Top-10 User Testimonials for Apple’s iCloud

icloud suck ass from hell

Frustrated with Apple’s beast from hell called iCloud? You’re among friends here. Today we’re curating the most inflammatory customer statements about iCloud I could find.

You see, I just had another “Apple anxiety attack” due to iCloud. But this should be my last (I documented the December nightmare in this “iCloud sucks” post). And I was sure to tag this particular post “iCloud sucks ass from hell” in case anyone’s searching that phrase.

This morning’s irritation: my son and his friend are frantically trying to Facetime each other on their iPads, but the calls are coming to the iPhones of me and the other kid’s mom. As a result, the other mom and I are phoning each other thinking there’s some emergency. And no… the kids’ iPads are not logged into either of our iClouds, so there’s no good reason this is happening.

icloud is 1984 big brother
“Can this be turning into any more insidious, 1984ish situation?” says one iCloud customer.

iCloud, a web-based backup that connects Apple devices, has killed Apple for me and many others. In March I’m giving  my iPhone to one of my kids, and buying an Android. My nerdy friends rave about them. There are two reasons for my departure: a) The iPhone has not been improved consequentially in the last several years, and b) the iCloud implementation was the worst experience I’ve had with technology — and that surpasses computer viruses, crashed hard drives and being disregarded by cable and phone providers.

So I thought I’d calm myself down by assembling my favorite quotes about iCloud courtesy of this  Apple Support thread.

  1. I HATE icloud. How dare they? And market it as innocuous? The arrogance. Seriously.
  2. Apple invaded in my devices and does whatever wants – more than a VIRUS! I can’t get rid off it. .. APPLE what the **** are you doing, making your new software behavour as a parasite!
  3. Total failure, especially if you have spouse, kids, etc on the same Apple account since you keep getting each others stuff on your phone.
  4. Thanks for ruining Christmas, Apple. This Christmas my kids learned about Santa Claus by intercepting my private texts.
  5. I spend more than 5 hours on the phone with several apple support guys to get rid of those many multiple calendar entries on my iPad, but it didn’t help.
  6. My text messages are appearing on all my external devices.  I sold my iPod on ebay and the guy can read all of my messages and respond to them.
  7. A data destroying, heart burning, stomach churning and hours wasting beast called iCloud.
  8. Like an evil spawn of SkyNet and a PC Boot Sector Virus, once iCloud has grabbed your data IT becomes the master of your data.
  9. Can this be turning into any more insidious, 1984ish situation?
  10. I am personally Disgusted by Apple and everything to do with their products and services. Cannot wait to buy a Samsung note (source: Dudechester, iMore forum)

 

Top 7 Ways to Tell If Your Apple Store is Fake

It’s all over the news. Fake Apple stores getting shut downeven in NYC. So let’s help each other, right?

Looks can be deceiving. For instance, this woman's breasts are not real.

It can be difficult to tell a real from a fake. So let’s empower you with some Consumerist-like tips to help on your next trip to the Apple store:

fake apple store
This fake Apple store has a difficult-to-notice "tell." Note the third P in Apple.
  1. Look to see how Apple is spelled. If it’s “Apple Storey” or “Apul” it may not be a real store. If it’s spelled “Appple” and the slogan is “leave off the last P for price,” it may be inauthentic.
  2. If the clerk introduces himself as Steve Jobs and he’s Indian, that could be a sign.
  3. Is the store located in the back of a van? Does the seller have a receipt for the merchandise, and claim that Apple headquarters accidentally shipped him an extra? That’s a common sign the store may not be authorized.
  4. Does the sales person claim to have secret insight on Apple’s pipeline? No company keeps more from its retail chain than Apple. If he says he knows about a new iCamera he may be lying.
  5. Is the store using the rainbow Apple? It’s been out of fashion for a few years so that may indicate it’s not an authorized seller… much less an Apple owned store.
  6. Is the store selling Windows software and Android phones? Believe it or not, Apple stores tend to avoid selling competitor software and hardware. That’s a clue.
  7. Finally, is your laptop black like the one featured below? That’s an indicator you may have a counterfeit computer because they’re usually white or silver.
Don't be fooled by the authentic logo. Notice how it's rainbow colored, as opposed to the solid color Mac uses today?
I took this photo of a laptop that I thought was a MacBook Pro. It turns out it's not even a Mac. The black color could have tipped me off.

