Apple executives dodge data center, FaceTime questions in earnings call

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
As usual, Apple's executives kept close to a carefully prepared script on the company's stellar financial results, being careful not to reveal too much about the company's future plans, including its data center cloud services and broader open support for FaceTime video calling.



When asked about progress on the company's $1 billion data center being built in North Carolina, Peter Openheimer only said, "North Carolina is on schedule. Everything is going fine."



"We expect to complete it by the end of the calendar year, and begin to use it," Openheimer added when asked for details on the project's schedule.



Nothing else slipped about the new 500,000 square foot project, which is five times larger than the company's current data center in Newark, California. The new center is expected to be used to expand the company's rapidly growing iTunes music, apps, and iBooks stores as well as handling its online cloud services such as MobileMe.



The new data center is also rumored to be related to Apple's years old project code named iTunes Replay, an effort to deliver media streaming of users' own content to their mobile devices directly from Apple's servers, allowing them to watch movies and TV and listen to music from any device without having to store large download files.



Such a service is also rumored to support a new low cost, iOS-based replacement to Apple TV, enabling a diskless device that streams content from the cloud rather than storing and syncing download files locally. Having the project completed at the end of the year suggests that Apple may launch the service early next year.



Apple isn't interested in talking about it because the company faces the potential for competition in direct media streaming from Google and others. Additionally, a consortium of companies including Sony, Samsung, Nokia, Adobe, Cisco, HP, Toshiba, Microsoft and Intel are backing a new DRM scheme called UltraViolet that is intended to allow users to stream protected content to mobile devices from the cloud.



DéjÃ* vu-RM: Apple vs UltraViolet



Apple isn't affiliated with UltraViolet, which will apparently prevent the new content from working with the installed base of 100 million iOS devices sold, including the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Apple's close ally Disney is also refraining to join the program, which is being supported by other big studios including NBC Universal, Fox, Paramount, and Warner Bros.



Microsoft's previous efforts to build a consortium around its PlaysForSure music DRM (which was supported by many of the same hardware makers, including Sony, Samsung, Nokia and Toshiba, as well as the music studios) failed after consumers selected Apple's iPod and iTunes (which didn't support PlaysForSure) over devices and music stores affiliated with the PlaysForSure logo.



Microsoft started over in 2007 with PlayReady, a recycled version of the company's DRM-consortium efforts based on Silverlight. While supported by mobile giant Nokia and others, the PlayReady format is similarly not supported by Apple's iPod and iOS devices and therefore failed to gain much traction. The growth of media DRM supported by Adobe's Flash platform has similarly been thwarted on mobile devices because Apple's iOS does not support Flash.



Sony also failed in its short-lived attempt to create its own ATRAC DRM system branded Connect, which sold protected media files that only worked on Windows PCs and Sony hardware including the PSP and some Sony Ericsson phones.



Real Networks similarly floated its own DRM scheme named Helix Harmony that attempted to become popular by promising compatibility with iPod users, but Apple blocked the system from working on its devices. That move enabled Apple to push studios toward DRM-free tracks, as there was no remaining DRM system they could use to sell music that could be played back by the crucial market of iPod users.



No time for FaceTime



Another topic Apple executives didn't want to discuss was the future of FaceTime, a primary feature of iPhone 4. Currently, FaceTime only works between iPhone 4 users, but chief executive Steve Jobs said Apple would release the specification openly for other companies to adopt. It's also widely expected that Apple will add FaceTime compatibility with its desktop iChat AV program, enabling Mac users to initiate video calls with iPhone 4.



When asked about how and when Apple planned to release FaceTime as an open standard, and whether the company would support FaceTime calls from Windows PCs and Macs, chief operations officer Tim Cook said he wanted to focus on financial questions in order to make sure those were all answered.



"Punting that one for another day," Cook replied.
«1

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,468member
    That is training to dodge questions that they obviously can't answer.



    As to FaceTime, if people can't see where that is going then they might as well take a dirt nap.







