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date stamped or expiring DRM on iPods and iPhone

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello,
I have been pondering the music subscription model and the fact that Apple does not offer one.

Is it simply because they do not wish to, or are there also technical reasons that make it impossible or hard to implement within the iTunes-iPod-iPhone structure?

It is clear that for a music subscription service to work one must enable the tracks to actually expire on the MP3 player if the customer does not pay the monthly fee. Therefore the device itself must somehow be able to keep track of time in a protected manner.

As far as I can tell none of the iPod models nor the iPhone have a protected clock device... Does anyone know differently?

Could Apple retrofit iPods to have such a capability should they wish to down the road?

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 15
iPods software can be updated, so I would imagine that they could add some form of rental service to the software. I don't see Apple doing it for music, but it would be hard to imagine that they would ignore the large video rental market in favor of a purchase only model. I know that all indications are that they are not going to have a rental service but that does not mean that they could not do so in the future or work with another company such as NetFlix to offer one.

The main reason that I see for Apple not to do so initially is that they do not have the bandwidth to provide the service alongside their current offerings. I imagine that video rental/subscription would need a lot more storage and bandwidth since the average consumer rents more video's than they purchase. I would be willing to say that if Apple did offer rentals then they would have at least 2 rentals for every one sold and probably closer to a 4:1 ratio.
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you.

I guess I am a bit unclear as to how exactly the DRM expires.
Is it more a function of software or is it based on a combination of hardware AND software...

And if it is indeed a combination hardware-software then do the iPods and iPhone present some impenetrable or unchangeable features that will never make subscriptions (expiring after x amount of time) a possibility?

I agree that "renting" movies through Apple on a subscription base, instead of through netflicks could be nice...
post #4 of 15
1) Apple doesn't want to Do it because it's the worst possible business Model for music ever invented
2) Apple can't do this because of the way FairPlay was designed. iTunes stores all of the DRM keys and decodes them when you authorize your account, and then transfers them to the iPod so the iPod can decode them. Sure they could just update the software, but due to #1 being more in effect here, I say it just isn't going to happen.

Sebastian
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post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

1) Apple doesn't want to Do it because it's the worst possible business Model for music ever invented
2) Apple can't do this because of the way FairPlay was designed. iTunes stores all of the DRM keys and decodes them when you authorize your account, and then transfers them to the iPod so the iPod can decode them. Sure they could just update the software, but due to #1 being more in effect here, I say it just isn't going to happen.

Sebastian

Number 1 changes with the introduction of video, and more importantly a device which by Apple's admission is ment to take on the DVD player in the consumer electronics market. There are a lot more movies rented a year than purchased so it makes a lot of sense for Apple to move into the rental market once Apple TV is released and Apple has the bandwidth and video catalog to make it worth taking on. Number 2 could probably be updated to accomidate this model.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you,
I was just trying to understand if it was possible.
And understand if it were something software related or hardware.
I am still a bit unclear as how it actually works...
But thanks!
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCG View Post

Number 1 changes with the introduction of video, and more importantly a device which by Apple's admission is ment to take on the DVD player in the consumer electronics market. There are a lot more movies rented a year than purchased so it makes a lot of sense for Apple to move into the rental market once Apple TV is released and Apple has the bandwidth and video catalog to make it worth taking on. Number 2 could probably be updated to accomidate this model.

I'm sure you read what I said.

[LEFT]It's the worst possible business model for music ever invented. Note I was replying to a thread, where the first post talked about Music subscriptions.

As for Movies, since when does Apple go after every possible market? I don't think they will offer Movie Rentals either, considering they focus more on sales. It's also not a subscription service.

The trouble with people thinking they know Apple better than Apple is that, Apple certainly didn't get here by taking say, Paul Thurrot's Advice to buy Be Inc. and base Mac OS on Linux, exactly as Palm did.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RoughlyDrafted

Palm Follows Pundit's Advice for Apple: 2003-2007
[LEFT]Remember when pundits all insisted they knew exactly how to fix Apple? Apple mostly ignored their advice, which ended up being fortunate for today's Mac users.


