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The Apple Broadcast Network 190

Posted by timothy
from the interesting-future-ahead dept.
Hodejo1 writes "In 1959 5,749,000 television sets were sold in the US, bringing the cumulative total of sets sold since 1950 to 63,542,128 units. This number supported, through advertising, three national television networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS (a fourth, Dumont, folded in 1956) and numerous local independent stations. Now here are another set of numbers. As of April this year Apple sold 75 million iPhone and iPod touch units, devices capable of delivering video via Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. Add to that figure 2 million iPads and counting. By the end of the year Apple should have about 90 million smart mobile devices in the wild. That makes a proprietary amalgam greater than what the TV networks had in 1959 and one that easily serves as a foundation for a pending broadcast network that will be delivered not through tall radio towers, but through small wireless hubs and the Internet. Call it the Apple Broadcast Network. iAd is how Apple plans to pay for it."
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The Apple Broadcast Network

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  • by ravenspear (756059) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:33PM (#32471812)
    They've already "paid for it" with the bucketloads of cash they've made from selling all the devices.
  • by phantomfive (622387) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:39PM (#32471856) Journal
    As often happens when someone is trying to support their position, these numbers are exaggerated. A lot of people have bought two iPhones, so there really aren't that many iPhones out in the wild. The phones are not all in the US, either, and an iPod touch with nothing but wifi may not be the best media delivery system.

    In other words, if your business plan (or anything real, other than a slashdot story) depends on these numbers, you better dig deeper so you know what you are really dealing with.
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scareduck (177470) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:42PM (#32471868) Homepage Journal
    How do you get from "people own devices made by X" to "X has a network"? Dumbest. Story. Idea. Ever.
  • Yay Apple (Score:0, Insightful)

    by thomasw_lrd (1203850) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:42PM (#32471872)

    Once again another apple story with no point. The climate in 1959 was much different than it is today. They only had radio and uhhm, tv. There was no internet, no video games. It was either watch tv at home or go to the movies. Today we have so many more options.

  • by DMiax (915735) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:45PM (#32471878)

    Of course, since there was a story on Microsoft on the front page, we had to see this baseless speculation of a random guy on the net. I suppose everyone wants this stories, because they keep coming...

    As for the subject I understand they have a content distribution network called iTunes and it works quite well. They will produce the iFridge before ever creating two competing products. Is there any point at all in this speculation?

  • Uhh, 1959? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thenextstevejobs (1586847) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:54PM (#32471926)
    Anyone care to enlighten me to why the ___ it matters how many Apple devices there are compared to how many TVs there were in 1959? Somebody playing madlibs with summaries?
  • Ads (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RafaelAngel (249818) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:55PM (#32471932)

    I despise how everything I now want to interact with (TV, Internet, video games, the old paper media) must be all based on ads. Can't somebody think of a better way? And if I have a subscription, can't I receive an ad free version. Thank (your favorite deity) for AdBlock and the mute button. I remember a time when there were only two commercial breaks when watching a TV program, now it's four. It sometimes feels like there is more commercials than actual program. I demand that these media outlets pay me for watching these ads. I might actually pay attention to them if I was paid to watch them.

  • by LoverOfJoy (820058) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:58PM (#32471944) Homepage
    The whole family (which was larger on average back then compared to now) would gather around a single TV to watch together back in 1959. Iphones and even Ipads aren't really conducive to shared viewing like that.
  • Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Puk (80503) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @07:59PM (#32471956)
    In 1959, the television broadcast networks were competing with... radio? Today, Apple is competing with an enormous number of Windows- (and Linux-, Android-, WebOS-...) based Internet-connected laptops (and desktops, phones, PDAs, tablets...) capable of showing the same quality video. Oh, and with television (broadcast, cables, satellite...), which has grown a bit since 1959.

    -puk
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 05, 2010 @08:10PM (#32471996)

    Apple has nothing to say that I find worth hearing. Apple has nothing to show that I find worth seeing.

    Remember, if you say you like Apple and express interest in their products and services, you are just giving an opinion.

    If you say in a non-inflammatory way that you don't like Apple and do not have an interest in their products and services, why then you are "-1, Flamebait".

    Yup, nothing hypocritical about that, mods.

  • Nobody wants to pay to download ads, just like nobody wants to pay to download Wired magazine's 500 megabyte iPad edition (which is what happens when you cancel flash support and leave everyone scrambling).
  • by causality (777677) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @08:20PM (#32472040)

    With net neutrality not an issue, I wonder if AT&T will have its arm twisted into giving "free" passage to any Apple specified content where it doesn't contribute to the cap, while anything from Hulu, YouTube, and other places get charged the metered rates. This way, users end up going to Apple's content because it doesn't cost them anything.

    If Apple resorts to this, then that'd be a great reason to avoid Apple's content at all costs as a form of protest against a business practice that needs to be nipped in the bud and discouraged as early in the game as possible. I'm not saying the sheeple will do that, as they are not generally known for considering the full implications of their actions i.e. whether they are encouraging a business practice that is not in their interests. I'm just saying that it's a great reason independent of whether they are capable of appreciating and acting on it.

