I’ve been kicking around an idea in my head and I finally decided to act on it.

There are all these issues that I find interesting. Some are market related, some are cultural, some are technology, some simply random. On these subjects, I may or may not have a well-formed opinion. But they are the sorts of things that a smart, well-informed readership such as this (stop sucking up) can have a field day with.

Rather than do an unfocused open thread, I’d rather do something with a little more precision : Call it the CrowdQuery.

Most weekday evenings, I will post on a subject that (hopefully) lends itself to a robust discussion. It could touch upon several topics, it could be narrowly focused.

Our initial CrowdQuery is this evening, and its on the Apple event scheduled for Wednesday. I have no idea what it is going to be, but I have 3 ideas:

1. An iTunes subscription model of all you can eat (like Rhapsody)

2. The Beatles finally on iTunes Music Store

3. iTV:  Apple does for TV what they have done for MP3 players and Smart phones: They build 50″, 60 and 70″ flatscreens with built in streaming web video, DVR, online web purchases, full browsing, remote programming viewing over IM or online, etc.

The obvious call is a revamped iPod line up . . .  but whats the fun in forecasting that?

So . . . What say ye?


Category: Music, Web/Tech, Weblogs

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

42 Responses to “CrowdQuery: New Apple Music Product?”

  1. bhl says:

    Don’t know what they are doing on Wens. But where they are moving, my bet is big into cloud storage.

    Every mac device (and purchased/rented media) backed up all the time. Might upset some of there app developers as they will be stepping on a few toes but it’s an obvious play for them. Not going to just be serving music/movies/books from those farms they have been building.


  2. deltaverde says:

    The best guess I’ve heard on this subject is from Leo Laporte over at TWIT. He thinks the Magic Trackpad only makes sense as an Apple product if it’s used with iTV. Not necessarily making the display hardware, but providing the software and services for a new form of television content distribution that has the potential to substantially alter the way content gets from creators to consumers and cut out a lot of middlemen along the way.

  3. deltaverde says:

    TWIT (This Week in Tech) just happened to be a discussion of this specific product question and also the larger question of the potential disintermediation of the cable companies as content providers.


  4. Carl says:

    I vote for a full music subscription service on an iPod !

  5. Rescission says:

    Must be pertaining to music. Would they hold a special event just to announce Beatles music? One would think a press release would do just fine. I lean towards a netflix model for itunes. Now that would be great!!!

  6. re: pic — someone owes C.F. Martin, Nazareth, Pennsylvania, a Royalty..

  7. Johnny99 says:

    If Beatles music were really about to arrive on iTunes, wouldn’t the invitation feature a left-handed guitar (a la McCartney)?

    Or would that be too obvious?

  8. kaleberg says:

    iTV strikes me as unlikely. It’s a move backwards. There are two trends in television. There is a move towards relatively expensive large screen displays that are expected to survive several generations of “tuning” technology. Television has been moving to a component model for a while now, even as computers have been moving towards being single units. Meanwhile, the “tuning” technology has been moving towards the internet with the computer as the device for selecting and controlling media. This started with DVD players, but data connections are getting faster, and consumers are getting sick of cable with its bundling and ever rising bills.

    Let’s face it. If you want a 20-30″ TV, you can buy an iMac. It’s internet ready, has a a DVD player, and you get a computer for free. If you want a 50-100″ TV, you buy the best display system you can afford and hook it up to whatever makes sense at the time. That’s the glory of the HDMI standard.

    I’m willing to believe that Apple will upgrade its Apple TV. They’ve been running it “as a hobby”, waiting for other technologies and licensing norms to move into place. I don’t think things are quite there yet, but recent moves by Hulu and Netflix are suggestive. Maybe Apple has made the jump.

    As for music. I’m tone deaf, so I can’t really imagine.

  9. wisedup says:

    It is a real stretch to believe in the 70″ Apple TV or whatever inch. There is no way to stroke it or hold it so the Apple design touches would be missing. Could be a revamped apple TV that does not need a computer and can use an i-phone or i-pad as the interface.

  10. Thor says:

    This is where you should go for all your Apple gossip.


    On Wednesday, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes the stage at the company’s annual September media event, he is expected to announce that iTunes users will be allowed at least twice the amount of time to sample a song, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the move.

  11. Starting in the late 1990s, I used to occasionally publish at MacOS Rumors and About This Particular Macintosh.

    Check out ATPM Volume 4, Number 6 page 33 (June 1, 1998)

    And this may have been the most widely circulated thing I ever wrote: Popular or Best? (January 1998)

  12. Thor says:

    ooooh – and then this:

    “With Apple’s media event just two days away, iPod rumors are swinging into high gear. Rumors of a smaller iPod nano kicked off late last week and have been quickly followed by a flurry purported case leaks and additional claims supporting the belief. 9 to 5 Mac and AppleInsider share some additional cases and screen protectors that have popped up on Asian e-commerce sites with claims that they are for a forthcoming iPod nano model.”

    Now that would be kinda cool. . .

  13. Haigh says:

    Re CrowdQuery and the future of collaboration and drawing on a pool of volunteer experties in a way superior to a threaded discussion. Have you checked out Google Wave?
    Here’s a youtube
    In less than 1o minutes you’ll see the potential.

    Re: iTV.
    The big leap needs to be in the controls, today the lack of integration between the audio, the cable TV, and internet makes for a clunky user interface. I suspect the future will be built on software that turns the iPAD into an activity based universal remote that uses a wifi-to-infrared converter.

