The Register: Apple event more like ‘No Show’ than ‘Showtime’

“Apple offered a hostage to fortune when it chose, as the teaser for the launch of its movie download service [yesterday], the tagline ‘It’s ShowTime!’ Headline writers only needed to find one significant ‘No Show’ for the pun writers to have a field day. Unfortunately for Apple, the ‘No Show’ turned out to be quite hard to miss: Hollywood itself,” Andrew Orlowski writes for The Register.

“Five of the six major corporations – Universal, Viacom, Sony, NBC Universal and Fox – have chosen not to grace the service with their content. Compare this to the launch of iTunes Music Store three years ago,” Orlowski writes.

MacDailyNews Take: Why compare to music and go back three years? Let’s compare movies to the similar content of TV shows that debuted less than a year ago to get a clear picture: Apple launched TV shows via their iTunes Store with just one (1) network, Disney’s ABC, and only five (5) TV shows. Take a look at how many other networks, cable outlets, and TV shows there are now, less than a year later: 40 networks and 220 shows. Mr. Jobs won’t have to go out to get other studios, the studios will come to him soon enough.

Orlowski continues, “Apple announced today that it will allow US broadband users to buy, at a price much higher than a Blockbuster rental or a straight DVD purchase, an inferior VGA-resolution movie copy – one that only plays on Apple’s proprietary hardware. Consumers will be able to enjoy this ‘on demand’ service with fulfillment times of only half an hour – that’s the time it takes to download one of these low-res movies. A gift to amnesiacs, perhaps, if no one else.”

MacDailyNews Take: The quality is better than Orlowski seems to want his readers to believe. As for the download time, you can start watching the movie as it downloads in less than 1 minute. What part of the 4-foot letters on the 20-foot screen along with Steve Jobs stating that fact did Orlowski miss? Did Orlowski watch the presentation or at least read the press releases before banging out this insipid article?

Orlowski continues, “Nor did Jobs offer much in the way of home ‘convergence’ magic that could conceivably give a broadband-connected PC any advantage over a set top box. Apple did give a preview of “iTV” – a $299 set top box, but it does exactly what Wintel’s set top box already does – and make the viewing of PC content possible on that great HD-ready TV of yours in the living room – and that hasn’t exactly caught the world on fire. It’s a catch-up, rather than a leap forward.”

MacDailyNews Take: How much configuration does that “Wintel set top box” require? Is Microsoft planning on making a Windows PC that can reliably “sleep” and “wake” as Apple long ago mastered with the Mac? How fast is the wireless on that “Wintel set top box?” Andrew doesn’t get it, that much is obvious.

Orlowski continues, “Robert X Cringely, has been predicting Apple will own the movie downloads business for years now, and only 18 months ago confidently predicted that “the movie studios will play along, too”. We now know they won’t – or only their terms.”

MacDailyNews Take: Fact break: We don’t know how other movie studios will react, but – as has been proven with TV networks and cable outlets – the studios should come to Jobs soon enough.

Orlowski continues, “The opportunities remain as they were. The frustrations, you could say nightmares, of the ‘converged’ living room – why do we need two hundred and fifty remote control buttons, spread over four or five remote controls? – look like they should be easy to fix and look like a job for an Apple, fixing them won’t be easy.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, Andrew got Microsoft’s talking points, too. And Apple’s remote has just six buttons, Andrew. No nightmares. Those six buttons let you watch TV shows, videos, movies, video podcasts, listen to music, and view photos with ease. Apple’s already gone a long way towards fixing Orlowski’s frustrations with the converged living room with yesterday’s announcements whether he wants to admit it or not.