A World With Free Hardware (Google/Motorola)

This is a 2010 cartoon. A lot's changed in a year, huh?

Why did Google buy Motorola Mobility? For the patents, or in preparation for a world where hardware, like software, is free and ad supported? This is a tricky thing to consider in the Mac Era where, “Apple needs people to congregate around a very small number of designs–phones that are placed on altars, so that people can genuflect beneath them before touching them with respectful gingerness.”

That’s a direct quote from a fascinating perspective of Mac vs. Google titled So Google now wants to be like Apple (Wait, what?). It’s written by Technically Incorrect writer Chris Matyszczyk, who spares no sucker punches on Google either: “Google is to emotional sustenance what Jessica Simpson is to opera. The company has always existed to impress–then please–engineers, with real people being a secondary market.”

But here’s where it gets interesting. Matyszczyk raises the question of whether Google wasn’t after Motorola patents as much as designing for a “free hardware” generation, which is no less plausible than a once-RIP Apple reviving digital purchases, fashionable, mainstream devices and demand so strong people were even willing to suffer AT&T to get an iPhone. Right?

“Apple needs people to pay good money for hardware. So why wouldn’t Google consider a world in which the hardware is free? Apple needs people to congregate around a very small number of designs–phones that are placed on altars, so that people can genuflect beneath them before touching them with respectful gingerness. So why wouldn’t Google march in the direction of allowing people to design their own phones, so that suddenly a Googorola phone is less the product of a brand and more an expression of the person who both created it and bought it? Aiming to be like Apple feels unimaginative, almost depressive. Inspiring real people to think that there is a world beyond Apple–one that might be even better, even more original– is something that ought to be Google’s challenge.

Hmmmm... free hardware? Sounds scary, but so did "free Microsoft" cloud-based alternatives a few years ago. Use Google documents lately?

Consider the possibility of free hardware, or even free ad-supported cellular coverage. Like me, you may imagine cheap disposable pre-paid phones (itself no stranger 5 years ago than space cars). Or you might imagine an intrusive ad thrust before each phone call, like a pre-roll before a video.

Perhaps you pride yourself on being frugal, and willing to suffer through ads for free stuff, or even defeat them with hacks. Otherwise you might find yourself willing to pay a premium for that portable brain you carry and interact with for hours upon a day.

Matyszczyk’s characterization of Google is well founded. The culture is amiable but somewhat intellectually arrogant (or as he puts even better, “Google fancies itself as having brains bigger than Mars”). Sure we all use Google, but would we pay for it? Google has loads of users, but few that pay for the products and services. Is that by design or because it’s “good but not good enough?”

The Mac vs. Google battle has always fascinated me because I like them both for different reasons. I had almost forgotten about Microsoft until I grabbed that cartoon above (although it was funny hearing my son ask about Bing last night after seeing an ad the Glee Project). Google is like a smart friend, always better at helping me find stuff. Mac is like the fun friend, almost always more intuitive, friendly and integrated. It’s easy to imagine the Mac bubble bursting, and it’s also easy to imagine a “free everything by Google” era. But in the short run, I’d expect the next 5 years to be far less black and white. We’ll make important tradeoffs based on convenience, budget and user-experience.

Why? Consider these observations:

  • We’re feisty. Blackberry has shown that establishing corporate info-tech (IT) relationships as “barriers to entry” is a non-sustainable strategy, and that ultimately even dull business people’s devices are too important to. They’ve flocked to Droid and iPhones, and the faster hardware/telcom hybrid to appease nervous IT leaders will have a non-trivial advantage (ludicrous example: I can use my iPhone and expense $20 per month to my employer, but I bought a stupid Blackberry because then almost my entire voice/data plan can be expensed).
  • There’s probably a free alternative to most things you’ve bought digitally in the past year. I believe most WVFF readers are trend-setters in this space. But sometimes “free” is too much work. Remember that cable “cord cutters” remain in the significant minority.
  • Pick Mac. Pick Google. Just keep depending on technology, and don't mind me.

    Our lives are becoming increasingly dependent on technology (thus of course preparing the machine to takeover humanity). That means that our expectations are higher, and we often value our time and experience more than an upcharge.

