Okay...why Apple needs a video device...

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I know this has been the topic of many threads, but it deserves re-analysis as a question of vision and business models, not of mere technological hurdles or marketing strategies.



I began this from a post in a thread about BuyMusic.com versus iTMS and I think it is relevant as its own thread. Please forgive the time-saving cutting and pasting of my post from that thread.



Apple should produce an iVid or somesuch mp4 player for the same "vision" and "business model" reasons that makes the iPod and iTMS so powerful. Just from reading that orginal iTunes Music Store press release and comparing it to RentMusak.com...I mean BuyMusic.com, it is amazing how much more "big picture" Apple views technology and content!!



Apple seems to be using the business/technology model for iTunes that it has been pursuing with QuickTime...to some extent. It may seem obvious to us, but it is still revolutionary to the industry in that one application can create/produce; download; play; modify, and act as a server for content! From soup to nuts with one application! QuickTime is different from RealOne and WMP (I think)for this reason. Obviously iTunes isn't used for creation...yet (but Emagic?) or for "serving"...yet (you can do remote playback already, though). But I think we can see those functions becoming integrated in the future. That is what Apple is doing with Final Cut as well. Get the creative professionals excited at one end of the process and get the public excited at the other end and find the most elegant conduit to connect the two.



And THAT is key. In multimedia it is what Real tried and gave up on (Real has focused its business more) and it is the Holy Grail that M$ has been trying to emulate.



The problem is that the average Windoze person doesn't have even the chance to grasp this big picture until M$ has reverse engineered and prototyped their own version and squeezed the big picture into XP. By then the masses think M$ invented the thing and couldn't care less about Apple's innovation that started the whole thing. They are used to the lack of elegance and imagination. Not to even mention the hardware integration.



With the iPod, Apple finally has a hardware product that has made it into the monied mainstream and that may drive its software adoption AND service providing businesses. The people that come to Apple through iTMS (windows version) may realize the advantage of one-app-to-product integration and may even see QT as similarly worthwhile, but then again they may just return to their Dell Media Centers priced at $700.



So, that is why there needs to be a video version of the iPod. There needs to be a way for PC folks to experience the advantages of QuickTime and Apple goodness without intially needing to love OSX. Imagine if you will "Switcher" commercials with Peter Jackson (LOTR), Spike Lee and George Lucas watching QT trailers of each other's movies with white backgrounds and the Jeff Golblum successor voice-over...



If iTunes and QTime can become the de facto standards of media playback (and production) on all platforms, THEN in many respects I don't care if Macs never get above 10% of the market, because Apple will be making enough money to stay afloat forever!



Whether the device is a colorLCD iPod or a mini-Tablet or whatever...it doesn't matter. It isn't anymore about killer apps. There aren't going to be anymore killer apps, IMHO.



It isn't even about killer devices. iPods and iSights and such will grab attention in their look and feel for awhile, but....



It is about killer lifestyles! The apps and the devices get out of the way and let people just DO THINGS....after of course the oohs and aahs wear off. I think that is how the digital hub wars will end. Apple needs to produce the best integration of video into the digital lifestyle the way the iPod has begun to with the audio digital lifestyle, and that means a portable video device
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 27
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Yawn...all Canon and Sony and all other reasonable company's cameras work absolutely awesome with iMovie, etc.
  • Reply 2 of 27
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Placebo

    Yawn...all Canon and Sony and all other reasonable company's cameras work absolutely awesome with iMovie, etc.



    Yes, but it's not about the camera.
  • Reply 3 of 27
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Apple already licenses various bits of QuickTime to a host of digital still and video camera makers. It's there, it's just in the cameras.



    And don't forget, it's also the engine behind iTunes.



    More importantly, though, QT is moving to open standards, which means that it can author content aimed at cell phones and what-have-you, running some completely different software that also implements the MPEG-4 standard. And this is where the real fun is: Document-level interoperability, so that content isn't limited to the platform(s) that one company considers to be worth targeting.
  • Reply 4 of 27
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    Apple already licenses various bits of QuickTime to a host of digital still and video camera makers. It's there, it's just in the cameras.



