Friday, 14 October 2005

Bobbing for apples

Apple's announcement of a video iPod, iTunes 6 (including obligatory QuickTime update) and Front Row Media Experience was almost too much to digest in one evening. And the closer content ties between Cupertino and the Magic Kingdom, hint at possible merger* plans! At the very least Pixar should continue to leverage Disney's considerable marketing might coupled with vertical integration. In return Disney secures lucrative brands and artistic talent.

Churlish comment alert! In its present form I can't see myself downloading video from iTunes 6. Whilst the image quality surpasses HDTV, it scales poorly (see UMD) and there's no approved way to burn videos in iDVD. Toast 7 is crippled (due to contractual reasons). So, no legal means for me (or any UK viewers for that matter) to watch the new series of Lost (USA only) or Battlestar Galactica (the best sci-fi/tech noir series since Babylon 5, which is unavailable at present). A year from now things could be very, very different! As Master Yoda would say "Patience!"

The decision to use an existing form factor - a slimmer G5 iMac - meant that Apple's media centre proposition is in stores before the holiday season and the computer company can establish a beachhead into an overcrowded market that includes TiVo and Microsoft. Personally, I would suggest that power users wait for the 'star dust' to settle and snatch the first of the Intel-powered machines next year! A portable Mac mini Front Row Media Experience is alluring in the extreme.

It is arguable that Apple is now the custodian of the Capitalist media industry and if they can't get digital distribution of television programs and movies right then no one can!

Never one to be deterred by bleeding-edge technology. I've tested QuickTime Pro's new Movie to iPod (320x240) export option. Here's hoping a 60GB video iPod (in black) is in my stocking this year!

[*A merger between Apple and Disney has been the subject of Wall Street water-cooler conversations since 1997.]