  • So sure the future will have free options, just like there is a lot of free television and video content available if you’re inclined to chase it down. But we’re irrational humans who dish out our money for emotional needs than wrap rational excuses around them. So as long as the humans still run the technology companies, there will still be un-free and we’ll run to them like lemmings.

I see three strategies for the whirlwind ahead: The “charge a premium and make the service and product a delight,” the “reasonably priced, and highly personalized,” and the “free and you get what you pay for.”

Why Old Spice Is Killing Social Media in 2011

Okay first check out this top-10 list of social-media marketing fails and wins. I just happened to find the Canadian article titled “Top 10 social media hits and misse in 2010,” and my own video hiding in it. Can you find it? Yeah that’s me as the press secretary for Tony Hayward. The accent is fake. I’m not British.

I love the Old Spice campaign, but it’s going to cause some serious road kills in 2011. Why?

Wieden + Kennedy , the advertising agency behind Old Spice’s grand 2010 marketing campaign, turned actor Isaiah Mustafa into a household name. And they made it look easy, so now everyone’s going to want to “pull an Old Spice..” In fact I’ll have to write a new book called “Beyond Old Spice.” Caution ambitious agencies and brands… this was a major coordinated effort that involved significant media spending and crafty use of social media. It’s going to be imitated a lot in 2011 and poorly so.

Anyway I’m giggling that the Globe & Mail (Amber Macarthur) article happened to select my YouTube parody about BP to demonstrate that fail online.

You can’t imagine how weird it is to be reading about social-media marketing, and notice your video is the example.

I’m really big in Canada. I keep telling you that, and it’s like you don’t believe it. Nalts is to Canada as Jerry Lewis is to France. I’m the friggin Shanecarl Wheezyhiga of Canada.

Someone needs to put the computer down and leave Starbucks immediately, as he rapidly tumbles down the hill of unproductivity entering hour number 10. I feel the Via coursing through my veins. The irony is that I’m in the Starbucks at which I shot the exterior shot of the via sponsored video, but they wouldn’t let me tape in the store. I wonder if BP would let me tape in its lobby. Maybe the BP Canadian office.

Facetime and DVD Players in Cars

Facetime: When voice calls fail, try pixelated video from your mobile home (but stay home and buy an AT&T cell)

I’ll bet you thought this would be a post about Apple’s Facetime (glorified video-conferencing via a wireless network but not carrier). Maybe you expected people to be Facetiming via the DVD players in their car. Oh contrair. You get a free mini-MBA lecture in high-tech marketing with a few topical references. If you’re an MBA student, bring this post into to your professor for extra credit. If he smiles, he’s smart. If he dismisses it, he’s locked in circa-1990 and his obsession with Kottler will be his undoing. If he is indifferent, you should ask him why he really decided to stop marketing and start teaching. If I got the gender of your professor wrong I apologize. In 1996 the ladies only taught the organizational behavior classes. Anyway if it spawns an intelligent marketing debate, send me the footage please. And tell your damned professor and university bookstore to buy my book.

So wake up for today’s little marketing lesson. Failing to differentiate based on a meaningful attribute, a marketer may turn the customer’s attention to something very specific where his or her product is not the best… but the only. Being “the only” is a delicious place to live, especially if you can connect that to someone’s affirmed need. I usually introduce myself as the “only career marketer who also is one of YouTube’s most-viewed entertainers.” Then I try to explain how that unique POV (as a business guy who knows the new medium) can help a brand become relevant in social media’s most visceral form (online video). Convinced? Good because I’m too busy to take any new assignments. Anyway in today’s post I’m turning up the arrogance meter “up to 11″by likening myself to marketing authors Jeffrey Kottler and Geoffrey Moore. Nobody wants to hire an arrogant douche bag.

I was at first struck by the absurdity that Mac hung its iPhone4 campaign on Facetime, a novelty feature that gets old in exactly one 34-second call for 97.4% of Americans. Take this horrible execution of Santa Facetiming his son… an act of pathetic desperation to milk emotion out of Christmas and transfer it to the shiny feature. It’s revolting on so many levels. But it makes sense to me (at least the strategy if not the cheese-wiz execution).

