Sunday, January 20, 2008

What's in the wind?

The air, of course - being the MacBook Air, as announced at the MacWorld expo last week. It looks, well, thin, and is certainly expensive - but then again so was the iPhone, and that seems to be selling?

Steve Jobs also announced AppleTV take 2, with a big change of emphasis, taking the AppleTV from an 'iPod for the living room' tethered to a Mac, into a stand-alone box that can be used to access the iTunes Music Store directly, for renting movies. These rentals, which were announced for US only so far, involve a download, then 30 day authorisation, and a 24 hour window of access from first running a file. Once either deadline expires the movie self-destructs (or maybe asks for more money). In other words - DRM (digital rights management), now with time and access limits in the iTunes environment.

What's the big deal? Remember the reason that the BBC's iPlayer couldn't be ported to Mac (except for streaming, since Dec 25th) - lack of DRM on the Mac platform. And has the BBC noticed this development? Yes, they certainly have, in the person of Ashley Highfield, current head of digital stuff over in White City. (But, as recently announced, to move to Salford's Media City one day). In his own blog:
This, coupled with Apple's (long anticipated) move to a rental model, means that we can look to getting BBC iPlayer onto this platform too, as we should be able to use the rental functionality to allow our programmes to be downloaded, free, but retained for a time window, and then erased, as our rightsholders currently insist.
And maybe there's good news for the rest of us, too, with the possibility one day of gathering income from podcasts (he says with feeling!).

Phil

Footnote - yes I know I promised to have Series 2 of 'Out of Vision' up and running: I must plead variously pressure of other projects and a 5 day loss of broadband connection (thank you Orange Broadband). But coming Real Soon Now