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The Conversation: Apple’s September Music Event

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Today, Apple announced a bunch of stuff and I had a chance to talk to my good friend, technophile and ADD-addled polymath Jere Krischel, and that went a little something like this …

JK: iPod Shuffle – FAIL. Put the buttons back in, but dropped the capacity to 2GB.
HT: Yeah, I didn’t even notice that
JK: iPod Nano – FAIL. Cool new interface, lost the camera and video.
HT: Losing the camera and video was a huge mistake.
HT: I concur with both of those points.
JK: iPod Touch – sweet goodness. Fancy dancy face time over wifi should be cool.
HT: iPod Touch was where my attention was focused.
HT: It’s sole problem is the relatively odd hard drive space/price ratio
HT: Big mistake
JK: iPod Touch is a gaming device/PDA – thinking of it as a media server is misguided.
HT: If, however, they came up with a “use your iPod Touch to access music/video on your Apple TV through, say, mac.com,” that’d be okay.
JK: I’m of the opinion that the iPod Touch 8GB is more than plenty if you get your local AirVideo server up.
JK: So far, the killer app on the iPod Touch/iPad is AirVideo
HT: Clarify your point, please?
JK: put all your stuff on your Mac, set up an AirVideo server, and it streams anything you can imagine
JK: does on the fly conversion
JK: so all my crazy mkv and avi and mp4 formats all come together
HT: You mean Airplay?
HT: Or what’s this you’re discussing?
JK: No, it’s called AirVideo it’s a $1.99 iPod/iPad app, plus a server install
HT: fascinating!
JK: Essentially means I don’t need a lot of hard drive space on the iPad/iPod touch
JK: I can access my whole 1TB library over wifi at home
HT: Does it work remotely?
JK: and once I have a fat pipe, I could do it from anywhere
HT: ah, that’s the question
HT: all righty then
JK: now, theoretically, I could use live video conversion at a very low bitrate, and do it now over the internet
JK: and it would look all pixelly
JK: but I’d rather wait for a fat pipe
JK: Apple TV – FAIL. Rent TV shows? Rent them? Hook me up with Hulu, then we’ll talk.
HT: Exactly, The price point is right, but the lack of on board storage means your existing library is ignored.
HT: The big thing I wanna discuss, however, is Ping, which could be the smartest idea today, which could be Apple’s long tail plan if I read right.
JK: Bing/Ping – lawsuit waiting to happen :)
HT: Well, they’d be more concerned about ping.fm
HT: which is also social networking minded
HT: but it would explain Apple shoving the “connect to iTunes” mantra down people’s throat the last few years
JK: Yeah, I’m still wary of the whole social media thing
JK: it’s essentially saying, “please, I need a big brother!”
HT: I know it’s not your bag, but from a business standpoint it’s scarily smart. In one felled swoop, they have a humongous installed base that can easily use their new network with no new logins, no real learning curve.
HT: Many of those people already are hugely online and very comfortable with that lifestyle
HT: Last.fm is in big trouble.
JK: Oh yeah, Ping is going to drop Facebook stock like crazy for sure … what the really need to do is just open up MobileMe for free. That’d be a Facebook killer.
HT: That would do it
JK: If they dropped from $99/year to $5/year, I’d bite too
HT: They’re also smart hooking up the concert data
HT: so now they can make really good relationships with artists
JK: Gotta say, though, they need to clean up the whole iTunes store interface … I hope Ping is a bit more usable.
HT: If you use social networking, you’d be very familiar with it
HT: It takes the best of Facebook, from what I saw.
HT: You don’t know anything about Foursquare, do you?
JK: Nope. I’m a Luddite :)
HT: heh
HT: Well, they do location-based “check ins,” which you can now do with concert and music venue stuff on Ping.
HT: Very smart
HT: However, I’m wondering if they will keep you totally in the iTunes infrastructure to see this data or if you can see people’s shared data on the web (like this)
HT: I can see arguments for both
JK: Well, I think that’s the whole point – make you feel more connected to the whole music thing
HT: I use the RSS of that for a sidebar on my blog.
JK: Morrisey? Really?
JK: And Madonna? Your secrets are out, man :)
HT: Also: I am unapologetic in loving classic Madonna and almost all of Morrisey’s work
JK: OMG. Stacey Q. You must’ve been singing in the shower for that one :)
HT: I was actually working on something here at the office.
HT: But you’re practically proving my point — analyzing people’s choices, looking over their playlists — conversation starters.
HT: Brilliant move to shoehorn that into all the iOS devices already out there.
JK: Yup, brilliant stuff – I just don’t listen to music enough anymore
HT: True, but for music mavens, creating a sticky content source flow of data for websites would be a good widget.
JK: Mostly I’m watching torrented TV
HT: This would encourage casual listening
HT: A *lot*
HT: It ups the game from what Last.fm does significantly
JK: My problem is I’m more interested in playing music than listening…I love the Garageband artist lessons, for example