By contrast, I first thought the T-Mobile campaign (ripping so directly from the Mac/PC campaign) was pathetic — blatantly borrowing equity from a market leader. But then I realized it’s a bold and savvy ol’ Judo “art of war” marketing/positioning technique: turn your competitors energy against them (this is risky and doesn’t generally work for a market leader). There’s no question it’s helping T-Mobile redefine itself as a company otherwise lost in the shuffle. I haven’t been able to look at my iPhone without thinking of the smug guy with the old fart cruising him around on the razor scooter. It’s the first time I actually considered T-Mobile despite loads of ads that have chomped at my ankles. By the way, if Jeffrey Kottler, Geoffrey Moore and I were in these ads, I’d be the hot chick on the motorcycle.

Back to Facetime. I began to appreciate the campaign (despite its horrible creative manifestation) because I’m guessing the strategy was derived for three reasons. These are the things I think about while I’m forgetting where I placed my to-do list:

  • At the launch, video conferencing wasn’t so common, and appeared to distinguish iPhone 4.
  • Early adopters aside, something can’t cross “tipping point” if it’s too confusing or feature laden. It’s a good idea to focus on one feature (facetime) and turn it into a benefit (you’ll be a better parent!). Apps are too confusing to serve that objective in 30-second spots.
  • It was likely driven from a “consumer insight” via research. Apple knows it’s got the hard-core users by the balls, and could issue an iPhone with a unicorn horn and we’d buy it. So it looked at the outer ring of the target (“considerers”), and asked “what can we do to guilt the “Airport Dad” (Blackberry user) into switching to a phone made for a teenager?” Clearly he might be turned off by iPhone’s inability to, um, work like a phone, or its inoperability with his company’s technology system, and he may not even care about music and movies. He’ll like apps but he doesn’t know that yet, and short-form advertising won’t get that through. So we’ll punch him where he already hurts… you’re not buying a piece of electronics, airline papa, you’re buying perceived proximity to your family and loved ones. Boom- we shifted this consideration process from a rational purchase to an emotional one. It’s like ad agencies and their cursed theatrical pitches, oh how we hate and love them, but buy them either way.

So what’s this have to do with DVD players in the car? We purchased a new van recently (you may recall me giggling like a stoned teenager at the absurdity of the used-car store). My wife was trying to tantalize me with what mattered the last time we bought a used van (about 4 years ago)… DVD players, GPS, etc. I quickly took those off the table, knowing that the “shiny electronic objects” would become obsolete long before the automobile.

As a marketing student for live, I can sometimes use my evil genius to resist being prey to my peers.

Don’t try to change my consideration method with your shiny objects. It would be foolish of an automotive manufacturer to try to differentiate based on an accessory (DVD, GPS, wireless) that cost less when purchased alone… but it’s still happening and always will. Jo told me one van has an ice chest. Really? If I want a friggin’ ice chest burning down my battery, I’ll check the DIY sites. I’m commuting not camping, damnit. (I just Googled, and I think she might have been referring to the Honda Odyssey’s “cool box,” which isn’t even cooled.. just insulated).

Hey that reminds me of my dad’s old statement about “the smartest gadget on Earth.” A thermos, he’d say. It keeps hot things hot. It keeps cold things cold. So what, you’d say? He’d respond: “how DO it know?”

So all I’m saying is I don’t need Facetime, I don’t need a crappy GPS built in my automobile that can’t even discern between Pine Wood and Pinewood. And I sure as hell don’t need a fancy thermos deciding what van I buy. Call me crazy.

In conclusion, marketers use gimmick features/benefits to “level the playing field” or twist the consideration process. I’ll bet Kottler never learnt you that. Maybe Geoffrey Moore, but not Kottler. And there is such a thing as Facetiming while driving, and yes I’ll probably do it to my own demise.

Time To Kill AVCHD (and Tanbee Converter)

Prescript added post hoc: Thanks to Jeff and Jimmer (see comments) for useful tips on solving the AVCHD problems, including this Panasonic white paper. I found this Panasonic white paper about AVCHD and iMovie too.

Sony and Panasonic invented a video format called “AVCHD” and I would like now to proclaim it dead. I remember years ago hearing about great new cameras that were “functionally obsolescent” for Mac users. The way they stored video footage required a whole separate conversion process (pre-editing) that was painful.

