Podcasts and general excitement from the industry could be means by which Podcasters who once screamed for the rights to own their feeds give up control for that "download is finally a watch" metric that eveyone who thinks the real strength of this tv/radio killer is the ability to insert ads just like radio/tv. Yes, this paragraph contains a lot of juice and wasn't perfectly written but read it again. New media is dangerously close to giving up something they once held very dear.

Am I suggesting that Apple has realized that new media is the future of their platform and that the Apple mantra of control it all is seeping out of Infinite Loop? Don't know yet, … but one has to wonder. Anyone else notice that they seem to be releasing something new every Tuesday?

Can't talk conspiracies without talking Microsoft. As hinted over at our ZuneLuv.com site, Zune/xBox Wifi integration is inevitable and that desktop / living room / pocket connection that Apple is doing so well at suddenly has a real competitor. And, dear friends, it will be a real competitor very quickly. Sure, Apple dominates the pocket, but don't underestimate the power of those xBoxs connected to those televisions. That hardware can do everything Apple TV and do right now – AND IT PLAYS GAMES THAT DO BIGGER SALES THAN HOLLYWOOD. Do the math on this one.

Now, to Microsoft's benefit, they haven't done much (or at least that we know of) to try to change the game too much. xBox supports pretty much every file format (why Media Center hasn't caught up yet is beyond me) and the new Zune plays everything the iPod does and, get this, more. Their placement of Rob Greenlee as Podcast Lead has his regular and consistent engagement with the community indicates that, at least in this stage, they're looking to play nice. Do they have plans for later domination? Who knows.

But they are in this to win as well. When two sides are in this to win, a battle is the result.

And, one day, someone at Microsoft is going to realize that they're future isn't in getting us to upgrade Office and Windows. That days is coming very soon and that day will increase the intensity of that battle something fierce.

What do new media titans do with this kind of information?

I suggest you watch these three guys like hawks – for these very specific reasons:

Kent Nichols of AskANinja has a very solid and very profitable brand and is doing everything in his power to keep it his brand. He is also looking to profit as he deserves to from it. His blog is a must read as he's sharing every bit of it as an "ousider" living in the "inside" of it all. Oh, and yeah, he's actually making it work.

Tim Street brought us the French Maids. Say what you want about that brand but read his Blog. If you ever get a chance to meet Tim or see him present about this space, it is money fantastically spent, he ‘gets' it too – and is trying to figure out how to make it all work. He's got enough past experience to help us blend it all.

Dan Klass is the underdog in all of this but … he's got inventory and is now selling it. Forget this free nonsense. Whatever happens to the Bitterest Pill will be written in the history books (or Blogs) of our little escapades.

You might want to subscribe to this blog as well.

I've written enough already and now actually have to work at paying a few bills.

Things are brewing. There is something in the air – very immediate.

And if you haven't yet noticed, I'm glad I could help.

I appreciate your thoughts and comments.

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What The Apple TV Dares Teach Us About The Future Of Podcasting And New Media

I spent a lot of time with my Apple TV this weekend.  There is some stuff I really like, some stuff I don't and some stuff that is changing my business plan this week.  It's that last group I want to talk about in this piece. 

Remember, this isn't about Apple TV Take 2 – this is about how Apple TV Take 2 will change the game.  Nobody built a business on the first (or even second) generation of the iPod but when we saw what these products "meant," we changed some things.  I suggest you do the same here.

If you want to survive, that is.

The Network Matters Again.  When you have as many choices as you have in the Apple TV, you're not gonna wait for a show that sputters along.  You're not going to to download it to watch later.  Apple TV is an on-demand product.  You're going to find something that you can, simply, click and watch.  If your network is lousy, your content doesn't matter. 

CDNs, are you listening?  Honestly, I would start marketing myself as Apple TV ready and send boxes to some of your potential biggest customers.  And, yes, S3 was down last week and you should be leveraging that undeniable fact.

