It already feels like ages ago: tech geeks and Apple worshippers combing the Internet, anxiously awaiting Apple’s announcement of the iPhone 5. When the day came, and the iPhone 4s was launched, the disappointment was palpable… for about ten minutes. Record preorders translated into record sales and record bandwidth-stretching across 3G and 4G networks.
On the same day, as expected, Sprint announced they would now carry the iPhone. While other carriers started gatekeeping their data plans, Sprint continued to guarantee unlimited data plans—a move still considered by many analysts to be unsustainable. Sprint’s sales soared.
After revolutionizing the personal computer, changing music distribution with the iPod, bringing the smart phone to the people with the iPhone, leveraging tablet computing into the revolutionary iPad, Apple singlehandedly made it cool to be a geek.
Now they’re getting into television.
iTunes has been around for quite a while now. Apple’s online video store has been up and running for years, putting all the latest movies and television within reach of any wifi signal. Now reports are emerging that Apple has been talking with the heads of many major network television giants regarding… whatever they’re doing next. Sticking with their normal it’s-not-vaporware-if-we-don’t-announce-it policy, nobody will talk about what Apple is really talking about.
Naturally, the news sent the Internet swirling into a whirlpool of conjecture. The entire blogosphere has a man crush—justifiably—on the late Steve Jobs, and whatever Apple is doing in their secret laboratories has a generation of geeks salivating.
How does this relate to cell phones? In spite of its sterling engineering and impeccable function, the iPhone plugs into the iTunes store. iTunes, particularly its movie store, is weak when it comes to streaming video. Impatient users, if renting a movie, need to download it to their device before watching it; curtailing the impetuous consumer that just wants to see Captain America now. Streaming movie rentals from Amazon and even Youtube (also responsible for the easy streaming rentals on Android devices) get movies to consumers faster.
It’s likely that Apple’s intended revamp of iTunes—and yes, this is conjecture—will greatly improve its streaming services. Yes, streaming is available now through Apple TV, but positioning your entire film rental business against Google and Amazon without offering direct streaming movies to an iPhone won’t solve the problem. In order to maximize the complete awesomeness of the iPhone—and, by definition, the iOS operating system—streaming movie and television rentals through iTunes, free from Airplay, needs to be a part of the package.