Last night I recorded an evening “Christmas carol flash mob” using 5 different cameras to compare how they’d handle low light. The winner was my Panasonic Lumix, a neat little camera and video camera combo which happens to use AVCHD. Sadly, I’ve spent 5 hours and $40 of software trying to get the footage into a usable format, and to no avail. In an act of desperation I purchased the Tanbee AVCHD Video Converter. I should have known better since I couldn’t find a single review or rating for it.

Tanbee, like AVCHD (for a Mac user anyway) can best be described as “ass.” The trial provided an obnoxious watermark, the $40 version one crashed, and after waiting 3.5 hours for a file to convert… all I got was audio and slow motion footage that didn’t match. I can only imagine that Tanbee has put its technical resources not in product development but SEO strategy (to ensure no ratings were available on the first few pages of Google).

Tanbee Software: Another Wasted $40
  • The software was impossibly slow.
  • The trial version produced a watermark in the center of the frame.
  • The converted footage had slow-motion video with normal audio (not matching)
  • It crashed several times. I had to re-register it each time.
  • Even the interface is stupid. It says press the + key to start, but not the big + key in the center. The little one on the left.

Sadly, the industry continues using AVCHD, which I can only assume is bearable for PC users. See a recent Kodak review that the AVCHD software may cause “editing and playing headaches.” I’d say that was being kind.

Again- I’m imagining there are Vegas, Pinnacle and other PC users who are happy with AVCHD, but I’d love to know if an Apple/Mac user has found a way to make this format even remotely functional. Failing that, watch my “boogerofnalts” eBay account for the listing of a perfectly working Panasonic DMC-ZS3.

Phone-Driven Television Arrives

Ladies and gentlemen I present the future of The Boob Tube: we shift from our cable boxes and laptops to…

HDTV viewing driven by words you search via your exo-brain (you need to stop calling it a phone, or else it’s going to get a complex). Yes your phone is your remote, and your television is your monitor. It’s going to happen just a bit slower I’d like, but *BAM* before you know it… you’ll forget I predicted it today because it will be as common as your toaster and microwave (note the lack of a hybrid toasterwave). I’ll thank you, dear WVFF back-rower, for reminding me of my psychic abilities next year.

Mac had a shot with the omni-present iPhone and the affordable AppleTV, but kinda blew it. The AppleTV wasn’t poised as a companion device to the phone, and that was its tragic flaw. Likewise it’s all so damned exclusive. Now the Android plus GoogleTV? That’s a game changer, friends. Let those green little robots march into my heart.

Before we examine some bold interim solutions, let me be “authentic” and “transparent” and disclose my biases. We have a home full of Macs. Two desktops, three laptops, two iPhones, three iTouches, one iPad, two old-style AppleTVs and one new one. And that’s not counting the Mac Mini and older desktops that are taking up closet space. As my debt can attest, the Apple bastards have never given me a thing for free (so I try to conceal these toys in my videos where possible). But I theoretically want to see Mac win, and I’m not seeing it. Similarly I’m biased in favor of Google since I do make a non-trivial amount of income from YouTube advertising around the 4-6 million views I get monthly. But I’ll try to be impartial.

On the road to smartphone-driven television viewing:

  • Roku, TiVo, AppleTV… they got us partially there. But none of these devices harness the power of man’s best friend (after dogs): the “phone.”
  • Today one of the first Google Television products will be announced by Logitech. Junien Labrousse, Logitech’s Executive VP of Products, is holding an invite-only media event in NYC at 3:oo p.m., presumably to launch the highly anticipated Revue. Perhaps it will invite people to use their phones as a remote, but I doubt it.
  • Anything’s got to be better than Sony’s remote-controlled television. Ian Douglas, Gadget Guru for the UK’s Telegraph, aptly suggested it was designed blindfold, in the 1980s (screen shot below courtesy of Engadget). The gamer in your family may love this, but it’s no flying automobile.
The 1980s called. It wants its remote back.

You may be surprised that I’ve written precious little about Google TV… simply because until now it’s all been hype and imagination. But three things changed in the past weeks:

  1. Dean Gilbert, who worked on GoogleTV, is now heading YouTube’s content partnerships. He’s joined by Robert Kyncl, former VP of content acquisitions from Netflix. That, to me, suggests that Google is poising to position YouTube on the new platform.
  2. We mean no harm to your planet.

