Apple introduces another game changer…..

The Apple Store (U.S.) - Welcome to the Apple Store.jpgSo Apple TV Take 2 is now amongst us with the first updates being delivered to Apple TVs yesterday evening. The update was pretty painless albeit a little lengthy with a couple of reboots and then bingo! Straight into a gorgeous new opening animation.

Of course, being in the UK, I wasn’t able to check out the movie rental experience but relying as I do on my podcast for a living, I headed straight over to the Podcast section to check things out.

Oh my God!

This changes everything!

I’ll own up to be a bit perplexed during the Steve Jobs keynote as to why so much emphasis was placed on Podcasting as why so much of Apple TV segment was devoted on pushing HD podcasts. Yes, of course I know how cool they are but even as a podcast producer, I was surprised and somewhat relieved that Apple still made Podcasts a big deal.

Now I know why.

Apple TV Take 2 removes the need for the convoluted and confusing “subscription” mechanism for accessing podcast content.

Apple TV Take 2 transforms podcasting into an on demand streaming content delivery service in one fell swoop – literally overnight.

Apple TV Take 2 wraps a simple, colourful browser interface around the podcast content making it super easy to just browse and view.

Apple TV Take 2 organises podcasts into genres for easy selection and provides guidance to show you similar podcasts that other people have watched when you select a podcaast.

Apple TV Take 2 gives you access to podcasts by network provider “legitimising” podcasts and giving yet another way of accessing mainstream or repurposed content

Yes you can subscribe to your favourite podcasts if you want but Apple TV Take 2 has just turned into a new type of “cable” set top box with unlimited channels for every type of content imaginable.

This is huge for the independent content producer, absolutely and undeniably huge.

After only spending a hour in front of the Apple TV Take 2 it made me re-assess my own content and make a major strategic change in my approach, but perhaps I’ll leave that for another post!

So podcasts are a very big deal now and Apple gets it, they get it big time.

So will the Apple TV Take 2 be a hit? There’s still a lot of education and marketing required by Apple to push the benefits out to the average punter. The movie rental and integration with Flickr etc will probably be the means by which the device gets into most homes, but once there, once people start to browse the rich seam of independent content available via the podcast channels on the Apple TV – wow!

All we need now is for the independent content producers to up their game and start producing consistently high quality shows.

If you thought Podcasts were cool before, Apple TV Take 2 has just raised the bar and could be a major turning point for independent content producers.

Exciting times ahead!

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Appearance on the Mac Podcaster Meetup

iTunes.pngOne of the great things about going to Macworld is meeting up with all the other Mac podcasters.

This year, Adam Christianson from the Maccast arranged another Mac Podcasters Meetup, the second of what hopefully will be an annual event. It’s basically a panel of Mac Podcasters discussing the current state of the Podcasting Industry with an open mic for contributions from the audience and other podcasters.

Although not on the panel (perhaps next year!) I did get invited to participate on the subject of monetisation, being one of the few podcasters doing it for a living.

If you want to take a listen you can find the podcast of the discussion here. My contribution is around the 48 minute mark. There’s also a second part to the podcast which can be found on the same site.

Overall, it’s a great discussion although I’d only recommend listening if you’re interested in podcasting rather than anything Mac related. The discussion does focus more on numbers and growing the audience but these are just the sort of discussions that happen when a bunch of podcasters get together. Suffice to say, we don’t obsess about these matters perhaps as much as it comes across in the discussion but they are important to us, and hey, we don’t get that much of a chance to discuss these as much as we’d like.

I’d be really interested in any feedback, just leave a comment on this thread.

Macworld Update

Well that’s Macworld for another year.

Haven’t blogged very much since the keynote although Twitter has been getting updates.

Following a couple of days walking the show floor, visiting user conference sessions and finally today giving my Screencasting presentation – I’m pretty much done in and looking forward to getting back home and back to normal.

Thanks to all my old and new Macworld friends for the company and making Macworld a blast!

Tis the night after….

Whoo! What a day!

Ended up waking at 3:15am and as previously mentioned, met up with a bunch of people at the Apple Store at 4am.

By 4:20 we were at Moscone and discovered a couple of hundred people ahead of us.

Great vibe in the line and eventually the line started moving properly at about 6:30am at which point I made my play to get into the Speakers Lounge to wait for my priority keynote access. No issues getting in and ended up sitting in the lounge observing various mac luminaries. Really surprised to find no coffee or any refreshments other than water – shouldn’t complain but it just seemed strange for such an early start.

Finally herded up to the keynote around 8:50 – starting to get concerned! Pretty much a free for all from that point on – not what I was expecting at all.

So on to the keynote….

Great to actually be in the audience for a change and watching things unfold live.

No real surprises and I suppose that was the major failing, there were no major surprises. Other than the Time Capsule, the other three announcements : iPhone upgrade, iTunes Rental/Apple TV2 and the thin Macbook, were all rumoured well in advance and it turns out most pundits were on the money. Why Apple can keep the design and manufacture of a brand new class of device totally secret last year, and yet be so totally transparent this year was bound to cause some disappointment.

The free update of the iPhone and the Apple TV were nice touches although the inclusion of the $20 charge for the iPod touch seemed a bit strange – might be due to the accounting practices they have to follow.

The iTunes Rental and Apple TV is a major play for the movie market and with the somewhat surprising adoption by all of the major studios it looks like it has a good chance of success. especially with the need to use a computer removed.

MAcbook Air looks to be a very cool device. A brief hands on the device shows it to be deceptively light and the touch gestures are superb.

However, the major issue I have being from the UK is the price differentials between the US and the UK.

The US price is $1799 for the Macbook Air, in the UK it will run you £1200 or $2350 (yes $2350!!!). Sorry but that just lost a sale for me.

Update: You can hear my initial reactions whilst the Reality Distortion Field was still in effect and before I heard about the UK pricing MacLevelten Post Keynote Review

Hitting the show floor properly tomorrow and having an early night – knackered!

Twas the night before…..

Just a quick update before grabbing a few hours sleep.

Despite having the presenters pass, I’ve decided to go with the flow and meetup with the rest of the guys outside the Apple store at 4am. I know, I know but I promised!

Fairly low key day today, starting to pace myself for the frantic week ahead.

Finished off the day with a visit to the Smile on my Mac party graciously hosted by Philip, Greg and Jean. Met up with a few Mac podcastsers including Victor Cajiao, Adam Christianson, Dave Hamilton and Ken Ray, along with some previous ScreenCastsOnline sponsors. Ken grabbed me for a quick pre-keynote chat which will probably be posted on the Mac OS Ken feed before the keynote.

I know of two other “events” happening tonight but it’s a long day tomorrow so I’m being sensible and saving myself by having an early night.

By the way, did I mention the Hotel has an iHome in the room? Pretty neat and although it’s complaining it’s not made for the iPhone, it works a treat.

Might have to check one out when I get home.