HD Matters More.  First of all, remember, in 1 year, there will be no standard definition broadcasting.  The government in all of her neverending wisdom is going to change the consumption pattern of your audience long before you'll get the chance to.  All of your audience will be at HD much sooner than you think.  Be like Gretsky and skate to where the puck is going to be.  It ain't an issue of tech, it's an issue of this simple fact:  my 4 year old says "Dr. Kiki looks better than Sesame Street" (and she's right).  And since my 4 year old now understands the science of fudge, I'm not gonna complain.

You're Bigger Than The iPod Or The Format.  I've been on this issue for awhile with the Zune directory but … mark my words on this one, a show titled "X for iPod" ain't gonna get the clicks a show not titled after the technology is going to get.  Sure, you could have 27 different formats for the world, or you could just have a show that works on the 27 different players.  Worried about stuffing HD onto a 2 inch screen?  Have a "Portable," "Regular" and "HD" version if you must – but stop defining yourself by your technoogy

Subscriptions Might Quickly Become A Geek Only Concept.  I don't subscribe on Apple TV – I have favorites.  At this point Apple TV doesn't tell me "what's new" – I just have to click around.  They might fix this later, they might not.  You need plans for both paths.  If/whenever possible, get the email addresses of your audience – find as many options as possible to update your audience.  Yes, RSS is cool but it might not matter to Mom … ever..

You're Only As Recent As Apple TV Says You Are.  When I decided to watch some video podcasts with my eggs this morning, Apple TV told me that Rocketboom's last episode was on Valentine's day, Mahalo Daily still didn't have this morning's show out (I'm west coast and a late sleeper – the show was out), and Webb Alert still isn't back from a weekend started 4 days ago (which in this case is actually true – just not something one bringing up the minute news might want to report to the world).

If you've read this blog for any time at all, you know of my fondness for Geekbrief.tv.  Episode titles with a number, not a date, is always a good idea.  Need proof – "Leopard" was released last year and it still sounds cool yet "Office 2007" is going to be around in 2011 as the "most recent version."  Date your stuff only when it makes sense.    

Yes, They Can Tie This To A Computer, But They Won't.  As things stand, the standalone Apple TV is my favorite podcast reception process.  The standalone Apple TV is the model that most people need to follow.  The standalone Apple TV is what I'm recommending to everyone right now.  The standalone Apple TV don't run the premiumcast (don't worry, it will).  Yes, there are jumps one can jump through but … why do it if you don't have to?

If your new media play doesn't work (at least partially) in a non-subscription world, you will die out. 

Steve, And The Steve-Like, Will Make It So That The Technology Doesn't Matter.  I know right now that it seems like we're always going to be in a place where we're going to get our audience one "I'll come over and hook you up" member at a time.  There are some who feel that "it will all happen" the day Oprah finally explains the susbcription process on a very special episode. 

It will "happen" the day the process is easier and the mechanism is braindead simple.

Did I mention that my 4 year old now watches Dr. Kiki on demand?

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7 Ways Apple TV Changes The Game And What Podcasters Need To Know And Do About It

Digg this story …

If this is your first time at the Blog, let me tell you this: yes, we love the gadgets and have a house full of 'em, but … this ain't always about the gadgets. This is about the business and politics behind the gadgets. With that said and done, we'd love to have you as a subscriber.

Apple TV "Take Two" was introduced yesterday. I haven't found anyone yet who isn't thrilled with the results.

I would suggest however that this is much bigger than this. Yes, we have cool elements like HD video rentals (which I don't know about you, but I've had on my xBox for what a year now?) and Flickr browsing but I'd really, honestly, like to suggest that Apple TV is now, officially, a game changer and here are my 7 reasons why.

The Podcast Subscription Paradigm Is Dead (with Apple TV at least). With this gorgeous box, I can watch whatever Podcast I want (as long as it is in the iTunes directory) and the word subscription isn't anywhere to be found. Apple TV is now a video on demand service where you simply pick your favorite Podcasts and play and/or download them on demand. We've been saying for years that we need to make the subscription process easier. Apple did it by killing the susbcription process.

