Will Apple poach broadcast users?

With all the fury surrounding Apple’s latest announcements, we thought it would be fitting to recap the highlights and debate some of the opinions spewing out so far.

iTunes 10 & Ping: A social network for music

Some will call this a MySpace killer (available for upload now) but in this current configuration, I don’t think that is the case. After playing with the product and reading comments online, I think Apple’s insistence on a simple user experience in comparison to MySpace’s cluster of over personalization, went a little too far and features that should have been left in were left out. For example, there’s currently no easy way to follow people I actually know.

Apple claims on their site that there is a Facebook Connect feature allowing you to search for your Facebook friends easily. Well, this turns out not to be the case as Apple did not follow processes necessary to turn this feature on with Facebook. Namely, because Ping “pings” the Facebook API to such a significant degree, the social network requires Apple to pay for the service, something which was not negotiated ahead of time but I’m sure is in development now. Until this is resolved, I can only find my friends by entering in their email address one by one until I find someone. Yesterday, my friend from Berlin tracked me down so I officially have one real Ping friend.

Apart from real friends, users can choose to follow artists such as Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. That said, I’d much rather know what my friend was listening to. This is only one hiccup with the service but a sizeable one. Until this one issue is resolved, Ping will have problems truly being a “social network for music” without connecting its 160MM worldwide users together.

Other issues abound in the algorithm used to select what type of music I listen to. Instead of looking at my music library, which would be the obvious choice, Ping seems to favor my purchased iTunes items, surfacing selections which may not be something I’d like to define my musical taste by. Selfish selection by Apple really. I concluded that a manual entry of my musical selections was necessary. Imagine if you buy Justin Bieber for your 12 year old niece and all of a sudden it surfaces as your favorite music. Bieber fail.

Final issue with the service: the feed. After seeing a recommendation from Alexandra Petsavas, my favorite music supervisor who brilliantly filled an entire episode of The O.C. with Beck B sides, I decided to download a few tracks from the Candian band, The Acorn. Now, my entire feed is filled with my love for The Acorn even though I downloaded a few tracks off of one album. I wish there could be more control in terms of what is surfaced and what isn’t. I don’t need every song purchase listed in my feed especially around the holidays when I decide that The Time Life Christmas CD’s are a must have.

So is Ping a Myspace killer? Not for me. Above all of this above, I go to MySpace because I can get the full song rather than a mere 30 seconds. That’s music for me.

Apple TV

The content world according to Apple. People want:

  • As many TV and shows available in one place. All would be ideal clearly.
  • Everything in HD
  • Lower prices
  • Don’t want their TV to be a computer (Lean back vs. lean forward viewing experience)
  • Don’t want to sync to a computer
  • Don’t want to think about storage concerns

Here’s what Steve Jobs didn’t mention in his keynote but has contributed to Apple TV’s challenges in the marketplace:

People don’t usually want an additional box outside of the cable box no matter how small it is and the Apple approach to wall users in to their iTunes content is too restricting especially in comparison to the other boxes available including the Xbox, Roku, Boxee and others.

The changes:

  • Moving from purchases to rentals (lowers cost and storage concerns)
  • Cheaper content model: 4.99 HD movies to rent day-and-date with DVD marketplace, $.99 HD rental for TV shows (ABC & Fox signed on. Other studios no go for now)
  • Stream from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and stream from your computer
  • Lower price point at $99 (used to be $229)
  • Available later this month. Pre-order now

Enhancements to the iPhone (iOS 4.1)

  • Bugs fixed
  • High Dynamic Range Photos: 3 photos taken in rapid succession to combine into the perfect photo
  • HD Video Upload over WiFi
  • TV Show Rentals
  • Game Center: Playing games on your phone with friends.
  • Coming to the iPhone and iPod Touch next week

Enhancements to the iPad (iOS 4.2)

  • Coming Nov with some features custom built for the iPad including wireless printing and Airplay.
  • Airplay replaces Airtunes.  Airtunes allows you to stream music from your computer wirelessly to your speakers allowing you to play music from your computer anywhere in your house.  Airplay does the same thing but now for video and photos as well.
  • Also available for iPhone and iPod Touch

New iPods

  • Shuffle: Buttons added back in ($49 at 2GB)
  • Nano: Touchscreen display (No physical buttons) ($149 at 8GB and $179 at 16GB)

  • Touch: Retina Display (super clear, super bright screen) & Facetime (what the iPhone currently has to allow users to video chat with each other in real time) ($229 at 8GB, $299 at 32GB, & $399 at 64GB)
  • All available next week.

Other Apple quick facts:

  • 200 apps downloaded every second
  • 275 MM iPods sold
  • Apple controls 50% of the mobile gaming marketplace: Outsells Nintendo and Sony in portable game players combined.
  • Next spring, Apple iTunes will surpass CD sales hence the change in iTunes logo from CD to musical note.