Palm's history of following all that advice--and paying the severe consequences--provides an interesting view into an alternate universe of possibility: what might have happened to Apple had it been run by John Dvorak, Paul Thurrott, Rob Enderle, and a gaggle of other columnists with conflicting opinions on how to save it.

They incessantly insisted that Apple desperately needed to:[/LEFT]
  1. License its OS to other hardware makers
  2. Copy Microsoft's Windows strategies
  3. Compete directly against Microsoft in IT markets
  4. Split into hardware and software companies
  5. Buy Be, Inc. for its BeOS
  6. Adopt the Linux kernel
  7. License Windows from Microsoft
[LEFT]While Apple ignored all their free advice, Palm jumped in and followed it to the letter. The result: Palm is on extended life support and peddling a device that will be completely obsolete in six months.[/LEFT]

[/LEFT]

Sebastian
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
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Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
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post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

I'm sure you read what I said.
Sebastian

Yes I read what you said, and did not discount your conclusion. In fact I agree with it and think that the market has proven you right, people want to own their music.

I think that things change with the introduction of video into the product line. People rent, in one form or another, much more video content than they purchase. Even at $10/video for a download you can rent at least 2 movies for every one purchased given current cost of rentals.

I don't have exact figures, only guesses, but I would bet that the average household rents at least 4 movies a week but purchases no more than 2 a month. Therefore if Apple were making 1¢ per movie for either method of viewing then they would make at least twice as much through a rentals than purchases. Since Apple has thus far been reluctant to license Fair Play to other companies and they have most of the delivery system in place today to offer rentals alongside purchases of video it only makes sense that they would do so. That does not mean that they will, they could parter with another company such as BlockBuster, NetFlix, or even Google for rentals but that goes against their recient buisness practices. They could also ignore rentals compleatly and risk it's success by ignoring the main method that people view video content today (whether that is VOD, DVD rental, or subscription networks like HBO). I wouldn't put it past Apple to ignore this market, but from a buisiness perspective it does not make sense to ignore it.

Now back to the main point of the original question, while we don't know that the iPod/iPhone will support a subscription or rental service the software can probably be upgraded to allow for it if Apple decides to come out with it in the future.
post #9 of 15
Well the real question is does Apple want to? As far as I can tell, they would've done it by now if they actually cared to. Plus it would mean an addition to FairPlay, a DRM that even Apple doesn't like.

Sebastian
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
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post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

Well the real question is does Apple want to? As far as I can tell, they would've done it by now if they actually cared to. Plus it would mean an addition to FairPlay, a DRM that even Apple doesn't like.

Sebastian

A few years ago they didn't want to release a TV device or a phone or PDS, they are now releasing all 3 of these in two devices. They may not adopt a rental or subscirption service for Apple TV. They may have a plug-in model for it that allows others to build their own extensions to the Apple TV system. They might release updates to Fairplay/iTunes/Quicktime/FrontRow at any time to allow for rental/subscription video. We don't know and won't know unless Apple releases it. Apple may not want to do so and may not do it. But they probably could if they desired to do so and there is definatly a market for it that is extreamly large and profitable which would very definatly help to make the Apple TV a success and without it might ensure that it is a market failure. I'm sure that there are executives, marketing people, and board members at Apple who think this as well.

That said, it still does not mean that they will do it, or will open up the AppleTV to a partner to provide the service. It just makes sense that if they want the hardware to survive in a market place whose content is predominatly provided through rental (VOD/DVD) or subscription (NetFlix/Cable/Premium Cable channels/Satelite) services that they would allow for an avenue for the consumer to recive content in one or more of these ways. Today we do not know that they are going to. Then again we do not know that they aren't and that this is part of the reason for the delay in the release of AppleTV. Even if it is not initially released we don't know that the service won't be added in the future.
post #11 of 15
Of course they said they weren't going to release a Phone or a PDA. A PDA was irrelevant then and a few years ago, the iPhone would've been in the planning and pieces of it in the R&D department.

