Inside Apple’s special event live stream’s epic meltdown

“Apple’s live stream of the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and Watch was a disaster today right from the start, with many users like myself having problems trying to watch the event,” Dan Rayburn writes for Streaming Media Blog. “While at first I assumed it must be a capacity issue pertaining to Akamai, a deeper look at the code on Apple’s page and some other elements from the event shows that decisions made by Apple pertaining to their website, and problems with how they setup storage on Amazon’s S3 service, contributed the biggest problems to the event.”

“Unlike the last live stream Apple did, this time around Apple decided to add some JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) code to the page which added an interactive element on the bottom showing tweets about the event,” Rayburn writes. “As a result, this was causing the page to make refresh calls every few milliseconds. By Apple making the decision to add the JSON code, it made the website un-cachable. By contrast, Apple usually has Akamai caching the page for their live events but this time around there would have been no way for Akamai to have done that, which causes a huge impact on the performance when it comes to loading the page and the stream.”

“As for the foreign language translation that we heard for the first 27 minutes of the event, that’s all on Apple as they do the encoding themselves for their events, from the location [where] the event is [held]. Clearly someone on Apple’s side didn’t have the encoder setup right and their primary and backup streams were also way out of sync. So whatever Apple sent to Akamai’s CDN is what got delivered and in this case, the video was overlaid with a foreign language track,” Rayburn writes. “The bottom line with this event is that the encoding, translation, JavaScript code, the video player, the call to S3 single storage location and the millisecond refreshes all didn’t work properly together and was the root cause of Apple’s failed attempt to make the live stream work without any problems. So while it would be easy to say it was a CDN capacity issue, which was my initial thought considering how many events are taking place today and this week, it does not appear that a lack of capacity played any part in the event not working properly. Apple simply didn’t provision and plan for the event properly.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote earlier today:

The inept hack responsible for Apple’s livestream yesterday should have already received his pink slip by now, if Apple is still operating properly.

As Steve Jobs would likely say, “Can somebody tell me what a live stream is supposed to do? Then why the —- didn’t it do it?”

Obviously, not all Apple employees are sparkling gems.


    1. A commenter suggested DDOS from Brazil and South Korea, was aimed at the Bay Area during the event. Does not rule out sabotage, which was my thought at the time. I mean with how Samsung works, I could believe that they would be up to this type of trickery… They have the track record.

      1. Samsung does indeed have the track record!

        As I experienced the joy and techno-elegance of Apple’s presentation, despite the terrible streaming, I kept thinking of the recent Galaxy Edge and Note 4 presentation to which I’d submitted myself. The difference between the two companies, their style, their intelligence, their taste, their attitude toward their customers could NOT be more blatant.

        I don’t have to summarize the difference, as all of us here know the details. But the presentation did reinforce exactly why I’m an Apple fanatic. Apple is THE sole exceptional, brilliant company these days and that rang true throughout the presentation. No other company works WITH their customers AS their collaborators with resulting pleasure and joy at both ends of the business spectrum. This is how capitalism actually WORKS and works beautifully.

    2. The fact remains the streaming was a steaming pile of shit.

      The reasons are quite frankly irrelevant. Apple working hard to bring to market these great product and this gives an excuses to Apple haters to questions Apple’s ability to manage their technology when it comes to service management and also there are many fans like yours truly that I wasted so much time trying to figure out what was going on (from Mac to iPad, to iPhone to appleTv and even a windows laptop. They all produced poor results.

      The previous demo was also a shamble let’s hope the iPad announcement will be better.

      1. Yes I had mild but clear problems during the previous broadcast when I had to refresh on a number of occasions. So I fully escape ted that this one with much more interest would struggle a bit, but it never even got started, for whatever reason. Whatever the reason not impressive and too many to be honest.

  1. This kind of screw up frustrated many an Apple fan. Yes, heads should roll. This should NEVER happen to Apple – they have standards and a reputation to uphold and if anyone in the employee chain doesn’t take that seriously they need to be unceremoniously grabbed by the scruff of the neck and drop-kicked out the nearest portal in the most violent way possible.

