Earlier this week I told you the 10 things you need to know about Microsoft Zune. While that list will get you through small talk at most cocktail parties, there’s one item that merits more discussion — the fact that Zune will not be PlaysForSure Compliant.
It seemed to me that there was a possibility of market fatigue with all of the iPods already out there, as well as a bit of a backlash by consumers who discovered that the 60GB iPod that they had just purchased to watch episodes of Battlestar Galactica on a cross-country flight wasn’t the “true” video iPod.
However, there are fresh reports of even longer delays, and we may look back at these delays as the tipping point where the iPod stopped being the center of the universe and started being just another cool gadget.
Defective By Design held rallies at Apple stores around the country this weekend to protest the company’s use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology in the both the iPod product line and the iTunes music store.
As it turns out, these weren’t really rallies, but self-described “flash mobs”. I say “self-described” because by all accounts the turnout was rather poor. A half dozen protesters dressed in yellow jump suits is hardly what you would call a mob. Apple store patrons might have easily confused the protesters for a Devo tribute band.
The group has valid points about DRM in general, and Apple’s DRM in particular, but they face an uphill battle in their effort generate an appreciable amount of consumer outrage. While über-geeks and early adopters are well informed about the issues surrounding DRM, the average consumer is unlikely to protest Apple’s DRM for one simple reason – it works too well.
Yesterday Google released a video player for Mac OSX. On the surface that might not seem like big news. Google Video still looks like a picked-over flea market. Meanwhile, iTunes is on a roll – offering over 250 programs for download. Google is clearly playing catch up in the online video market – and not very well.
While Google has failed to make a dent with its video store, it may have better luck with its video DRM system. Yesterday’s release of the OSX video player wasn’t so much about supporting the Mac platform as it was about making the Google Video DRM system available cross-platform.
I am a runner. At least five times per week, I get up at an incredibly stupid hour and run several miles through the dark, quiet streets where I live. It’s just a thing I do; the one piece of order in an otherwise chaotic existence. Also, I get some of my best ideas through oxygen deprivation. (Some might say that all of my ideas seem to come from a place of obvious oxygen deprivation.)
Like the vast majority of runners, I listen to music when I run, and I also listen to the radio. I own an Nano (which I don’t use for running because they refuse to build in a radio receiver), and I certainly don’t have any animosity towards Nike, whose shoes I wore for several years. As a matter of fact, in just about every way, I would seem to be the target audience for the Nike+iPod Sports kit.
So why am I not more excited about it? Is it just because you’ll separate me from my New Balances when you pull them from my cold, dead feet? Or is it something else?
We love our iPods and iTunes here at Medialoper, so here’s some team coverage on one of the bigger stories of the week. As you probably know by now, Apple won its latest round with the music industry by refusing to move from their flat-rate pricing model to a more tiered model where new releases are significantly more expensive than long tail catalog product.
And while yesterday Kirk had a real nice insight as to why the record companies backed down, I have a slightly different take.
Yesterday Apple announced that it has renewed its contracts with the four major record labels and that iTunes pricing will remain 99 cents for individual songs.
It would appear to be yet another victory for Steve Jobs in his battle against the “greedy” record companies. Or maybe there are more practical reasons the record companies backed down in their demand for variable pricing.
Buried near the end of today’s LA Times coverag is this tidbit:
There have been reports in the last week or so that Apples “true” video iPod — the one where the entire front part of the player was both a viewscreen and a track wheel — has been substantially delayed.
Once rumoured for release as possibly as soon as this month, it looks more like Q4 this year is a more realistic release date. Sure, while product delays are often met with predictions of outright disaster — hello HD-DVD! — in this case, I think it’s actually a case of where a outwardly bad situation will pay off dividends down the road.
I avoided writing about Apple’s new Boot Camp program last week because it just didn’t seem all that important. What’s so impressive about a program that lets you install and run Windows XP on an Intel based Mac? Since the Intel Macs are based on the very same technology that runs millions of PC’s it would be news if Apple had found a way to prevent users from running Windows.
It’s been almost a week since the release of Boot Camp and I’m still waiting to be struck by the epiphany that seems to have hit everyone from ars technica to the New York Times (not to mention Wall Street, which bid up the price of Apple more than 15% in the wake of the product announcement).
Wall Street is buzzing again with rumors that Google will soon launch a digital music service to rival iTunes. While a showdown between Apple and Google would be the Wall Street equivalent of Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla, analysts seem to be so caught up in their visions of “enhanced revenue streams” and $500 share prices, that they’ve missed one essential point. Google Music just won’t matter much. Here’s why: