Even before their launch, rumors were flying about Apple’s new Video Pod. When Steve Jobs finally did let the news out, it didn’t take long for an entire industry to react. Within twenty-four hours hackers had figured out and posted ways to rip DVD’s and store them on your iPod, excuse me, Video Pod. Just as hackers figured out a way to rip DVD’s into your Video Pod, entertainment lawyers’ phones started ringing off the hook with pleas to end the piracy.
It isn’t hard to rip DVD’s and store them, to your new $300 Pod. With 60 gigabytes of storage one could theoretically store up to 150 hours of video on their Video Pod. What’s more exciting is that the potential for these new small screens hasn’t even been realized. With TiVo technology one can now download their favorite TV shows and watch them on the go. TiVo changed how we watched television, but now Video Pods will change where we watch the boob tube. Little earphones will still be prevalent everywhere, but it will be accompanied with downward stares where Pod people will be catching up on their favorite shows or recently ripped DVD’s.
The next big question, however, is how Apple plans to distribute the video content. The entertainment industry is already up in arms. Music downloading has been an issue for major record labels, and they are still feeling the hurt. It’s hard to forge the Napster debacle and its aftermath. Hollywood and major movie distributors aren’t excited about the idea that they are the next victims in line of the digital piracy movement.
The solution, iTunes. Apple recently released iTunes 6, and as the largest legal downloading service, it will soon expand to include movies, TV shows and more. I expect to see lots of collaborations to occur between Apple and entertainment mediums very soon. In fact, deals are already flying, with NBC and HBO paving the road. This evolution makes perfect sense. It was iTunes that emerged out of the music downloading fiasco as the grand savior. Industry suits appreciated that money was being exchanged and consumers liked the convenience. As movie downloading has experienced a recent boom, the question is if iTunes, which already has a large subscribers base, can pull it off with a new medium. Luckily the Video Pod will create instant clients.
My only real complaint about the new Apple Video Pods is the screen size. Granted this is part of their portable appeal, I personally don’t want to spend $300 to squint my eyes and stare at a small screen. In general though, the aesthetic of the Video Pod reflects perfectly their successful musical counterparts. In truth, until you interact with their video content, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a music iPod and a Video Pod.
Just in time for the winter holidays, the Video Pod looks to be another huge success for Apple and Jobs. The real question is if Napster-esque lawsuits will be filed soon after its release. My suggestion is to start downloading from P2P networks like BitTorrent now, before they get shut down.