The Video iPod

This is an interesting little device. Personally I was hoping for something with bit bigger screen, like the full wide-screen version somebody mocked up in Photoshop before the release. But hey, it’s an iPod, if it does the things it’s market wants, it’ll be a hit. So does it? I’ve been looking around all the content flying about, trying to figure this out.

First off, where’s the market?

  • It’ll be useful for people who want to catch up on T.V. shows they missed the night before, maybe while they’re riding into work on the bus or train.
  • It’ll be useful for people who want to watch something while traveling.
  • It’ll be huge with kids who will carry around the videos of their favorite
    bands. “MP3? That’s so old school!

So to pull this off, we need a few features, which is what I’ve been looking for.

  • 1) Getting content off your PVR and onto the iPod.
  • 2) Getting movies and video onto your iPod.
  • 3) Getting videos off file sharing networks onto your iPod.
  • 4) Getting pictures onto your iPod.

From what I’ve read, number one isn’t going to be possible at all, due mostly to the restrictions the PVR makers put on content, Microsoft’s Media Center included. (Although, if you purchase a Portable Media Center instead of the iPod, it’s possible, but these devices, as usual, look like shit compared with Apple’s design.) Number two will require you to purchase the content through Apple for $1.99. Number three is unknown. I wonder if iTunes will take a raw mpeg, and put it up on the iPod? Number four will of course work through iTunes.

I’m reminded of the web 2.0 session with a group of teenagers. They don’t buy music, they steal it. Hmm. They aren’t going to buy video either. If teenagers can get an mpeg on this thing without paying for it, then I think this little device is going to be a hit with that crowd. Will moms and dads pay $1.99 for that episode of Lost they missed the night before? I doubt it. Viewing pictures, (a hit with every genre of user) and watching rented movies when you don’t have access to a DVD player, that works ifaict if Apple supports it.

We have to wait for the specs on iTunes to come out to see if some of these killer features are available. There are a number of other smaller issues too which could kill this thing, like video quality and the size of the screen. (What happens if kids decide, It’s just not worth it?) But who knows. With Apple’s marketing genius behind this, and the right iTunes features, it is possible Apple has done it again.

UPDATE I found this article on Yahoo that notes a couple things:

Q: How many music videos are available?

A: Apple says 2,000. They are primarily from Universal Music Group and include artists such as Kanye West, U2 and Shania Twain. Apple wouldn’t discuss its deals with labels Wednesday.

Conclusion – not enough, and kids aren’t going to pay for video anyway. So the selection isn’t really an issue.

Q: Can I transfer other video content I own to the video iPod?

A: Yes, non-copy-protected videos (home videos, for example) can be transferred, via Apple’s $29.95 QuickTime Pro 7 software.

Interesting. Apple knows people will want to put non iTunes content on this device. Will a $30.00 middle-man software package be a barrier? I’m not sure. If I were Apple, I would have bundled this functionality with iTunes. It looks like they have added a combersome 3rd step, and I’m not sure that’s going to fly.

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