    Newsweek ran a Grisham-like story about how Android is leapfrogging iPhone on the “next big screen” we call smart phones. It’s an interesting article to read, even if you didn’t just watch the fascinatingly depressing “The Social Network” movie. Where there are lawsuits, there’s game-changing innovation… and Newsweek documents the mad rush of lawyers chasing this disruptive market changer.

  3. Finally, we’re getting a taste of the toys. Sony will certainly claim its role, and Logitech may sell a mess of boxes… like Roku or TiVo. Of course the toys aren’t nearly as important as the BIG change.

Friends, GoogleTV plus Android equals comfortable viewing of searchable content, not from overpriced remotes, but… the smart phone you wear like a wrist watch in the 1970s.

Take the brief GoogleTV tour and imagine how your television interface will change, where you’re no longer a prisoner of the horrendously archaic cable-TV boxes brought to you by lazy monopolies like Verizon Fios and Comcast. Man I just want to give a crotch shot to the entire cable industry separating studios/networks and my television set. You’ll see that the Dish Network will have a distinct advantage as this model spreads, and our relationship with the television will fundamentally change.

Have a look at Logitech’s non-viral, viral video, featuring a television set with an eye, two feet, and a desperation to be relevant again. Video consumption will shift back to the biggest monitor in the house (that $2000 HDTV collecting dust), and the device powering it won’t be a laptop… they’re too clunky and hot, even if they’re far harder to lose than the chewed-up remote control.

I knew my “future of online video” chapter of Beyond Viral (Wiley) would have a limited shelf life. Here’s what you can expect in the next 6-18 months.

  1. Short-Term Adoption Minimal: Near-term purchases of GoogleTV devices will be minimal, as the “unwashed masses” would use a TRS-80 with their televisions if their cable provider told them that’s what they get. I’d like to say THIS is the Christmas season where web-TV becomes mainstream like those magical moments of precious technology adoption… CD players, DVD players, GPS devices. But I’m tired of being over zealous on that prediction like I did in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
  2. I proclaim 2011 the “Year of Smart Phones Marrying TV Sets.” Later in 2011 we’ll cross the… oh I hate using the term… “tipping point,” where consumers will want to drive their giant monitors (television sets) using their “exo-brains” (Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams), also called “smart phones.” Since the cable providers will sleep through this era like Blackberry snoozed the “smart phone” alarm clock, this will favor pairs of devices: iPad and AppleTV, Android phone and GoogleTV. I’m betting on the latter, and we’ll see Mac getting Microsofted and Microsoft buying anything that offers it a shortcut back to relevance. This TV/smart phone revolution should be especially interesting when we see “dueling banjos of remote controls” — between teenagers and their parents. Sure some will prefer to enjoy the tablet as a giant remote, but the kids have it occupied playing Angry Birds and Zombies versus Plants. Besides, it’s all covered with jam and peanut butter.
  3. Search will drive views… people won’t passively roam stations, getting stuck on “forebrain freezing” infomercials. Instead they’ll type the names of shows, actors, and even obscure strings of words like “knife, annoying, orange.” Where we once surfed stations, we’ll now search shows, actors and words… and remain mostly indifferent to where, when and how they appear. Sit with that thought for a moment… it’s kinda revolutionary.
  4. Even while search drives views, screen real estate will continue to influence us. Just as those “related videos” cause us to wonder into an online-video binge on YouTube…  what GoogleTV does to serve related content will, in effect, possess us with a stronger hold than any television show or network. We may start our “television binge” with one intent, but the surrounding real estate will suck us into that comma-induced trance we love about today’s television.
  5. So… the more things change, the more they will stay the same. Still I’m going to bet that search-enabled consumers will democratize television. This gives independent content creators (especially those with existing audiences) a distinct advantage… at least until the big guys adapt to the medium.

Note: Added Oct. 7, 2010. Bobjenz predicted tablet/television combo on a guest post last year (see his post). When he pointed that out, I playfully edited his comment, which he didn’t find funny. Sorry, Bob. Note that Bobjenz also points out in that guest post the importance of regular uploads, which is perhaps my biggest and most tragic lapse over the past year.

AppleTV vs. iTV vs. Roku vs. TiVo vs. WTF?

The iPin is AppleTV's latest model, and it's smaller than a grain of rice but 32.5% larger than Plankton from Spongebob.