  • by Crash Culligan (227354) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @08:28PM (#32472080) Journal

    ravenspear: They've already "paid for it" with the bucketloads of cash they've made from selling all the devices.

    dmacleod808: Well said... AT&T's new tiered 3G plans will kill this easily... I can watch unlimited Television for free (broadcast networks of course).

    It's interesting that you two are overlooking the same thing from different angles.

    ravenspear has neglected to take into account that television is not free to broadcast. Even without government regulations and licensing, you have to have a transmitter, and either a live performance (lights, cameras) and/or some recorded performance (playback hardware) to transmit. The electricity alone would be monstrously expensive, and needs to be paid for somehow (say, advertising).

    And you're citing AT&T's tiered plans as being a stopper because you think nobody on the receiving end would pay for the service. How do you watch broadcast television without paying for it? Because the broadcaster pays for the transmitter.

    So what would happen if a significant chunk of iAd's revenue went into paying an ISP system or carrier for the bandwidth? I could only see it working this way, if you cast the phone's/pad's/computer's user as the audience, Apple itself as the network, and the ISP (or just one primary choice of ISP) as the nigh-inertial cost of doing business.

    I can easily imagine reasons why they wouldn't do this—AT&T's 3G coverage and the fact that the iPhone and similar devices are already straining their networks for two. But then again, I thought the hassles of dealing with a mobile phone carrier would be sufficient to keep the iPhone from becoming a reality, so what do I know?

  • by C_Kode (102755) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @08:39PM (#32472132) Journal

    They may have sold that many, but there aren't that many in use. I'm guessing somewhere near 25% of those 75 million (15-18 million) are out of use. (damaged or retired/upgraded)

    Not that it matters really to the story, just making it know that the numbers are overstated.

  • by gig (78408) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @08:47PM (#32472180)

    The reason Apple is doing iAds is to improve the experience of in-app ads. User like free and $1-2 apps, and so developers have been putting ads in their apps and the ads are very basic and they take you out to the Web. So iAds are advertising-focused mini HTML5 apps that run inside native C apps, and keep you in your app.

    If used in a media app, they may support media, like a free Hulu app. But they work on all kinds of apps.

    Besides, $8.99 a month for Netflix on iPad absolutely destroys Hulu. There is no shortage of TV already on Apple devices.

  • by PenguSven (988769) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @08:52PM (#32472208)

    nobody wants to pay to download Wired magazine's 500 megabyte iPad edition (which is what happens when you cancel flash support and leave everyone scrambling).

    Two things...

    1. Apple never indicated that Flash would be supported on it's iPhoneOS devices, so how can they cancel support for something they never supported?
    2. How is it Apples fault that Adobes "solution" for a lack of flash, is to bundle a heap of IMAGESinto an App?
  • 1959? fail. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @09:28PM (#32472354)
    who gives a fuck how many sets existed in 1959. that was a fledging market, the TV market is now very very mature with lots of players. who wants to watch a significant amount of tv on a small fucking iphone screen anyway??!! this is all besides the point that current plans make it impossibly expensive to stream more then a few minutes of video, the cell phone networks can't cope either.

    this whole story is just stupid, has /. run out of real stories and resorted to recycling crap from mac rumor forums or something?

  • by billsayswow (1681722) on Saturday June 05, 2010 @11:08PM (#32472800)
    Either I missed a major news release and this was a bad article or... this is all merely speculation. Sure, I could see Apple rolling out an advertising system, it's already been mentioned vaguely before, especially since they could lock your system for the ads if they wanted to, it's just... unless it was specifically tied to certain sources of content, forcing adverts on everyone's devices could really start a slow backlash towards Apple on their level of control on the devices.

    At least... I think this sort of thing until I look at the control they already have on the devices, and see the possibility of adverts as just another step down the road that everyone will unthinkingly take.
  • by tyrione (134248) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @01:12AM (#32473248) Homepage

    nobody wants to pay to download Wired magazine's 500 megabyte iPad edition (which is what happens when you cancel flash support and leave everyone scrambling).

    1. How is it Apples fault that Adobes "solution" for a lack of flash, is to bundle a heap of IMAGESinto an App?

    Maybe Apple should have allowed Flash to run on the iPad then? At the moment they say they are against Flash but the problem is, whats the alternative? HTML5 is still too much in it's infancy to be an acceptable alternative, and things like this 500mg iPad magazine shows that the other option isn't a good option since the new data plans listed are what? 2 gigs max I think before extra charges? So 4 magazines and there goes your bandwidth and you have to pay more to surf the internet or only download the magazines when your on a wifi-only link (which kinda kills the whole 3g network concept). In the end at the worst case is that Apple should allow at least a watered down version of Flash to run since it would be better then nothing and then make it obsolete when a better technology shows up.