  2. The video inside the venue that ran for several minutes before start time was great. Beautiful place. But there were two music sources playing the entire time, which was quite annoying. The whole thing started falling apart as soon as Tim started speaking. Very excited about the products, but very disappointed in the failure of the stream.

  3. I had to watch it later so I missed the fun.

    Except the stream froze a few times on me, had to refresh safari and scroll to where it stopped.

    And after the U2 song did I hear Tim drop an F-bomb?
    “You guys were F’n great”
    Could have been “freaking” though. I didn’t replay it.

    iPhone 6 for me, I know 1 6+ will be bought by a family member.
    And the watch.. Interested but not sold. The crowd went nuts over it though.

    1. Yea, it was real fun. Trying to go from my laptop to my iPhone to my Mac mini, to the Apple TV. And yes, I sat through part of it trying to hear Phil through that girl giving the asian foreign language translation. Not a good image for Apple.

      The trouble part, not the asian part.

    2. I thought he did say the F word… I was surprised… But he was in company with U2… So there’s more to Tim than we know.

      I watched later that night, because I wanted to see a clean presentation. Was up till 1am.

    3. F-bomb? Where are you at? Kindergarten? So fucking what if he said fucking? Language is not what our great-grandparent would say, it is what is being said today. Besides that: repeat after me: aluminium……..

      1. Leaders of large corporations who answer to shareholders and board members don’t drop f-bombs at product unveilings.

        Would you say it’s perfectly fine if Steve jobs dropped an f-bomb on stage at an unveiling?

        Random people on the street with no future or anyone to answer to? Sure.

        Again I didn’t re listen to it, and since I haven’t seen see any other mention of it, I’m sure that he didn’t drop an f-bomb. He probably did say fricken.

        I don’t care really, but if he did it wouldn’t be good for him. (As I said, he does have to answer to others who would not look at it as no big deal)

          1. Yeah i didn’t mean it as “OMG HE DROPPED AN F-BOMB!”

            It was kinda funny, and if he did actually say it.. i don’t care as long as it doesn’t come back to hurt him in the board room.

            But I guess he didn’t or else every “news” site out there would be raking Apple over the coals right now. It just sounded like he did lol.

            “it amazes me what people focus on”
            Exactly, and thats why you have to put the Company image first when doing stuff like that.

  4. I completely disagree with macdailynews, I knew about the live stream and I am no one near the respectable developer and millions being added to a live stream will slow down no matter what.

  5. Cook said Frickin’. I don’t consider that a swear word.

    I watched the video in the evening via my AppleTV. Worked perfectly.

    The performance of all the speakers including Cook were very good. That is the best I’ve seen Cook speak – very controlled and accurate.

  6. A tottaly disgracefull trainwrek this was for such an epic event.

    No question at all as to whwether Apple should fire the idiot(s) responsible. They are NOT of Apple standard and should find the back dor fast and another job.

  7. Hmm… Until reading the article and comments – I thought it was a capacity issue. The first half hour of the live stream was pretty bad. Re-watched the Keynote yesterday evening without any problems. Apple either needs to better prepare and conduct more testing or go back to what worked for other Keynotes.

  8. Absolutely awful. I wasted time troubleshooting everything at my end because I figured Apple wouldn’t mess up such a large event with some lousy streaming. There were so many errors I didn’t know exactly what I could have done wrong. Access denied? Huh! Chinese translation? Did I access Apple China website by mistake. Rebooted my cable modem and my Time Capsule, relaunched Safari browser a number of times. What the hell was I doing wrong?
    What was going to be an hour and a half of pleasant leisure turned into a streaming disaster. Although I know things go wrong, but Apple has too much money to let something like that happen when they’ve had so much time to get it right.

    The streaming AppleWatch segment went absolutely without a hitch so I knew it wasn’t my equipment at fault. So I sat and enjoyed that much and that was that.

    1. Same here. Things seem to get better around the time AT THE END when the watch was being introduced.

      I was just re-watching the beginning of the Keynote I missed yesterday and then realized I couldn’t scroll and go back without just going back to the beginning again. Really???? Unbelievable.

  9. Glad I wasn’t the only one/ few affected. The Apple Watch segment was streaming fine. Well, just enjoy the whole event again, if you didn’t the first time. It’s worth the replay many times over.

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