This Is Standards Setting. The joke with Apple TV is that this would all be news if people actually had an Apple TV to upgrade. They aren't as popular as they should be and I don't think this round will make any kind of dent on anyone's numbers. It does, however, set the standard. When xBox releases their Podcasting application, it will look more like Apple TV than the Zune. Trust you me this. Want to see where Podcasting will be in 2 years? Visit your local Apple Store today.

Network Quality Suddenly Becomes Important Again. One of the nice benefis of a behind the scenes download process is that you can put your files on a lousy network and it doesn't really matter as it all happens in "the background." This is no longer the case. If the Podcast you want to watch doesn't stream well via "click to play," you will switch to another one – there are too many choices. I streamed several gorgeous HD video Podcasts with no problem and watched a few others sputter there way into oblivion. The commonality? The network. Some "big names" in this space don't stream well at all.

YouTube Is As Important As Any Video Podcast Channel. Subscriptions in YouTube are just another button on this thing now. Actually, come to think of it, the only subscription option is YouTube. Video Podcasters, get your show as a channel on YouTube asap

The Price Just Went Down (Way Down). An Apple TV is less than any iPod touch. There are also no monthly fees like one would pay with their Tivo (remember Tivo?) This is one of the cheapest options in town.

Apple Owns The Premium Process. One of my biggest questions with this was always going to be "how does this affect Premiumcast.com?" At this point, there is no way to grab premium content directly through the Apple TV interface that Apple ain't directly selling. Apple owns the only sales process for Apple TV. Sure, you can download to your computer and sync over but … why do that anymore? Premium is currently, a walled garden on this gorgeous little box.

Updates Included. We saw how Zune updated their v1 product to v2 without charge. We've seen Apple update the iPhone and the Apple TV without charge. We'll be seeing more of this in the future. It is the new normal. Yes, the Touch update was $20 and I'll be good scratch that the guy who thought that up has been yelled at by Steve more than a few times.

This one is a game changer people. Mark my words.

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Apple TV Take 2 – This Podcaster’s Perspective

As per Engadget (and TUAW and few zillion other gadget blog sites already), the "Take 2" update for Apple TV is loose and available for download.  As I type these first sentences, my system is in the process of downloading and upgrading. 

As always, I'll try to give the Podcasting / New Media angle on my initial thoughts re this reboot.

The "promise" of Apple TV (Take 2) is an interesting one – we don't need to hook this thing up to a computer to get some real power.  What we have now is a machine that connects to the Internet without a computer somewhere acting as our person inbetween.  I like the theory – how well does it work?

First thing of note – Subscriptions in YouTube.  This could and will be amazingly powerful if we get enough of these boxes (or any box that allows for YouTube subscriptions) in front of people.

Second thing of note – Entering in anything (logins/passwords) via the remote is really annoying.  I can only imagine entering a Podcast RSS URL (haven't done it yet).

Number 3 – The movie rental process is incredible.  Nice and clean.  Gorgeous.  I will be renting movies this way.

Number 4 – Podcasts.  Wow.  Yes, you can subscribe, etc., but there is also a play on demand kind of option in here.  You pick what you want to watch and can either watch or subscribe as you wish.  Nice. 

Your Podcast Perspective is this … this changes EVERYTHING.  I'll be writing more here as soon as I soak it all in.

Color me very impressed.

 

Did Apple TV Kill Netflix?

Note: I'll be talking with Don McAllister from ScreenCastsOnline.com on tonight's New Media Matters Show re this very topic. Join us live if you can. If not, of course, you can always subscribe to the show.

I can't tell you how excited I am about the Apple TV “refresh.” I've already checked multiple times to see if my upgrade is there. No dice at this point.

The big question is of course, with movie rentals as part of the mix, did Apple “kill” Netflix? Any of the other models?

Last night I watched both an episode of “Law and Order Criminal Intent” and the first part of “Letters from Iwo Jima.” In my (physical) mailbox is “Once” – a movie I've heard great things about.

