Apple TV and iPhone rock media world

Anything you want, wherever you want it. With the unveiling of Apple TV and the new iPhone yesterday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has moved for a bigger piece of the media world, at least that part of it that's under consumer control.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed the long-awaited product details for Apple TV at the Macworld 2007 conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, along with its much-anticipated iPhone – and the media world is abuzz about what it all means for the future of, well, the media world as we know it.

Available next month, the device gives consumers a way to wirelessly stream all digital media directly from a computer to a widescreen HDTV. Users can watch the first half of a movie in their living room, and save the rest for watching on the move with their handhelds. The Apple iPhone, set for sale in June, is completely compatible with Apple TV, meaning users won’t just be making calls on it. They’ll be surfing the Net, listening to music and, if desired, watching the rest of that movie they couldn’t finish in their living rooms the previous night.

Content deals are continually emerging for new TV shows and movies to be sold on iTunes, and the seamless integration of Apple TV and iTunes lets users choose from feature-length movies and TV shows in near DVD quality, along with four million songs, 5,000 music videos, 100,000 podcasts and 20,000 audiobooks. The iPhone, with a 3.5 inch widescreen display, makes that platform available anywhere, anytime.

‘It’s by no means new,’ says Cossette Communications Group director of interactive solutions Nick Barbuto, citing moves made by Microsoft and others in the digital marketplace. ‘A lot of people have dabbled in this space of getting content from a computer, from the digital domain, onto the television set. Will it have greater impact than what’s currently in the marketplace? That tends to be the norm with whatever Steve Jobs releases. It’s nice for Apple folks, who love the Apple way of doing things, but it’s by no means a new offering in the marketplace.’

Delvinia Interactive president Adam Froman says the peer-to-peer sharing possibilities of the iPhone are ‘revolutionary. From a digital customer experience point of view, it really brings that entire rich media experience to a mobile digital unit. The possibilities are endless. It’s one step closer to the promise that mobile computing in a seamless integrated device [is] going to be adopted by people. If marketers can understand this from a social media point of view, it’s promising. Because this is really taking social media mobile.’

Montreal-based Twist Image president Mitch Joel tells MiC Apple seems to be emerging as its own platform and will ultimately force marketers to give up interruption and aim for approaching the consumer as media. ‘Steve Jobs is probably not going to be investing in the next Survivor,’ says Joel. ‘He’s probably going to be saying to the world: ‘You guys create it and put it on here. That’s what it’s for!” Joel says the iPhone is ‘going to open up a whole lot of opportunities in the mobile world. It won’t be about SMS marketing. It won’t be about mobile marketing. It won’t be about pre-rolls streaming across the mobile devices. It’s going to truly be a new engagement.’