Apple TV Take 2 – Not So Much – Choice

I've been chewing on the whole Apple TV take 2 thing for a few days now. Despite my Fanboy status, still completely and totally underwhelmed. Here's why:

  • Netflix on demand but nobody else (Amazon, Vudu, etc.). I can get more choices cheaper with Roku (and won't always pay $4.99 a stream). Heck there are $99 Blu-ray players with more functionality and you at least get a Blu-ray player (and $1.49 viewings from your local Redbox).
  • Speaking of cheaper with Roku, I can also get a lot more with that little box as well. Have you seen their continuing channel list? Throw in the possibilities Media Fly allows for and the Apple TV is 1/10th the box.
  • Of course I can't get Hulu or anything like that with Roku but with the coming Boxee box (yes, twice as much) and the recent Plex Announcements (wow, didn't see what coming), I will continue to watch Hulu on my big screen – despite what the EULAs say.
  • Missed opportunity. Apple TV should have her own app store – it's as simple as that. Now, for those telling me “it's coming” I simply ask – and where will those apps be stored – the cloud? Nope. Not in this release of the box.
  • The whole “amateur hour” dig really got to me. Instead of “people want to watch television and Hollywood Movies” (heaven forbid an Indie, Steve) how about “People want to watch what they want to watch and we're gonna make it easy.

I know Ed Dale and others tell me this is just step 1 but I'm not seeing it. For a company who wants to “think different” it just smacks of a company rushing to get something on the shelves in time for Christmas.

Your take – fanboy or otherwise?

Using Pogoplug To Stream Music From Home To My iPhone 4OS Phone

I figured out something very cool today that works on my current iPhone 3GS and my Pogoplug.

As you can see in this video, I've got my iPhone running IOS 4 streaming music from home using my Pogoplug. Yes, I know we can do that with Pandora, but sometimes I like listening to my own music.

What's even cooler (watch until the end of the video), the music controls in IOS 4 – which you normally use to control the iPod player – can control the music on your Pogoplug.

P.s., you can also stream (in the background) on an iPad without having to switch to IO 4. Yes, you can't use the player buttons but it still works great. Article on that over at PaulsiPad.com.

P.p.s., I wrote this article on 6/23/2010. On that day, Woot was having a sale on a Pogoplug device that made the thing only $20. If you can get in on that deal, do so.

iOS4 (iPhone OS 4) Thoughts

I have to admit the following – I spent the morning putting off the errands I needed to run because I knew the IOS update was coming. Yes, I'm that kinda geek. P.s., running errands with Pandora streaming in the background the whole time – priceless.

So, the new version of the iPhone OS is live. ARS has a great comprehensive review and RWW has a great piece on what runs on the different phones.

As fate would have it, I spent a great deal of time playing with this bad boy while in line at the AT&T store (on a billing matter). Kind of surreal, the whole process. Favorite moment was organizing my apps into folders while overhearing the AT&T sales dude explain that the new phones had “some folder thing in them.” … But I digress.

Here are the big deals for me.

Multitasking. Yes, I understand that this is only as good as the apps that support it, but even as a simple task switcher, this is really nice and elegant. As mentioned, running errands with Pandora streaming in the background is fun but the speed at which I now go back and forth between programs is awesome. And, there are a few more apps that I think make much more sense with this option. A world where Evernote, Simplenote and Skype are all there for me and are all running is an awesome world indeed. If/when 1Password is running, boooyaaahhh!

Folders. I have lots of apps. If you've read things this far, you do too. It's nice to have them in folders that make sense. Minor in the functionality sense but pretty major for me in focus and organization.

Mail. Running a few different accounts through the same interface is extremely powerful. I probably will be redoing my mail strategy based on what I have now at my fingertips. Of course, it really becomes cool when my iPad is at IOS4, but that's another post all together.

GPS in Multitasking. I don't use GPS much on the iPhone because the single tasking stuff was just plain annoying. Folks would always call at the key times I needed to make the right turn at the right place. I can't tell you that this changes much as I don't know for sure, but I see that phone give me directions a lot more now …

Do you have it yet? What do you think?

Google TV – What It Could Mean

I finally got my mind around Google TV and what it “means.”

And it is big.

First of all, it is real competition in the “Internet video on your television” space. With Apple TV admitting being nothing but a hobby and everyone else caring about their efforts with the same passion BP seems to care about plugging the leak, it's easy to see why we're getting nowhere in this space. I've written previously about the Roku box and Boxee's plans but what really has happened in the last 6 months, year?

With Google taking this space seriously, we're finally going to see some passion and growth past what we're seeing right now. And, with their war chest, this nonsense with Hulu blocking Boxee type situations will be met with a legal war chest that can make things happen. Competition is a very good thing.

But, more importantly, we've got another issue at play that is even more vital.

Google in this space represents a true convergence box. This is the “old and new media playing together” dream we've had for years but have never seen delivered. I have in my basement plenty of boxes that put obscure Internet video on my screen and I have owned / seen / been briefed on / and have beta tested an equal amount of boxes that place nice with “old media” over the intertubes. The Xbox doesn't do YouTube (let alone a decent Podcast option) and the Apple TV is as walled as a walled garden can get (even to the point of making it too weak to stream Flash well). When we talk about Tivo or traditional cable boxes, I just have to shudder. fILS and Twitter – silly – nothing else.

