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.

You Can’t Handle The Truth About Podcasting

First, please watch this embedded clip from YouTube to put you in the proper mindset.

You can’t handle the truth!

Son, we work on an Internet that has limits. And these limits can’t be changed with men with vc funding – no matter how much you’ve got.

Who’s gonna stream to millions at once? You? You, Hulu?

I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You praise streaming and you curse the Podcast. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not admitting what I know: that streaming, while sexy, simply can’t scale.

And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, is the future of media online…

You don’t want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want portable time-shifted media. You need portable time-shifted media – without the restrictions that simply won’t scale.

We use words like streaming, drm, walls … we curse these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use ’em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under tens of millions of dollars in funding without ever facing the truth, and then questions the manner in which I provide it!

I’d rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you tell me how your plan on streaming to millions of users at the same time. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think our future is!

As much as I just enjoyed watching 30 Rock on Hulu a few minutes ago, …

Streaming won’t scale.

DRM won’t scale.

Devices that dial home with my watching habits won’t scale.

Oprah tried, and fell flat on her face, and then released everything she had via Podcast.

Did her impact change? Did she make any less money? Did they sell less copies of that “New Earth” book?

Do we have something to learn from Oprah?

Yes, we can track everything – but at some point it all falls apart. I point to the USSR and East Germany as recent examples.

Yes, we can stream video right now but it is simply nothing compared to a few million people watching American Idol on a Wednesday night. If you want the numbers television provides on our glorious Interweb then, dear friends, you’re going to have to find something that scales – something that “works.”

Podcasting can scale.

Without the need to call back home, without the need to worry about where every 1 and 0 is located, without the need to own it all, this can work. Podcasting can scale.

Streaming can’t.

DRM can’t.

You can’t handle the truth about Podcasting.

Thoughts?

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Podcasting, New Media and the iPhone SDK – Apple Is Now Selling Indie Content

Well the Apple iPhone SDK announcements were made today. I got the majority of my information from Engadget’s always stellar liveblogging of the event. The MetaliveBlog from TUAW is nice as well. Here are my thoughts:

Licensing ActiveSync for iPhone. All the “iPhones ain’t for business” excuses just went away. The no new programs for interaction with Exchange bit it a brilliant part of Apple’s “let’s win them over one person at a time strategy.” Paul likes. But what about New Media?

Giving the outside world access to their SDK for making third party apps. No faster way to add numbers to the already insanely impressive iPhone numbers. Holding nothing back – strong business move.

Games. Nice, but does nothing for me.

AppStore. I’m actually glad this one doesn’t come out until June because I need to wrap my arms around this one. Apple, dear friends, now officially in the business of selling indie content. Sure, it’s Apps this June.

What is it in August?

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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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Zune Gets Gaming – Microsoft’s Player Just Got More Important

Today at the Game Developers Conference, word was released that, simply, we’ve now got the options for games on the Zune.  You can read all about it at Joystiq and Engadget.  I’ve also added a few comments over at Zuneluv.com (and breathed some life into our Zune Games category. If you want to play along as the story unfolds.

Really, we have two issues at play here:  1) This should come as no surprise to anyone as since the iPod has games, it goes to reason that Microsoft will put games in the Zune as well. 

2) The second issue is something that all new media types should pay attention to.  Microsoft may be lousy at the desktop right now but "the kids" are flocking to the xBox and if the Zune become any kind of a portable xBox or and xBox lite, there are going to be a lot of "the kids" with portable devices that play our content.  Oh yeah, they also do very well in the twenty something and thirty something demographic.

And that’s a good thing all the way around.

Again, follow the thread over at ZuneLuv.com if you are really interested, but do keep this in the back of your mind.

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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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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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The iPhone As Portable Wireless Podcatcher

I bought my iPhone on Saturday and am now part of the “iCult.”

Last night I watched all of the episodes of iCali.tv (my favorite tip so far, Jivetalk as instant messenger option) via stream connected to my wifi at home. Very nice, an on-demand portable media player.

Today I had to run some errands. I plugged my iPhone into the car stereo and listened to several Podcasts using Pickle Mobile. Here’s the thing, the Edge network stinks for most Web content but all the shows I listened to streamed fine.

This means, and please catch this, my iPhone is a great little portable wireless Podcatcher. Can’t really do it with an iPod Touch (at least when driving around) but this is very cool and very powerful.

Downloading and taking it all with me is going to become less and less important as our wireless options become better. The iPhone ain’t perfect for this type of consumption but it’s very close.

These are exciting times for us new media types.

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So, Does The iTunes Wifi Store Do Podcasts Or Not?

Geekbrief #225 and CrankyGeeks #80 both had participants (from Podshow) who claimed that the iTunes Wifi Store did Podcasts.

Everything I read says otherwise.

What do they know that I don’t?

Does anyone have access to the iTunes Wifi store yet?

Does it do Podcasts or not?

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And The Beat Goes On … Thoughts On The Apple Event

As always, I played along at home via Engadget. And, of course, the lovely and gracious Cali has her video stream.

He brings up Podcasts in the first 5 minutes. “125k podcasts. “This is amazing material, it’s free, and over 25k are video podcasts.” Steve knows that his money is in the hardware.

This last statistic blew my mind: in the US of all the music releases in 2006, 32% were digital-only releases.” Music on plastic disks, heck, all content on plastic disks, is quickly dieing …

… today we’re going to refresh or replace EVERY single product in this lineup to get ready for this holiday season.” Did I say something earlier about Steve’s money being in the hardware?

The new Nano now does video. That was a given. New interface too – looks nice but nothing too amazing. 24 hours audio / 5 hours of video. Nice.

The iPod “Classic” has a 160 gig version for $350. Your library in your pocket (and 7 hours video charge time).

iPod “Touch” – same interface as the iPhone. We all kinda figured that was coming. Gorgeous.

WIFI AND INTERNET FEATURES ON IPOD TOUCH. “Others have done this before and failed.” Safari built into iPod Touch. A very nice, very portable – 8GB for $299 and 16GB for $399. 5 hours video life. Again, Steve’s money is in the hardware.

iTunes Music Wifi Store … if only the thing would do Podcasts. Partnership with Starbucks for some cross-marketing, etc.

An impressive run guys. And, yes, I will be buying an iPhone Touch.

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