Steve Jobs gives sneak peek of Apple’s “iTV” wireless set-top box:

Related articles:
The Telegraph: Steve Jobs’ genius making people desire gadgets for which they have absolutely no use – September 13, 2006
The Guardian: Steve Jobs needs ‘a charisma download, Apple risks being left behind’ – September 13, 2006
The Observer’s iPod FUD: Apple iPod is ‘wilting away before our eyes’ – September 10, 2006

Mark Cuban: Things that are special about Apple’s announcements – September 13, 2006
Apple’s ‘iTV’ strategy – September 13, 2006
How will Apple’s ‘iTV’ work? – September 13, 2006
Apple eyes living room market with device codenamed ‘iTV’ – September 12, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV model ‘the gold standard for the digital home of the future’ – September 12, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV ‘will be hard for other players to match’ – September 12, 2006
Apple gives sneak peek of ‘iTV’ set-top box to debut Q1 2007 (with images) – September 12, 2006
Apple’s QuickTime stream of Steve Jobs special event now live – September 12, 2006
NFL and Apple team up to offer 2006 NFL game highlights via iTunes Store – September 12, 2006


  1. these ‘anticlimax’ reviews of apple events are really annoying, all they want is an iphone, nothing else, if they did release a phone, they be like , oh, its a phone, only made from apple. SHURRUP already

  2. I’m not a big fan of the movie service yet (low res, expensive, no subscription option), but this guy is a little nuts. Yeah, it’s best to compare the movie offering with TV, not music. (And let’s not forget, the music library was comparatively small as well) Also, he’s wrong about it only playing on “Apple’s proprietary hardware”. It’ll play on anything that can run iTunes. And finally, he’s wrong about iTV. iTV’s sole purpose is to accept content from a computer and play it on a TV. It is not supposed to be a web browser or email client or anything else. So, comparing it to Windows Media Edition PCs seems wrong to me, especially when you consider how cheap they are compared to a PC.

    So: not a fan of the movie service (yet), but also not a fan of this criticism.

  3. Apple movie store will experience a surge in novelty and curiosity. but slowly but surely it will slow down unless Apple introduce movie rental.

    Only a few geeks with disposable income will buy movies.

    only a few movies are worth buying. (Pirates of caribbean in my case).

    and those with kids will be interested in acquiring kid movies because they will repeatedly view it.

    other than that, EVERY ONE wants MOVIE RENTAL.

  4. I have to say that I’m not that excited by the idea of a iTunes Movie store. The “iTV” combined with Movie downloads would be great if they gave movies on a subscription basis (which would kill Netflix for example), but why exactly would I want to pay $15 to download a Movie that only plays on this box or computer, where I can buy a DVD for the same or less that has more content, better quality and can be taken to a friends house?

    I think the TV show sales are a great idea, I happily pay $2 for a show if my TiVo missed it, especially with the new improved resolution. $2 is impulse buy, $15 isn’t for me.

  5. The more i read MDN the more i realize it is managed by two old hags who needs to get laid so bad to rid their mind from years of no sex frustration.
    Here’s another comparison…
    The dog in your neighbor’s backyard craving for attention barks are anything the passes by. MDN, the mad barking dog with a human brain.

  6. Am I missing something?

    I am a true blue Apple man. Having said that, I’m meant to pay 12.99 – 14.99 for an “almost” DVD quality experience?! Why wouldn’t I just buy the DVD at Wal Mart (or countless other sellers) for close to that price and have full DVD quality and digital sound, extras, etc? I can then watch it on my computer, my iPod, my car dvd player… I don’t get it. At all.

    I don’t blame Steve for this. He’s shown he “gets it”. I blame the studios 100%. It’s like they don’t want to succeed. What I do blame Steve for is for straying away from giving the consumer what they really want. Don’t try to tell me I don’t want a TV tuner or DVR capability (I know, I know, they sell shows and nothing with the iTV is “finalized”). I don’t really care if it doesn’t fit your business model. Get a new business model. One that doesn’t seek to serve a niche, but one that will ignite consumers of all stripes into a buying frenzy.

    Apple, I’m for you. However, your movie announcement was a letdown.

  7. Why do these so called experts always assume that some sort of media PC is what people want in their living rooms? I have personally done that route only to find out that trying to work in MS Word on a big screen TV isn’t as great as they would lead you to believe. So, I don’t think this myth of everyone having this amazing computer system hooked up to your television is what people will actually use. So, instead of just having one computer hooked up to my television I will now need another system to actually do any work on. While 2 computers might be what corporate america wants in my house I would prefer just to buy one system. Now, enter Apple, with their iTV (or whatever its final name will be). I can own one computer system but stream my data all over the house. Which one really sounds like a better set up; Streaming items from one computer or having to buy multiple systems for your home? Why do “technology experts” seem to understand things the least?

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