Aug 162010

A lot of people think Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster is one of the best on the Apple beat. I’d have to agree, but with the quality of analysis out there, that title is kind of dubious. Although I will admit that Gene typically does more research than your garden-variety Apple hack, his latest prognostication about the AppleTV becoming an actual TV, is wrong.

Slightly off-topic, you’ll notice that the above link takes you not to Munster’s musing, but to an All Things Digital article about Munster’s musing. You see, you can’t access Gene’s brain except through a paywall. This is annoying as hell.

Back to (what I can piece together from stories about) Munster’s article. Apple is rumored to be making a dumbed-down AppleTV, perhaps called the iTV. The rumors that this product exists and that it carries the same name as the UK’s oldest commercial network are each responsible for approximately 1 billion stupid Apple-related stories in the past week. Gene is far from the first to report on the rumored iTV, but that won’t stop him from using it to manufacture a nonsensical conclusion based on it. Here’s Munster’s logic, in a nutshell:

-Apple makes a product called the AppleTV, a set-top device capable of playing content purchased from iTunes as well as streaming content you already own. There will soon be a successor to the AppleTV that costs less and does less.

-Apple is building a server farm in North Carolina.

-Apple will offer a television with an integrated Apple media device “in 2-4 years”.

Compelling. To drive his point home beyond question, Munster offers a little price comparison between a $1,999 Apple Television (with a $50 – 90/month iTunes “TV pass”) and all the devices it will replace, including:

  • a 40″ LCD TV: $1,199
  • a Blu-Ray player: $149
  • a cable TV box w/cable service $85/month
  • an audio receiver: $129
  • a DVR: $249 + $12/month
  • a Game Console: $249
  • Cables: $40

So Apple will make a product that incorporates one technology that it has explicitly stated it has no interest in (Blu-Ray), one partnership it has explicitly stated it has no interest in (cable TV), one technology that is already heavily patented (Tivo) and five markets that it doesn’t currently compete in (LCD TVs, cable, receivers, DVRs, and game consoles (no, the iPod/iPhone games don’t count, sorry)). There are some Apple-branded cables though, so Gene’s list isn’t totally without respectable precedent. And he does have “2-4 years” for his prediction to come to fruition, so who knows? I could be taking my fart-powered hovercraft to the Apple Store in 2015 to pick up two.

Jul 202010

TMA once had a dream of ubiquitous media that required 2 things Apple lacked: a buttload of server capacity and a codec that would make HD streaming bandwidth-friendly. Last year, Apple started work on a monster server farm in North Carolina. I speculated of the high-definition Red codec under development at the time:

If this codec materializes‚ even if proprietary‚ it will be “proof of concept” for the folks in Cupertino (who know a thing or two about codecs themselves).  This may be the solution to the bandwidth problem.

TMA just quoted himself in his own blog. And he’s referring to himself in the third person. Awesome.

So yesterday Hardmac, who TMA has never heard of before, threw out a rumor that Apple actually is working on their own codec based on the same wavelet compression Red uses.  Consistent with other Apple-backed codecs like AAC, it’s based on a royalty-free format, so let me be the first to speak on behalf of Cupertino to the freetard community: you’re welcome.

The hardware exists, the library exists, and the capacity soon will. The codec would be the last and arguably most important piece of the puzzle: a low bandwidth way to distribute HD content to Apple devices. Prepare yourselves for one of the biggest “one more things” Apple has ever unleashed.

Oct 292009

When you’re spawning products and updates like Jerry Bruckheimer throws off bad forensic crime dramas (“From the 200x blow-up of this webcam footage, you can clearly make out the perp’s face…”), it must be tough keeping all this stuff straight.

itms 3

Oops! Steve just nuked employee #10,220.

UPDATE: Ars reports that ATV 3.0  is in the wild out and it looks to be worthy of “full point upgrade” status.  TMA’s happy muscles are officially twitching a little jig.

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Aug 202009

Cult of Mac has an interview with Rich Miller of Data Center Knowledge, a site devoted to the data center industry.  Rich speculates that Apple’s reportedly 500‚000 square-foot facility (which would make it one of the largest in the world) suggests a “cloud computing” scale.

Silly rabbit.  Obviously SJ reads TMA and is looking to provide the bandwidth necessary to fulfill my personal fantasy.

May 202009

Every time Apple reports earnings‚ every analyst on the Cupertino beat weighs in with their idea for how Steve should spend his now $30 billion pile of cash.  Most suggest acquisitions of some kind.  The ideas range from the unimaginative to the straight-up retarded (unless someone could explain how you print money with Twitter).  Because I have a blog and a way to upload content‚ I too have an opinion.  Let me frame it for you based on a dream I have for myself and a number of moves Apple has made that would allow this to happen. Continue reading

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