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AlBlue’s Blog

Macs, Modularity and More

Movie downloads and new hardware ...

2006 Mac

The recent Mac announcement fell broadly in line with projections; as expected, there wasn't an iPhone launched (although there is a consumer event happening in January, when Leopard is officially announced), and the iPod range was refreshed (including the diminutively sized iPod Shuffle, which looks more like an after-eight mint with a belt clip). I wonder how long it will be before Amy wants an iPod in brushed metal pink...

The announcement of the movie service was also expected, though at 15$ a movie, it's probably more than is justifiable at the moment. Of course, only Disney (and subsidiaries) are at the table, but I expect that over time it will become just as much a success as the downloadable music scene was; in fact, the same was also true with TV shows being sold from the iTunes Music Store when it first launched.

Andrew Orlowski (of The Register) doesn't seem to think that the effort is going to fly, under the comment What if Apple held a movie party, but only Disney came? Usually The Reg is quite on-the-ball, but this one seems to miss it. It won't be long before other studios are on-board; by the time Christmas comes around, and with the number of downloads leaping, expect to see some other movie manufactures clamouring to add their content to the catalogue.

The video hardware took me a little by surprise; the iView (or iMedia, or whatever it will be called) seems to run a minor operating system, since the graphics can be used to drive a mini-Front Row-esque type application. It's not clear whether you will be able to run other applications, or whether it's just a video client. In fact, it's so small, you could even imagine mounting it inside a wall behind a flat screen display.

But the main reason I think that the movie service will be successful is that there's no (legal) way of converting current DVDs to on-line content. So, by selling it as on-line content in the first place, people will be able to use the hardware and software in Mac OS X to be able to run their movies. There's obviously a crowd of people that won't want to buy movies like this (not the least of which is those that use Linux or other devices such as PSPs) -- but they are also unlikely to be the kind of people that would buy music, either, and that's not stopped Apple from doing well in that regard.