Thursday, September 2, 2010
While still no news on the Verizon version of the iPhone, Apple did come to the press conference with a number of improvements. Apple TV is back with a Netflix rental deal, the iPod Nano has a touch screen, and Apple has launched a music oriented social networking site. "Unlike other social networks used with Web browsers, Ping requires iTunes software on a computer or an Apple device. Apple could face an uphill battle convincing customers who already invest time updating and keeping track of friends in other social networks to also do so through Ping."
But wait, doesn't My Space also go after the music fan. To me, the key here is the convergence of the music to the networking. This natural link could easily bring people over to Ping. As iTunes dominates the music listening space, the key benefit is in the simplicity of communicating while your listening. Will consumers embrace Ping? It seems the infrastructure already exists and that Apple has little to lose in trying.
As to the rest of the announcements, the biggest story had been the re-introduction of Apple TV. To me, Netflix online seems everywhere and adding one more distribution device doesn't mean much. Normally, Apple is first in to the market, but this makeover seems less exciting than his other announcements. Will consumers rush back to embrace Apple TV? Apple needs to tell its base all the impressive things that this device can do that others can't. I need a real reason to buy it and I don't see one yet.
The bad news is that the renewal has not been completed; the good news, they continue to negotiate in good faith. And by that I mean, they have not resorted to shutting down channels. Time Warner Cable customers can still get their programming despite being out of contract. Let's hope that discussions don't turn acrimonious at the last minute and that either side leaves the table. Dropping signals does not help either party.