Were those available via Apple TV, cost would have been $1.99 for the TV show and $3.99 each for the two movies. If the kids were crazy tonight and I waited until 8p to finish “Iwo Jima,” I'd have to pay another 4 bucks. Total cost, assuming timing was good, would have been ten bucks.

I'm on the “one at a time” with unlimited streaming plan at NetFlix (I streamed the first 2 – looked great – my HDTV has a VGA input). Total cost is $9 – for the month. And there are, dear friends, another 27 days before I get charged the $9 again.

At my Albertsons is a Redbox station. If you don't know these guys, check 'em out. Very cool. They have “Iwa Jima” as well – at a buck a night. If the kids are crazy and I need to return the movie a day late the total charge is $2, not $7.98.

These things ad up.

Apple TV won't kill NetFlix on price.

What about convience?

Well, as I mentioned earlier, those first two pieces were click and stream – as easy as the Apple TV.

Yes, I had to wait a day for “Once” to show up in the mail but, honestly, I'm ok with that. Lots of people are.

And that stream now list at NetFlix is only going to get bigger.

And that buck a movie in a vending machine a half a mile way is pretty nice too if I got nothing to watch.

Yeah, she's no deal breaker – in the movie rental space at least.

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Jobs MacWorld Keynote 2008 – Your New Media Perspective

So here I liveblog the keynote livebloggers. My favorites – Engadget's traditional blog approach and Geekbrief.tv's more chatroom angle on this.

Stream of facts, figures, etc. followed by some thoughts at the end.

As this all starts up I have to comment on this kind of “event marketing.” Nobody even comes close. Think about this, he's made the launch of computer products not just sexy, but ubersexy. That alone I could write books about.

9:07 – Engadget, Geekbrief and Twitter all very slow. Look around for other “less popular” sources that might be faster (smaller crowds).

9:10 – TUAW seems faster than those listed above.

9:11 – Still sitting people. Steve likes things better choreographed than this. Something went funky in practice methinks.

9:16 – 5 million Leopards. 20% were upgrades (did Vista do that?) That’s a market people.

9:18 – Time Capsule – a backup appliance. Too bad I can’t get Airport Extreme to work in my home network environment. My PC / Mac / Xbox / Apple TV world is just too much for the system. Had to take it back. Excellent pricing though.

9:20 – Engadget, TUAW and Twitter all worthless at this point. Thanks Cali for remaining up. We have to learn how to scale.

9:21 – 4 million iPhones sold. iPhone is now a little more than half of Rim’s share (in 20 days). There’s another market.

9:24 – iPhone new features! Maps with location, Webclips, SMS multiple people, customize home page, lyrics.

9:30 – Publish #1 – Will Republish Every 30 Minutes.

9:35 – Got from Twitter that MacRumorsLive is doing a good job. They are.

9:35 – Upgrade to Touch – mail, stocks, notes, weather, maps – $20. Hmm. That won’t make some people happy.

9:36 – iTunes – 4 billion songs sold (market!), 20 million sold on Christmas Day (love them gift cards), 125 million television shows, 7 million movies. Here’s an interesting statement “Did not meet expectations.”

9:37 – Enter iTunes MOVIE RENTALS (“a better way to provide movies to our customers) – Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate, Newline, Fox, WB, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Sony – ALL IN. “Every major studio on board.”

9:40 – Geekbrief down.

9:40 – More on rentals – Over 1000 movies. Watch anywhere. Watch instantly. Available 30 days after DVD release (not bad). 30 days to start watching – 24 hours to finish (standard). $2.99 library – $3.99 new release. Pretty standard in this space. Launches today. Now Steve, tell us about the Apple TV integration …

9:41 – Looks like easy sync to iPod. That’s new. Finally, an easy rental system for portables that doesn’t require some obscure PMP.

9:45 – Apple TV Take 2. Nice. Rent movies direct. DVD and HD (Dolby 5.1). Podcasts. Flickr. .Mac. HD rentals $4.99 – 100 titles today (I’m watching one tonight). Looks like Apple TV is becoming a standalone device.

