Apple’s latest gadget is everything we hoped for, and so much less. Granted, the iPad is very cool, but it’s more evolutionary than revolutionary. It is essentially an extra-large iPod Touch with optional 3G wireless.
In my last post I identified five things I’d be watching for during the iPad event.
Here’s what I saw: (more…)
Well, all I can say is that it’s about godsdammed time. Today’s big news out of Macworld — that the iTunes Music Store is going DRM-free AND adding a tiered pricing structure — is good news for everyone involved.
It’s good news for consumers because — from the consumer standpoint — DRM sucks fully, totally and utterly. No matter how it was spun as one of those “for your protection” things, or as “protection for the artist,” it’s been proven time and time again to be a big pain in the ass for consumers. Anytime you purchase an artifact — including a digital file — with eithervsome kind of purely arbitrary use restriction and/or dependency on the large corporation that sold you the artifact to keep it working, that’s potential trouble. Period.
So here’s the deal: The National Music Publisher’s Association has said that they want to increase the royalty rate for each legal download from $0.09 to $0.15 per song. Apple has responded by threatening to shut down iTunes.
I assume that “iTunes” means “iTunes Music Store,” and this has nothing to do the the TV Shows, Films and Applications that also go through iTunes, because, well, that would just be stupid.
I’m not here to argue the merits of what one side will say is only a six cent increase and the other side will say is a 66% increase, nor am I going to point out that this is Apple’s way of saying that if they don’t continue to get exactly what they want, they’re going to take their ball and go home.
But I will say this: if the iTunes Music Store went away tomorrow, it wouldn’t even be a blip on my radar.
As part of my Medialoper reporting duties, I often venture into the real world to get a sense of what’s happening outside the walls of the Internet. I have set up a little lab to study the media consumption habits of ordinary Americans. In order to keep the science almost rigorous, the group I’ve assembled is pretty much random, much like, well, what you’d find in an average office setting.
Since the dawn of the 2006-2007 Fall television season, I’ve had two conversations relating to traditional motion picture viewing. The first was a rather bizarre discussion about Lost. It started out as a review of the season premiere, but, well, died. Somehow it was a rehash of Season One — which, thankfully, I had seen enough of to fake my way through the conversation. Never let it be said that we don’t go the extra mile here.
Last week we were startled to learn about Zune’s viral DRM system. As it turns out, the whole thing may have been a miscommunication on the part of Microsoft’s Zune Insider. But that doesn’t mean that Zune isn’t responsible for spreading the DRM virus. On the contrary, there’s mounting evidence that Zune is directly responsible for a mutation of the virus.
With the release of Zune, Microsoft has intentionally turned its back on its previous DRM standard – the PlaysForSure system. As a result, PlaysForSure partners are starting to drop support for Microsoft’s old DRM system in favor of their own proprietary DRM systems.
On Monday Real Networks and SanDisk announced that the Rhapsody music service will be switching from PlaysForSure to Real’s own Rhapsody DNA system. In an attempt to emulate Apple’s iTunes/iPod experience, SanDisk will release a new player that will be tightly integrated with the Rhapsody music service. The move is designed to position both companies against the upcoming Zune Marketplace as well as iTunes.