    Exactly, QT is already at the "production" end.

    Quote:

    And don't forget, it's also the engine behind iTunes.



    That's right, I forgot about that!

    Quote:

    More importantly, though, QT is moving to open standards, which means that it can author content aimed at cell phones and what-have-you, running some completely different software that also implements the MPEG-4 standard. And this is where the real fun is: Document-level interoperability, so that content isn't limited to the platform(s) that one company considers to be worth targeting.



    Standards support 3rd parties and seemless document-level interoperablility allows QT to become itself a standard or at least the best form of the standard.



    However, it still needs something elegant and lifestyle "enhancing" on the consumer end that isn't tied to the PC...supported by the PC, but not tied to the PC.
  • Reply 5 of 27
    g-dogg-dog Posts: 171member
    Couldn't they integrate a simple color screen into the iPod sucha as the ones being used by the Gameboy Advance?



    This wouln't be awesome video quality, but it would be something.



    It ws just a shot in the dark.
  • Reply 6 of 27
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,517member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by G-Dog

    Couldn't they integrate a simple color screen into the iPod sucha as the ones being used by the Gameboy Advance?



    This wouln't be awesome video quality, but it would be something.



    It ws just a shot in the dark.




    I think that rather than add a color screen to an iPod I'd like to see something like a tablet or a small laptop for viewing video. Something with at least a 10 inch screen.
  • Reply 7 of 27
    MacGregor— you're not related to kormac, are you?
  • Reply 8 of 27
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    I hate to say it, but I don't see tiny/portable video-playback-devices ever gaining widespread popularity. They've existed for decades with quite reasonable ease-of-use and pricing.



    Back in the eighties, you could record video onto audio cassette and playback on a toaster sized crt/vcr. Next, came 8mm portable devices, some of them even had LCD screens. Today, pocket TVs with color screens are available for 100 dollars. There are also numerous discman sized DVD players. These devices are easy to use in the minds of most consumers. Hand them one and they immediately know how to use it. Broadcast TV and DVDs offer a huge selection of content. For some reason, portable, tape-based display devices never became popular despite the use of well-known and cheap standards such as audio cassettes. However, there are even mini-cdr video playback devices available from companies like sony.



    The problem isn't that the devices are too large or too hard to use. Nor is the problem prohibitive pricing.



    The vast majority of people simply aren't interested in watching tiny screens no matter the price or convenience.
  • Reply 9 of 27
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by GardenOfEarthlyDelights

    MacGregor— you're not related to kormac, are you?



    Ha Ha, no. This thread doesn't come close to a kormac speculation! I have supported kormacs willingness to take speculations to the next level, but I never thought he had any particular inside info beyond possible knowledge of some case designs.



    I was the next poster on one of his threads when he accidently put his real name on his signature. He was pretty harshly trashed back then and luckily the mod caught it quickly and took it off.
  • Reply 10 of 27
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dfiler

    I hate to say it, but I don't see tiny/portable video-playback-devices ever gaining widespread popularity. They've existed for decades with quite reasonable ease-of-use and pricing.



    Back in the eighties, you could record video onto audio cassette and playback on a toaster sized crt/vcr. Next, came 8mm portable devices, some of them even had LCD screens. Today, pocket TVs with color screens are available for 100 dollars. There are also numerous discman sized DVD players. These devices are easy to use in the minds of most consumers. Hand them one and they immediately know how to use it. Broadcast TV and DVDs offer a huge selection of content. For some reason, portable, tape-based display devices never became popular despite the use of well-known and cheap standards such as audio cassettes. However, there are even mini-cdr video playback devices available from companies like sony.



    The problem isn't that the devices are too large or too hard to use. Nor is the problem prohibitive pricing.



    The vast majority of people simply aren't interested in watching tiny screens no matter the price or convenience.




    I agree that there is a qualitative difference between portable audio and video. First, you can listen to music while driving, sitting on the bus, hanging out on the beach, etc. With video, you have to focus on the screen and that takes concentration and you have to have good quality to make that really worth the effort.



    So yes, you need high quality and there is a minimum size screen that you must offer to make it compelling. Also you have to have compelling content.