    Dave
  • Reply 2 of 34
    damn_its_hotdamn_its_hot Posts: 1,173member
    Let them have UltraViolet. I don't suspect Apple is worried about yet another attempt at a new DRM to clog things up. So far Apple's approach seems to work well with music (little or none now) and movies work quite well and unintrusivly.
  • Reply 3 of 34
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 18,515member
    Wow, AI: Are you guys making a separate story of just about every sentence of the answers in the Q&A portion of the earnings call!?



    You could easily bundle these into one or two stories. (Unless, of course, someone is getting paid by the story. )
  • Reply 4 of 34
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,152member
    Quote:

    Another topic Apple executives didn't want to discuss was the future of FaceTime, a primary feature of iPhone 4. Currently, FaceTime only works between iPhone 4 users, but chief executive Steve Jobs said Apple would release the specification openly for other companies to adopt. It's also widely expected that Apple will add FaceTime compatibility with its desktop iChat AV program, enabling Mac users to initiate video calls with iPhone 4.



    FaceTime for iPod Touch and Macs is coming no questions about. I want to see FaceTime as part of AppleTV somehow. Making and receiving video calls using TV will big hit if done right.
  • Reply 5 of 34
    kennmsrkennmsr Posts: 95member
    I thought I'd go looking how the Data Center is progressing from Google Earth, but apparently Apple can not only hide new products and software features but to hide a whole data center. All that is visible off Startown Road is the access road to the new facility the actual site location is hidden by a several year old Sat. Photo. Check it out.



    Apple, Inc, 6081 Startown Road, Maiden, NC 28650-8772



    Latitude: 35°35'20.30"N

    Longitude: 81°15'34.52"W



    Also the Address listed comes up on the wrong side of the divided highway but the Co-ordinates point to the middle of where the data center should be.
  • Reply 6 of 34
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KennMSr View Post


    I thought I'd go looking how the Data Center is progressing from Google Earth, but apparently Apple can not only hide new products and software features but to hide a whole data center. All that is visible off Startown Road is the access road to the new facility the actual site location is hidden by a several year old Sat. Photo. Check it out.



    Apple, Inc, 6081 Startown Road, Maiden, NC 28650-8772



    Latitude: 35°35'20.30"N

    Longitude: 81°15'34.52"W



    Also the Address listed comes up on the wrong side of the divided highway but the Co-ordinates point to the middle of where the data center should be.



    To my knowledge, Google Earth isn't entirely up-to-date. For example, it still shows an empty lot and two-lane road in front of our addition, when there's been a restaurant in that open lot for a few years and the road has been 4 lanes for about 8 months.
  • Reply 7 of 34
    bushman4bushman4 Posts: 791member
    Facetime will have many applications and uses going forward. No comments or info mentioned as an earnings announcement is not the place to hype new products.

    Be patient, APPLE never disappoints only enthuses.
  • Reply 8 of 34
    kennmsrkennmsr Posts: 95member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    To my knowledge, Google Earth isn't entirely up-to-date. For example, it still shows an empty lot and two-lane road in front of our addition, when there's been a restaurant in that open lot for a few years and the road has been 4 lanes for about 8 months.



    But if you look at Google Earth the Paved Entry road is visible off Startown Road and it's less than a year old but how convenient the adjacent photo image that contains the Data Center was not updated. You'd think Eric Schmidt would want to expose Apple's secret.
  • Reply 9 of 34
    str1f3str1f3 Posts: 573member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


    That is training to dodge questions that they obviously can't answer.



    As to FaceTime, if people can't see where that is going then they might as well take a dirt nap.







    Dave



    If you mean that FaceTime is meant to be the future of how we make calls I completely agree. It seems that Apple is actively working to destroy the telcos. God help them if there is a day of ubiquitous wifi.
  • Reply 10 of 34
    paulmjohnsonpaulmjohnson Posts: 1,380member
    All this DRM bollocks wouldn't be necessary if the content owners would provide a way to get the content where you want, in a convenient way online and at a fair price.



    The example given at the Steve Jobs interview at All Things D, whereby there was a lady who had bought Up on BluRay, but couldn't put the provided DVD into a format that would play on her iPad effectively incentivised just downloading a version with the DRM (copy protection) removed.