I’m a long-time advocate of the AppleTV, and intrigued enough by the iTV that I’ve got one on route. So what’s the difference, you ask? First check out Ryan/NewTeeVee’s coverage of AppleTV vs. Roku vs. Boxeee. Liz/NewTeeVee provides more in-depth coverage of the AppleTV/iTV.

So there’s no iTV. It’s just a new version of AppleTV, where the price of the unit was slashed in third. At $99 you won’t likely find a smoother interface to stream your content… assuming it’s as user-friendly and fast as AppleTV’s earlier model (around $300 with some room for storage).

We like the lower entry price making it an impulse buy, and the 99-cent rentals of television shows we miss — despite our best attempts via TiVo or the vintage DVR you’re using because you’re the cable company’s little bitch.

Until now we were buying assloads of missed television shows at twice that price ($1.99), and that’s a bit bloated for a 23-minute show (but certainly fair for an 45-minute show). We’re talking about decent HD, no stupid pre-rolls, an easy interface, and easy purchasing via the credit card Mac has on file. And for 95% of the shows we bought, a rental would be fine.While we’re not happy to see episodes costing $2.99 to own now, we’re hoping that our old AppleTV enjoys a software upgrade that makes it a new one. Otherwise we feel screwed. Except “The Office” and a few other shows, we don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word. Wait that’s a drop quote.

We don’t need to own in a reasonably priced “on demand” word.

I find it perplexing that the unwashed masses are only beginning to adopt these things. We’ve got a Roku that’s not used often except for occasional Netflix viewing. The TiVo is the primary device because it plays live Verizon Fios without subjecting us to the horrible Verizon machines… TiVo also allows us to “subscribe” to YouTubers like “Obama Girl” and “Rhett & Link” and “The Onion” and “College Humor.”

Maybe I’ll do a little video demo when I get the new AppleTV because I read Scoble’s tweet that we can use our iPad as a remote to the new AppleTV, something that didn’t seem very easy with the old one.

Bottom line:

  • AppleTV is different in two ways. Cheaper unit ($99 not $300), and now you can rent all that television you missed or if you’re still not paying for access to premium channels because you’re a cheap bastard like me. Wait that made no sense. I’m probably paying more by buying these shows.
  • More choices (in hardware and vendor/price options) means a more confused marketplace but more attention by the mass market. Only one or two will survive, and you’re going to be getting lots of questions from your parents in the next few years. At least there’s no flashing 12:00 to worry about.
  • I’d predict that these will be mainstream by the fall, but I’m a bit gun shy making that prediction a 5th year in a row. I can’t even remember how I hedged this subject in my book, which is coming out in a week or so.
  • If I talk about my book too often, please tell me. I have seen authors do that, and it’s revolting. If I’m walking around with spinach in my teeth, you’d say something right?
  • How the heck did Netflix secure its space in this evolution? We thought they’d be Blockbustered.
  • It doesn’t bother me that only two people read my blog carefully.
  • Seriously- give me one good reason NOT to have a friggin’ Roku/Netflix/TiVo/AppleTV in your house? Sure it’s a few more devices and subscriptions, but we think this Onion spoof on Blockbusters is a reality now. When’s the last time you rented a DVD?
  • Is anyone else feeling like YouTube has gone WAY to far with the pre-rolls lately?

Apple’s iTV: Using Evil Powers to Help The Little Guy?

My A-Team friends and I used to use our special ops training to build cabbage-tossing machines to protect the little guy. And after every car crash, you knew nobody got hurt.

What do Apple’s iTV, the A-Team, Leverage and Burn Notice have in common? Read on…

It’s been rumored that a $99 iTV may soon launched, and Bloomberg is reporting Apple “has a few content deals in the works that will allow iTunes users to rent TV shows for 99 cents” (via Technolog). Most Applephilaholics are fussing about the potential of a new iTouch that offers a camera and other features from the iPhone 4 (it’d be like an iPhone5 without the inconvenience of calls to drop). We at WillVideoForFood are not amused by incremental advancements on these products.