    Content is key. I know you can get tiny TV's but so what, you are watching TV!?!? So that is not an argument against an mp4 player.



    Portable DVD players have the content, but they are bulky and don't take abuse well and you have to carry around DVD's as well as the player. They are like portable CD players. They are good, but portable CD players haven't kept the iPod from being popular. Portable DVD players won't keep a portable mp4 player from being popular. So that is not an argument against it either. CDr is in the same boat.



    The failure of tape-based devices has to do with content and the quality of the data and does not reflect the utility of mp4 players in any way in my opinion.



    Portable mp3 players are popular because they hold LOTS of CD's that you don't need to carry. The iPod has LOTS of I/O bandwidth (FW) so it doesn't take long to download and make playlists. iPods have an entire infrastructure on the desktop to get content and edit content so that it becomes as fun to obtain mp3's as it is to listen to them.



    If and when video has the same

    presence that audio has currently, then I think portable video content can become compelling. It will never be as big as audio, but it doesn't need to be. TV didn't replace radio or theaters. I just think no one has been able to make the experience of getting and playing content compelling yet.



    So now we are back to the quality of the experience and yes, that means a particular resolution and a particular screen size and quality sound and content that is worthwhile for one person to watch while alone. I think such a device is close to being possible. It needs technology, pricing and again, just like for the iPod, the infrastructure.



    Add to that the ability to be a portable harddrive, game player, mini-pda, 'a la iPod, then I think it is a very compelling product.



    It may take awhile for personal video viewing on the go to be compelling to many people...the internet wasn't all that compelling when it first started out. But once the experience evolves, it can be significant. And that's all it needs to be.
  • Reply 11 of 27
    algolalgol Posts: 833member
    hehe wonderful! Your right or course but apple can only afford to do so much at a time. Music first in a few years video.
  • Reply 12 of 27
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    Quote:

    The vast majority of people simply aren't interested in watching tiny screens no matter the price or convenience.



    But they are interesting in hooking up an iPod to a TV.



    If only everything had FireWire. Oh, and Wintel didn't exist. \
  • Reply 14 of 27
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    I am absolutely 100% with you MacGregor. I've been arguing for this for a year or so. I do actually believe that Apple have such a product in the pipeline.
  • Reply 15 of 27
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member


    NOW we're talkin! Nice link nevoz. It even has a Techno-Apple look. Alot better than this one....

    http://www.clubmac.com/clubmac/shop/...email,cwb00389



    Maybe someone else can get an image grab from the GQ link above.
  • Reply 16 of 27
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    I note that it's not uncommon for movie "pirates" to d/l a ripped version of a feature film, "preview" it on their computer, and then go see it in the theater anyway if they liked it, simply because the theater experience is so much better than watching a movie on a computer. For the same reason, VCRs merely augmented theaters rather than killing the industry (as the movie industry feared they would). For the same reason, huge TVs and home theater systems are gaining ground rapidly.



    There are applications for small video screens that involve either brief clips or relatively simple problems (such as one person's face in an iChat AV session). They're also useful for quickly previewing and reviewing content in a video camera. But asking someone to watch anything even as long as a TV show on a little tiny screen is asking too much. It's a "Video Jr." experience.



    I do like the idea of a video-savvy iPod that could catalog videos the way it catalogs songs, and stream them out to a television when they're selected (although they'd have to add more RAM or keep the hard drive from burning out). Maybe it could be smart enough to only play the audio track if it wasn't connected to a video playback device of some kind.
  • Reply 17 of 27
    macgregormacgregor Posts: 1,434member
    I think it is time to describe what "tiny screen" actually means. There is obviously a minimum size that people can watch for any length of time, but I'm tired of reading people trash the "tiny screen" when there are designs out there that aren't tiny at all and no one really define what "too small" really is.



    And as I've said before, I'm sure there are those same people decrying that the screen of a hand-held video player would be too small are also some of the same people feverously downloading the latest Steve Jobs keynote or Matrix trailer and watching the EXACT SAME SIZE IMAGE ... it just happens they are watching the exact same size image on their 19" LCD Apple display but don't notice the irony.



