My previous post almost turned into a rant about how Apple needs to get on the ball in terms of video support for the iPod. I certainly have a high level of expectation of what would really push Apple over the top in terms of an end result. While I don’t expect everything, it seems like Apple has been forced to practically go back to the drawing board on the iPod video.
Rumors and news reports have indicated that the touchscreen version of the iPod with the full front side being the display are delayed for what could be a year. With size upgrades coming for the Nano (8gb or more), it seems like Apple is throwing a bone until it can get two things done. The first is a solid, reliable touchscreen interface that evokes the usability for which Apple is well known. The second is a contract to sell movies through the iTMS. Without a solid content base of video, who’s going to want it? And 3 minute 30 second music videos are not what people want to watch.
We want subscriptions to our shows so that we can watch them in their 16:9 glory on our way to work. Or perhaps while sitting at our desk being sneaky. Either way, between all the things that have to be done (you know, epic raids, video games, poker night, etc.) we want to be able to catch up on simple shows like Scrubs, CSI:Miami and whatever else without a lot of effort.
The real clincher is the networks that are going to be shows online the day after they air. This is a twist that Apple isn’t going to be able to handle without somehow adopting the model. You see, the networks are making it so that you can’t skip the commercials. Apple doesn’t sell it with the commercials. But people are going to want to play it on their portable device. Now, Microsoft has shown they’ll cater to anything to sell products (including censorship) so it’s a given they’ll sell out to the networks and release Windows Media Player version 2,740,212.1 with the new rewind-only video feature. So Apple, it sucks, but you’re going to have to join the club. And just like with the free podcasts, you’re going to have to integrate the network offerings into your iTunes client to make it easy. Otherwise, people will look for something else.
I commonly will download an HD XVID version of CSI:Miami, use PMP Video to convert it to the format used by the PMP Video Mod for the 1.5 firmware PSP. This let’s me watch a full 480x272 movie converted from the HD source on my PSP at my leisure. Yeah, it’s a pain in the ass and sometimes takes more time than it is worth, but it’s really the only way to get quality video on-the-go (unless I care to lug my 17” Dell laptop around - which is unmatched for HD, but the glare is horrible even in a car with the daylight).
Convergence is coming, and people are ready for it. But it’s going to take some time. Even the Windows Vista Media Center that promises CableCard support for digital TV DVR (and the likely ability to put the content on any PlaysIfYoureLucky(tm) compatible device) are long delayed into next year at the earliest. Throw in a high-definition format war (HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray) and you’ve got an agenda for delayed products, questionable content deals and outta-luck early adopters.
But I can wait, after all, I’ve got over 6,473,712,372,120 Sudoku puzzles that need to be solved.