The AppleTV is an extension of the Airport Express, in a way. In fact I was actually surprised when I saw Steve introduce the "Airport Express with Video" because I was seeing it all over the rumor sites at the time. It doesn't matter what Apple says they won't do, it only matters what they do and have done.

If the iPhone is a success with Cingular, then the AppleTV may be partnered up with AT&T as well for their Cable Service. Or maybe they'll offer Rentals. But if they were going to offer Rentals just like that they would've done so by now.

Sebastian
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
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post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slewis View Post

...If the iPhone is a success with Cingular, then the AppleTV may be partnered up with AT&T as well for their Cable Service. Or maybe they'll offer Rentals. But if they were going to offer Rentals just like that they would've done so by now.

Sebastian

Working with AT&T might be a direction that Apple is working toward, but right now their service, the real one not the partnered satelite deal, is in it's infancy and will be a while before it can be offered to even 50% of the US market, let alone the world market. As for why they wouldn't have released rentals yet you only have to look at the quality of the video provided and when it has been upgraded and what has triggered that upgrade. They initially released it for the iPod at a quality that worked well for the iPod. The quality was increased when Apple released Front Row. One could assume that it will be increased again when Apple TV is released since that supports 720p video and is built for (look at the specs) more modern widescreen TV's and not legacy 4:3 SD TV's. Apple could think that this is the triger for releaseing a rental service as well because the market is potentially much larger than it had been before the release of Apple TV, and because such a service would support and add value to the hardware, which is what Apple really makes money on. Apple has stated (CFO I think the other day) that Apple views the ATV as an alternative to a DVD player whose content is predominatly provided by rental through NetFlix and BlockBuster in this country.
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCG View Post

Working with AT&T might be a direction that Apple is working toward, but right now their service, the real one not the partnered satelite deal, is in it's infancy and will be a while before it can be offered to even 50% of the US market, let alone the world market. As for why they wouldn't have released rentals yet you only have to look at the quality of the video provided and when it has been upgraded and what has triggered that upgrade. They initially released it for the iPod at a quality that worked well for the iPod. The quality was increased when Apple released Front Row. One could assume that it will be increased again when Apple TV is released since that supports 720p video and is built for (look at the specs) more modern widescreen TV's and not legacy 4:3 SD TV's. Apple could think that this is the triger for releaseing a rental service as well because the market is potentially much larger than it had been before the release of Apple TV, and because such a service would support and add value to the hardware, which is what Apple really makes money on. Apple has stated (CFO I think the other day) that Apple views the ATV as an alternative to a DVD player whose content is predominatly provided by rental through NetFlix and BlockBuster in this country.

Um, they didn't up the quality for Front Row. They upped the quality with iTunes 7 and when they put Movies in the iTunes store at the same event where they showed off iTV (as it was known then)

If you were to download a 720p Movie off of iTunes, you'd want to shoot yourself when you saw how long it would take. Currently Near DVD quality for me takes about an hour and a half, and I think that's at above average speeds (3 Mbps, I think most people, in America anyways have 768 kbps to 1.5 Mbps)

AT&T though, was just a thought being thrown around, not an actual suggestion.

So no, the quality doesn't explain the lack of a rental service.

Sebastian
Þ & þ are called "Thorn" & þey represent þe sound you've associated "th" wiþ since þe 13þ or 14þ century. I'm bringing it back.
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post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
From all the discussion which has been going on as to whether it is a good idea, or a bad one, desirable or not desirble, to have music and/or movie subscriptions, and whether Apple should or would... I take it that the consensus is that IT COULD be done?! All I really wondered was whether a real time clock feature could be added to iPods and ALLOW for an option of a music subscription... not that they should, or would... I just wondered if they COULD.

It has been fun to read all the different views on this though. I personally like the option of discovering new music in a simple one spot location and then actually purchasing that which I want to own forever...I am lazy or have not enough time...

Thanks
post #15 of 15
Well I don't think anyone specifically said you could.... and I'm not entirely sure it's possible with the way FairPlay is designed now which is why I haven't said too much on whether it is fully possible.

Sebastian
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