    I also see that a person might never want to watch Lawrence of Arabia on a hand-held, but with Flash and other animation techniques becoming common place, there will be a large amount of content that is appropriate for a smaller format.



    So anyway, back to the question of "What is too small?"



    Take a Palm or Visor and hold it horizontally in your hand with the buttons on the right. If the entire screen were a 3x4 color hi-res LCD, would that be too small to watch video content? Also add stereo earbuds to make the experience more compelling...now is it too small?



    Okay, now don't think about sitting at home where your 35" TV and DVD player are sitting there begging to be watched...pretend you are watching the Animatrix video that has been downloaded from your iMac via FW800. You started watching it on the 17" iMac, but you didn't finish and you want to watch it while waiting for a plane. On your hand-held you can pause, slow-mo and rewind at will without distortion. You can watch it for 15 minutes or so until you get tired of it and then you can review your Keynote presentation slide-by-slide, that you also downloaded before leaving the office. You could use your laptop, but you don't need it because you aren't going to edit it the presentation anyway. Then before falling asleep on the plane you watch one of the exclusive Sheryl Crow videos that you bought from the iTMS.



    These are uses for video that don't require a large investment of time a large screen format or concentrated viewing.



    Forget price and technology now....how big would the screen have to be to make that a compelling scenario?
  • Reply 18 of 27
    I think a 4 x 6 inch oled screen would be nice on a hand held device as long as it had outs that could connect to a larger TV if desired. Since it is hard drive based, it would also be nice to see some recording and TiVo functionality in some portable fashion.



    Of course, with hollywood being way more strict than the music industry, I think the chance of hard drive portable movies will remain only a hackers dream for many a year. It's really annoying too, since many people record onto VCR all the time off of TV. Oh well, different topic.



    4 x 6 is my vote. Good pocket size. Just like a standard photograph. But I would like it to be really good resolution.
  • Reply 19 of 27
    nevoznevoz Posts: 44member
    it seems the lyra will be available in October (in UK)



    http://www.datamind.co.uk/Templates/...066&SearchYN=N



    I don't know if I'll buy one. It seems too bulky for music and there are no video applications yet.. ok there are a lot of films but you can watch them only when you sit down and waiting for something.. If you travel a lot and work, you have a powerbook with you..

    I think it will work only if you can surf the web.. but this is a PDA and they have already done...



    I am an architect and I am waiting for something to sketch and take notes and record them: the pda are too small for sketching and the ibook is too big.. and is impossible to sketch while standing.. I use pencil and paper but i would like to record drawings in vector file! Probably the tablet.. but is too expensive, is M$, and has only two hours of life... Newton for me is the right size but... you know is dead...



    I think we will discuss a lot and only when will be possible to shrink a powerPC in a pocket size we will see something good.. (our friend oqo; www.oqo.com) a newton size ibook..
  • Reply 20 of 27
    I admit it, you have intriged me. It does seem like a logical next step to do to movies, what Apple has already done to music. Namely first come out with a portable movie player that doesn't suck tm and then come out with a service to offer movies for said portable movie player. However, things are a bit differerent, for one, music on a computer as a concept has been around for a long time before apple ever stepped foot in the mp3 (AAC whateva) market. Napster was the real pioneer here as far as public consciousness is concerned. Movies, not so much, sure, many people probably have DVD players in their computers, and they can play DVDs, but, my guess is that most of them don't watch DVDs on their PC (myself included). And as far as ripping movies in a digital format like mpeg2 or mpeg4, that really isn't very common outside a small group of computer litterates. The teeming masses of computerdom have not yet embraced that medium. Like digital music, digital movies will be an uphill battle for Apple to overcome, because the movie producers don't want to give up their power in movie distribution. Of course, that doesn't mean that it isn't possible, just that it would be tough.



    Perhaps someone with computer graphics skills could whip up a design so I could get a better idea of what this portable movie playing device might look like. Also, what would you need technologically to make this happen. You would need a heck of a battery I assume, so, wouldn't that make your portable movie player too heavy? Just some food for thought



    John
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