Boxee is the best hope in the underdog category (and I applaud Avner's statements that they can work in a Google TV world) but even their approach to stuff puts a line between the two worlds. A new episode of Burn Notice goes right into my queue but the latest episode of The Totally Rad show does not. It's just not “all coming together” the way it is supposed to … Yet. Roku is nice for what it does but the channels that aren't there don't appear to be coming.

At CES this year I got really nervous watching boxes from the “big names” designed (I believe purposely) to squash out the new media space. Sure, they were still lousy, but they were the only element seeing growth. And they might grow into something acceptable before we get our butts in gear.

Google TV can change this. The commercials speak of a world where the Web and Desperate Housewives can live in peaceful harmony and I'm betting my future that the box that let's them is the box I want to get behind. Google has the war chest and moxie this space needs.

And they have my full support.

Do they have yours?

Oh yeah, their ownership of YouTube is key too :-).

Weekend Roundup: Unlimited Edition

This weekend I'm at Brendon Burchard's Experts Academy event. Unlimited potential in this room. I thought that would be my theme for this update.

I hope you have a weekend of unlimited potential – without the unlimited headaches.

Weekend Roundup: Returns And Launches Edition

Old favorites are coming back (in some new ways) this weekend:

Speaking of the weekend, have a great one!

Is Your Next Book An App?

I've been saying for a few years now that the real definition of Web 2.0 is “your content on your customer's terms.” Everything really comes down to that as far as I'm concerned.

Techcrunch recently published a piece that says that authors need to publish their “next book” as an App (instead of an iBook). Great read – do it now.

While I like the concept, I'm not sure if that's the direction. Perhaps the article should have asked if your next book should also be released as an App.

Yes, our content on your customer's terms means a book isn't enough.

But just an app isn't enough either.

Your stuff needs to be available on a dead tree edition, an instant streaming edition, a phone edition, a pad edition, a plastic disk edition, an audio edition, a video edition, etc.

If you've watched the whole Vook thing, you might be thinking it's the future. I'm calling it a gimmick. Show me any real content ONLY available on the VOOK format and I'll change my mind.

So, content creators, I'm gonna suggest this simple fact: your future requires that you create your content on as many formats and platforms as possible.

Your thoughts?

Weekend Roundup: Operation iPad Edition

Starting a new feature here at the blog – the Weekend Round Up. It's sort of a “stuff you missed” kinda thing. We'll run it for a few weeks and see what you think/hear. Please leave any comments below. And, if you have a better name …

Have a great weekend!

iPad Pre-Order Live At Paul’s iPad

Update: iPad Pre-order Video At YouTube.

With all the excitement about the iPad Pre-Order options tomorrow, I thought I'd do something fun. As we all know, the pre-ordering starts 530a Pacific / 930a Eastern – but we don't know …

Will there be limits on orders?

Will the Apple Servers be able to handle the traffic?

Will they throw any surprises our way?

So, we're getting up early tomorrow at Paul's iPad to Livestream the Pre-Order process. Join us?

Yes, I'm sure we'll have a replay soon afterward – but there's nothing like live …

Again, here's the link to the Live Stream (we'll start around 515a Pacific).

The Problem With iBooks – The Platform Is Very Limited

The last 10 or so books I've read have all been on my Kindle. Not only are we a 2-Kindle family but I can show you that I've actually saved money on these devices. Every time I pick up a business book that retails at least fifteen bucks more for the dead tree edition, I realize this isn't just a convenience issue, it's a monetary one. And, yes, I make use of the iPhone app as well – but it is hardly the experience I want or need. And, friends, don't knock e-ink until you've read a few books on it.

Side note: on my desk are a few books that only come in print and I can't, for the moment, pull myself to even crack open.

So, Apple comes out with the iPad and the very cool looking iBooks option. We hear stories of magazines jumping on board quickly and we have something very interesting here. Embedded below is a YouTube Playlist:

At the point I wrote this, the best facts I could find about the iBooks included 1 simple fact that needs to be examined. Again, at the time of writing (3/1/2010), here's what we know: iBooks only works on the iPad. Kindle products work on the iPad, the iPhone, PCs (Macs coming soon), and Blackberries. In short, my options are to read my stuff on every screen I own, or only one of the screens I own. I can also publish TODAY to the Kindle Network – but that's another post all together. Obviously there are no details on that, but I don't see it coming any time soon.

Now if I buy music through iTunes, I can play it on anything (including that Zune). If I buy a television show or movie, I can play it on any of my registered devices in the house (including my iPad).

So, yes, this is a revision 1 release – actually a pre revision 1 release but, right now, iBooks do nothing for me.

So, I ask this question, is the concept of iBooks doing anything for you? Is this something independent content developers should be considering? I guess I don't get what they're bringing to the table yet that, simply, isn't provided much better on the Kindle.