HT: but from a closed infrastructure, only for people who play on Apple devices or are willing to run iTunes where they are.
HT: *chuckle*
HT: Well, Apple always has something for the musician, that’s a core constituency.
JK: Yeah, I guess my problem with music now is that most of the new stuff is crap, and I need it to age 20-30 years before I start listening to it
JK: I don’t even turn the radio on in the car – always tuned into NPR
HT: That’s your dad talking, not you. I could show you ten amazing songs, starting with the Janelle Monae song I’m listening to now, that proves scientifically that modern music is as good as music in any era.
HT: What you probably also don’t see is the iAd possibility of all the eyeballs that Ping suddenly opens up.
JK: The problem is the signal to noise ratio – for every ten amazing songs you’ve found, you had to filter through 1000 pieces of shit
HT: Maybe 300, but yes. OTOH, I *love* new music and seek it out voraciously
JK: Yup, you’re a music maven, which is why I don’t feel any need to listen to the 300 crap songs before getting your recommendations :)
JK: Same thing with TV really – I generally don’t watch anything you haven’t vetted ahead of time.
HT: iAd has some real hooks in this, a whole lotta eyeballs looking at this service. Apple’s poised to make a mint with that.
HT: If they make an N900-friendly version of iTunes, I may get sucked into this.
HT: Especially since they’re now on the sidebar of my site and on that URL
HT: You’ll note I didn’t “love” the Stacey Q track.
JK: Liar :)
HT: Check it
JK: No, I mean, you lied when you didn’t check it :)
HT: *Hannibal rolls his eyes*
JK: I’m getting you a Stacey Q poster for Kwanzaa now :)
HT: If you do that, I’m getting you a lifetime supply of Cool Ranch Doritos [NOTE: Jere hates carbs relentlessly]
JK: :)
HT: So do you think you’ll buy anything from Apple’s new crop of products here?
HT: (and an aftermarket last-gen Nano with a camera might be worth grabbing for GP)
JK: Yeah, probably the iPod Touch – maybe a 32gb one
JK: it looks snazzy, but it’ll delay my iPad purchase for sure
HT: I’m thinking one of those could find its way into my household
HT: I’d want the 64GB for myself, but it’s a hard business case to spend a car payment on that.
JK: :)
HT: My rent back in 2000 was just $415 for a single apartment.
JK: Again, I think the 64 is overkill – 32 seems to be the sweet spot, but I could probably get away with 8
HT: I couldn’t fit two playlists on 8GB.
HT: I could cut all my “lemme have this if people ask me to play something” stuff and make 32 work.
JK: But it’s not for the music – it’s for the games
JK: Music should be streamed to your ipod
HT: Illogical in the field
HT: Wi fi isn’t quite ubiquitous enough yet.
HT: … oh crap, I forgot … how much disk space do apps take up?
JK: couple of hundred megs for big games
JK: 8GB is plenty of space
JK: I say keep with the 160GB classic for your music, and the iPod Touch is like your PSP replacement
HT: I don’t have a 160GB classic
HT: but with the GTA games coming and the great Transformers game I saw, I could see that replacing my PSP.
HT: Which was a big honking thing and had less-than-useful Wi-Fi.
JK: I just wish Verizon would get the iPhone
JK: that’s my killer device
JK: I might even wait on the whole iPod touch thing in anticipation of it
JK: I want *one* thing in my pocket
HT: Your quixotic nature always amuses me
JK: Well, the windmills are there, someone has to tilt at them :)
HT: I’m close to one thing in my pocket. As you see, I’m doing music from my N900. It has some quirks I don’t like, though.
HT: Spirit forbid you wanna web surf while you’re listening to music. 600 MHZ processor gets all skippy.
JK: Yeah, the N900 looks solid, but it’ll always be niche
HT: I’m all over that niche
JK: Yup, they built it for you, and you’ll probably still be holding it in 2020 :)
HT: Well
JK: It reminds me of the Sony Clie
HT: If Nokia makes a bigger screen, bigger keyboard, tilting slider that matches my MacBook Pro visually … I’d kind of *have* to have it.
HT: If it had a bigger HD and still took big MicroSD … it’d be amazing.
HT: Powered by Maemo/Meego, of course.
HT: I am loving the Linux stylings of this thing.
JK: Yeah, all very good mojo, no doubt … just not as slick and tasty as an iPhone :)
HT: I’ve used it. On screen QWERTY is a FAIL to me.
HT: Which isn’t to say I wouldn’t try to email on an iPod Touch
HT: in a rush
JK: Well, their pop-up letters kick ass compared to a Blackberry – it sucks donkey balls
HT: That’s like saying “throwing up beats getting stabbed.” Factually true, but still not interesting.
JK: :)

Reasons I’m strongly considering an iPod Touch …

  • Music
  • Gaming
  • Surfing
  • HD Video
  • Watching video

Things I’m still wondering about?

  • Will Ping’s song stream feed RSS? Be viewable outside of iTunes?
  • Will non iTunes-purchased music work or is this for “insider” data only?
  • I’ve got big privacy concerns with Apple at the gates. Once upon a time, Google wasn’t evil, too.

Wired said it best: Ping is “Twitter meets Facebook at Last.fm’s and Rdio’s shared apartment to plan MySpace’s funeral.” That’s the big news in my mind … but I wouldn’t mind an iPod Touch nowadays …

Watching (Hulu): White Collar, Prisoner’s Dilemma

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