9:46 – Demo. Wish I could watch that. But then again, i do have one …

9:48 – Previews from interface. A little “others who rented this rented this” action.

9:49 – TUAW showing signs of life. The rest still down.

9:52 – Found great coverage at MacWorld.com.

9:52 – AppleTV wowness (and we haven’t gotten to our “one more thing” yet). I’m really impressed here.

9:57 – Photo screensavers from .Mac Web galleries for Apple TV. Jobs could OWN the grandma/grandpa market. Podcasts without iTunes. Yes! Wish my hard drive was bigger.

10:00 – Publish #2

10:01 – Can even buy music from within AppleTV. All this is a free software update (out in a few weeks). Entry price now $229. Nice.

10:06 – Geekbrief back up but CoveritLive “has reached capacity.” Supposed to refresh browsers in one minute.

10:08 – “Something in the air.” (4th thing). Introducing the MacBook Air. “World’s Thinnest Notebook.”

10:11 – Specs “.16” to “.76” (inches). It fits inside of an envelope. 13.3” widescreen display. LED backlit display. MacBook-like keyboard. Multi-touch trackpad. 64 GB SSD is an option. “They’re pricy, but they’re fast.”

10:16 – Engadget back up. Twitter still down. Can access mobile Twitter via iPhone but no new content in there.

10:20 – Twitter “up” – but sputtering.

10:24 – Yes, I know, I’m not freaking out over the MacBook air. This is your “new media” perspective. Don’t get me wrong, the thing is cool. Very cool.

10:30 – Publish #3 – “One More Publish?”

10:31 – Geekbrief CoveritLive back up.

10:43 – Looks like we’re done. No ‘one more thing.” Updates at Apple.com.

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Hulu Impresses

I got my Hulu beta pass yesterday.

And, before you ask, they don't give you any passes or invites to give away – at least at this point.

First impressions are very nice. The video is very smooth and I'll have no problems integration those shows into my little Year of Living Digitally experiment. Full screen looks as good, if not better, than any other system (minus, maybe the ABC HD stream options)

How long are the commercials? I actually skipped over content on new shows (King of the Hill), old shows (“Classic Battlestar Galactica”), and movies (The Jerk?) At this point the commercials at the commercial breaks are either absent, or short 15 second types. I'm sure they will/might change that in the future but I'm enjoying the experiment as it stands.

I've been streaming the NBC shows this season and have been enjoying the process/thought of streaming video on demand over the Internet. Hulu provides for the same experience, in better quality, with fewer clicks to get to the content, and a screen far-less messy.

I'd say that's a step in the right direction.

FWIW, I've embedded the most recent episode of King of the Hill over at the Year of Living Digitally. Turns out the embed feature works with certain shows and not others (originally, I was going to embed last night's Chuck) and won't let you go fullscreen or pop out of the frame.

But you do get an idea of the streaming quality, ease of use, etc.

Good job NBC.

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Apple Tin Foil Hat Moment #5

Jobs has called AppleTV his “hobby.” That means he ain't in this one to make money. What is he in this one for? I have a few hobby projects that I use as test grounds for everything else I'm doing.

Jobs released AppleTV very hackable – not easily hackable – but hackable none the less. Turned out that the update for AppleTV didn't include anything to kill the hacks. If they were really worried, there would be another update that killed the hacks.

There isn't one – and I doubt there will be one.

He now has the hackers happy and the content providers happy.

He releases a hackable iPhone – not easiliy hackable – but hackable none the less.

They're not a content company, they're a hardware company. Computers, phones, av equipment, I even hear rumors of cars.

Could he have released a hackable iPhone knowing that AT&T would ride it for all it is worth (by the way, the iPhone isn't even on the home page for attwireless.com today) and that hackers would make it available for everything else?

Was T-Mobile part of the plan all along?

Just a thought.

And a tin foil hat one at that.

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