    Maybe Wired should have backed the right Pony and hired Apple to consult in writing their application and not Adobe.

  • by JackAxe (689361) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @01:42AM (#32473366)
    That would be the wrong pony. Take a step back and think about it, but first ease up on your zealotry for Apple.
  • by node 3 (115640) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @02:23AM (#32473502)

    Maybe Apple should have allowed Flash to run on the iPad then?

    There is nothing about the iPad app that couldn't have been accomplished with either HTML5 or as a native iPad app without resorting to images. The reason the Wired app uses images is that that's how Adobe decided to solve the InDesign -> iPad workflow. This solution is very Adobe. They make great creative tools, but horrible end-user presentation tools. Adobe Reader and Flash are prime examples of this.

    As for allowing Flash, had the Wired App been a Flash app, it would have been smaller in size, but awful in interaction and performance. Also, those that say things like "Apple should allow Flash" seem to be ignorant of the fact that Flash is not on a single handheld device, except as a very recent beta for Android. A beta which by all accounts is atrocious.

    At the moment they say they are against Flash but the problem is, whats the alternative?

    Cocoa Touch on the iPhone OS. As well as HTML5. There are zero cases where Flash is technologically better than both of those.

    HTML5 is still too much in it's infancy to be an acceptable alternative

    On mobile devices, Flash is much, much worse. Also, HTML5 is on its ascendancy, meaning that it's improving, and doing so swiftly. Flash is relatively stagnant, and there's no indication that current handheld devices will fare well with Flash, even as the awful beta version is improved over the Summer and into the Fall.

    and things like this 500mg iPad magazine shows that the other option isn't a good option since the new data plans listed are what? 2 gigs max I think before extra charges?

    The Wired iPad app is not large because it's not in Flash, it's large because it contains videos and flat images. The videos in the app take up about 100MB, which is less than the PNGs, but still significant.

    As for data plans, you can't even download the app over 3G. Apps larger than a certain size (I think 20MB) cannot be directly downloaded over 3G, only WiFi. Given that most everyone with an iPad, iPod touch or iPhone have WiFi, and that their device spends a significant amount of time on WiFi, and that the PC they connect their device to has either WiFi or an ethernet connection to the Internet, the caps on 3G service are not a big deal. Hell, in a pinch you could walk into an Apple Store and use their WiFi. I'm sure they'd be happy to let you use it to download a large app.

    So 4 magazines and there goes your bandwidth and you have to pay more to surf the internet or only download the magazines when your on a wifi-only link (which kinda kills the whole 3g network concept).

    That the coming 3G data cap for the largest standard plan only covers the data for four magazines (which you can't even download over 3G anyway), means that the whole idea of having 3G on an iPad is a flawed concept? Do you really think people would be downloading such large apps over 3G, if it were even possible, on a regular basis? If someone feels the need to download more than four 500GB magazine apps per month over 3G, and such large app downloads are allowed over 3G, these people can buy additional bandwidth at $10/GB. Not the most economical solution, but if someone is crazy enough to rely solely on 3G for such large transfers, what's another Hamilton here and there?

    In the end at the worst case is that Apple should allow at least a watered down version of Flash to run since it would be better then nothing and then make it obsolete when a better technology shows up.

    Apple notoriously leaves behind technology that is seen as either on the out, or as something which compromises the overall user experience, and it has served Apple very well. Flash falls into both of those categories, and as such it's futile to expect Apple to support it. It's also far from clear that supporting Flash would be to Apple's benefit, and a watered-down version would be even worse.

  • by Mr2001 (90979) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @03:29AM (#32473670) Homepage Journal

    Also, those that say things like "Apple should allow Flash" seem to be ignorant of the fact that Flash is not on a single handheld device, except as a very recent beta for Android.

    Not true. Flash Lite [adobe.com] is already shipping on some phones, including the HTC Hero and Evo. It's not Flash Player 10.1, which is the beta you mentioned (and that beta is available [intomobile.com] for Android 2.2 users to try for themselves), but it's enough for many popular sites.

    Cocoa Touch on the iPhone OS. As well as HTML5. There are zero cases where Flash is technologically better than both of those.

    Flash is more portable than Cocoa Touch. It's more powerful than HTML5 and also has better development/design tools.

    It's also far from clear that supporting Flash would be to Apple's benefit, and a watered-down version would be even worse.

    Apple's benefit? Of course, they'd rather have you use their proprietary APIs. But isn't their customers' benefit what really matters?

    As for the watered-down version: again, you're ignoring Flash Lite, which is certainly better than no Flash at all.

  • by mister_playboy (1474163) on Sunday June 06, 2010 @08:24AM (#32474594)

    If Apple makes a deal with AT&T to not count iTunes streaming content against your cap would be a reason to boycott Apple? WTF?

    They would be building a walled garden where users will tune into their content rather than get it from elsewhere on the Internet.

    Isn't it obvious? The trap works much better if it has been baited... the "doesn't count against your cap" part is the bait.

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