The prospects of iTV is wayyyyy more exciting. AppleTV, despite its strengths, is the red-headed step child of Apple. It’s still a bit expensive ($150 refurbished and $229 for 160GB), and is a conceptual leap for those in love with

  • high cable bills
  • road trips to Blockbusters
  • complicated DVRs
  • and the caveman-like posture from watching video on a laptop
My "Burn Notice" friends and I use our espionage and spy skills to help the little guy

Will a $99 price point change that? Yes if it’s fast and loaded with options. Hulu is cool, but I’ll pay $1.99 for 40-minutes of a cool TV-show to avoid slow streams, buffer problems, cheesy ads, and redirects to the network player. Of course most studios won’t want to piss off their primary revenue stream via cable providers — on the prospects of picking up some uncertain income from the 10’s of thousands of people that pick these up. However if adoption of the iTV doesn’t require a device and becomes pervasive as iTunes then we’ll see a radical improvement of the video space that will remind us of what Steve Jobs did to the music industry.

I’m not saying Jobs isn’t a black-shirt douche bag, and Apple does use its clout to pull a lot of dick moves (Flash-retardant). But iTV could help out the little guy, at the expense of Big Bad Cable.

Here’s what we like:

  1. This could make it increasingly mainstream to enjoy network ‘TV” shows on any device (television, laptop, smart phone/iPhone/iTouch) without the hassle of a damned app for every network.
  2. It will legitimize a pay-per-show model instead of ad-supported networks that are bundled with crap you don’t need. For example, I’ve become a USANetwork junkie (hanging out weekly with my friends on Burn Notice, where we use our skills of espionage to help the little people). I’m also watching a lot of TNT (hanging out weekly with my friends from Leverage, where we use our skills of con, grifting, cyberhacking to help the little people). And sometimes I want to catch up on classic episodes from vintage NBC (where I could revisit my old teenage friends from A-Team, where we use our special ops experience to help the little people). I buy an assload of television shows (despite having a minimalist cable bill), and my consumption would increase if I could rent for 99 cents instead of owning for $1.99 — I rarely watch the show again anyway… and if I miss it on the DVR/TiVO I buy it.

    My Leverage friends and I use our skills to help the little guy. The grifter, thief, hack, con artist... and me.
  3. You and I can pay for what we want. I’ve spent 100 times more on “TV” buying ala cart via AppleTV but I’m okay with that — because I don’t like monthly subscriptions that entitle me to crap I don’t need. My AppleTV is loaded with hundreds and hundreds of television shows… for instance, previous seasons of shows I now love. Force me to the “all you can eat buffet” cable bill and I’m just going to get sick while I eat sub-par food with 400-pound losers. It’s like receiving the stupid newspaper each day… it’s not the cost as much as the feeling of continual waste.
  4. By facilitating ala-cart options for viewers, studios will benefit from a new revenue stream independent of the abusively negotiated cable packages and suppressed ad income… and enjoy going direct to consumers, where they can upsell other shows and even develop sole sponsorships instead of cheap-ass GRP ads. I’ve never paid for HBO in my life, but there are shows I’d buy ala cart including Sopranos (a family who uses its mobster experience to torture the little guys).
  5. The biggest interim beneficiary will be “The New Establishment” (Next New Network, Revision3) who will gladly offer gratis its myriad of semi-pro content (Barely Political, Scam School, Film Riot) to gain vital new eyeballs and audiences. These players are aggressively marketing their content as “value adds” on Roku and TiVo. If we don’t see the Disneys and HBOs willing to adjust their cable-centric models, iTV would want to introduce this free and fresh content instead of old episodes of Alf (an alien who used his little-guy sarcasm for no apparent purpose).
Hi. It's Craig. Remember me? You used to pick on me in grade school. Now I work for a large cable company. So suck my Alf, baby. You'll use my shit-ass device, and buy what I tell you to buy.

iPhone4G Press Conference Parody

Oh hush. What it lacks in humor it makes up for in timeliness. Let’s see you put an iPhone4G in your butt for the Internet. Or drive into the backyard of some crazy person so you can get near a cell phone tower.

My favorite quote of Steve Jobs: .55 percent of iPhone4G users complained. Seriously? Common C’mon. I had prooblems (despite the video statement) but knew better than to sit on hold. Besides- I’m guessing the other 99% just dropped their call before Apple answered.

Well there are many things Apple does well, but damage control or issue management is not among them.

Yey free 2 cent bumper iPhone condoms and they’ll even honor that 30-day money back guarantee! Weeks later Jobs will be reporting that fewer than .55 percent of people felt like he didn’t do a perfect job handling this issue, so if you thought otherwise, you’d better log your complaint.