    I used to download from Napster in 2000 because there wasn't any way to get music over the web which is how I wanted to get it. As soon as a legal way became available through iTunes, I stopped completely. I know I shouldn't have downloaded from Napster and it's nonesense to say "I had no choice", but I think it shows when there is real demand for something, people will take the legal option if it's available.
  • Reply 11 of 34
    hezekiahbhezekiahb Posts: 448member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Damn_Its_Hot View Post


    Let them have UltraViolet. I don't suspect Apple is worried about yet another attempt at a new DRM to clog things up. So far Apple's approach seems to work well with music (little or none now) and movies work quite well and unintrusivly.



    If google jumps on board this will ruin digital content. People aren't going to chuck their devices for a new age of DRM, just going to push more people to be tempted by piracy. Execs just don't get it, no wonder Apple has had so little trouble cleaning house all these years.
  • Reply 12 of 34
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 547member
    why should apple divulge any information other than what is legally required?
  • Reply 13 of 34
    giosacconegiosaccone Posts: 121member
    This data center is very impressive
  • Reply 14 of 34
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Wow, AI: Are you guys making a separate story of just about every sentence of the answers in the Q&A portion of the earnings call!?



    You could easily bundle these into one or two stories. (Unless, of course, someone is getting paid by the story. )



    Awe don't be hard on them. I like the finer details.
  • Reply 15 of 34
    swiftswift Posts: 436member
    Why are you surprised? What are Apple's future plans for FaceTime? Jobs told you what you know. When we get Facetime for Mac Desktop (likely iChat), Android, Windows, Zondar OS, then we'll announce it. Who the hell do you think we are?
  • Reply 16 of 34
    brucepbrucep Posts: 2,823member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post


    All this DRM bollocks wouldn't be necessary if the content owners would provide a way to get the content where you want, in a convenient way online and at a fair price.



    The example given at the Steve Jobs interview at All Things D, whereby there was a lady who had bought Up on BluRay, but couldn't put the provided DVD into a format that would play on her iPad effectively incentivised just downloading a version with the DRM (copy protection) removed.



    I used to download from Napster in 2000 because there wasn't any way to get music over the web which is how I wanted to get it. As soon as a legal way became available through iTunes, I stopped completely. I know I shouldn't have downloaded from Napster and it's nonesense to say "I had no choice", but I think it shows when there is real demand for something, people will take the legal option if it's available.



    you replied to you own post

    nice

    many of us traded live un released shows ..

    anything else is theft ..no matter how f..d up the music company's are...



    just say your sorry and move on



    9
  • Reply 17 of 34
    kibitzerkibitzer Posts: 1,113member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KennMSr View Post


    I thought I'd go looking how the Data Center is progressing from Google Earth, but apparently Apple can not only hide new products and software features but to hide a whole data center. All that is visible off Startown Road is the access road to the new facility the actual site location is hidden by a several year old Sat. Photo. Check it out.



    Apple, Inc, 6081 Startown Road, Maiden, NC 28650-8772



    Latitude: 35°35'20.30"N

    Longitude: 81°15'34.52"W



    Also the Address listed comes up on the wrong side of the divided highway but the Co-ordinates point to the middle of where the data center should be.



    Big deal. It's not going to look a whole lot different from this video earlier in the year, except the building will be pretty much buttoned up by now, some of the construction trailers will have been moved out and landscaping will be underway. The real activity will be taking place under roof as the data modules are spotted and hooked up and HVAC is completed and ramped up.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDXSS...=youtube_gdata



    Nothing more to see here, folks. Kindly move along.
  • Reply 18 of 34
    aquia33aquia33 Posts: 70member
  • Reply 19 of 34
    sendmesendme Posts: 567member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post


    The example given at the Steve Jobs interview at All Things D, whereby there was a lady who had bought Up on BluRay, but couldn't put the provided DVD into a format that would play on her iPad effectively





    Why doesn't Apple support standard formats on the iPad?
  • Reply 20 of 34
    sendmesendme Posts: 567member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brucep View Post


    many of us traded live un released shows ..

    anything else is theft ..no matter how f..d up the music company's are...






    What you were doing was theft, pure and simple.
Sign In or Register to comment.