  14. nancefinance says:

    The Velocity blog over at Forbes surmises that Apple will unveil an iPod touch with 3G network — an end run on the carriers. Interesting thought.
    Here’s the link:

  15. VennData says:

    What about a Apple product line that Muslims aren’t allowed to buy?

    Maybe that’s not such a hot idea, I haven’t heard anything radical Imans and Islamification of America in days. That “issue” has just evaporated off of Fox News…


    …think Al-Waleed bin Talal called fellow shareholder Rupert Murdock and told him to knock it off?

  16. jdjed says:

    Apple shuttered lala.com last May (I was a member – loved the service) and the buzz was that it would launch a streaming music site shortly thereafter. Lala was acquired for the management team’s cloud music expertise plus its technology for storing members’ music libraries online…..


  17. ZedLoch says:

    Apple’s decided NOT to brick your jailbroken phone! Steve Jobs says: “so have I commanded and so will it be!” and the rivers shall overflow with wine and it will be good, with mankind finally free from the iron shackles of digital oppression.

    …or maybe not.

  18. AJB says:

    Steve Job will be raptured in front of astonished press…

    But seriously…

    BR you’ve almost certainly already read this, I am afraid you may have even posted on it, but just in case:


  19. OT:


    that’s too much, there must a Meme afloat..

    “…So what do China and Apple have in common? On the surface very little. One is governed by a secretive bureaucracy with an aging leader who exerts iron-fisted control over the media to impose his will on the masses. The other is a commun$st country…”
    by Jeffrey Kanige, p.22, “The Deal”, vol. 8, no. 15

    as an aside, thx. WP~! $, above, = i ..

  20. bergsten says:

    Don’t know what Apple is going to announce (well, I wouldn’t say anyway), but to get good and ready, they had their obligatory “bad press story” to drum up interest…

    Cash not always welcome at Apple stores

  21. enver says:

    Well duh, the iPod nano 5th generation has been on sale recently for $99. “refurbished” with a 1 year Apple warranty. I bought one for my wife and there is no way it’s not brand spanking new. Apple always does this before a new product unveiling to get rid of inventory of the (soon to be) old model. At least these are my two cents.

  22. wally says:

    There probably aren’t words to express how much I really, really, REALLY do not care.


    BR: So why comment ?

  23. constantnormal says:

    I’d love to see them buy Sprint, and pour their cash machine into extending Sprint’s 4G cellular build-out lead. In 5 years they could have both AT&T and Verizon on the ropes, and would have a nationwide high bandwidth 4G cellular network that could move the company’s cash-generating capacity to new levels, selling bandwidth and services, while producing product that use up that same bandwidth — generating profits on both ends.

    But this is a music/media announcement, so it will most likely be the iPod that matches the iPhone 4, with a new AppleTV that is functionally very similar to the existing model, but leverages the newest technology to drop the price and crank up the profit margins so it can be a respectable product line, and not just a hobby/experiment.

    No TVs, there is no way they can make a TV and keep their target margins. And Apple wouldn’t build a TV without a whole lot more influence over the studios than they are ever likely to have. The video folks have observed what iTunes has done for/to the audio studios, and they aren’t going to walk the same path.

    No Beatles, there’s no way that could be kept a secret. I suspect that the remaining Beatles will have expired from old age before the Apple Corps brings their recordings to the digital world.

    No 7″ iPad. Apple does not differentiate their product lines willy-nilly.

    Possibly an announcement of iPod/iPhone/iPad integration into a more significant set of car makers’ products than exists today. Having a Apple connector built into every car sold in America would result in a lotta iPods/iPads being sold just for use in the car.

    Possibly an enhancement of the Time Capsule product, extending that device from just a backup system into a full-blown media library, extendible to amounts of storage most home users cannot conceive of. Plenty of people have several tens of thousands of tracks of audio content in their iTunes libraries, but video content is 1-2 orders of magnitude larger than audio content, and needs a different approach to building media archives for home theaters.

    I think it is likely, given the current market miasma, that AAPL sells off after announcements that fail to match the over-hyped expectations, making the stock a bargain until the next earnings announcement renders the stock incredibly under-priced and the upward movement resumes.

  24. dcsos says:

    The new IPAD will finally feature that elusive female hygiene option.

  25. Steve Barry says:

    Apple does have other things in common with China too…as a society, we need to discuss this instead of new ipods:

    “A technology geek, Daisey shared experiences of interviewing employees at Foxconn in China, the manufacturing hub of iPhones and iPads for Apple, describing the extreme discipline and tough culture in which over 3 lakh employees of the company work. Apple has been criticised globally for worker suicides at Foxconn. “The company now has wired nets surrounding the edges of its building that serve as a padding to prevent more
    suicides. They call it corporate social responsibility,” he said.”


  26. Mike in Nola says:

    Only things that would have cause a real buzz would be

    1. the all you can eat subscription to head off MS, whose Zune already has that model (plus 10 songs a month to keep) which will be built into Windows Phone 7, which seems to be a fairly slick device, although a little to iphonish for me.

    2. a deal with Hulu to allow inexpensive subscriptions to a lot of tv that would bypass the cable companies. Engadget’s podcast had speculated about this awhile back and it makes some sense. Do to TV what they did to music.

  27. constantnormal says:

    an interesting iTV rumor (iTV will supposedly be the replacement for the AppleTV) is adding access to the App Store, turning the iTV into an iPad that uses your HDTV as the display.


    The horrific aspect is of millions of Farmville addicts glued to their TVs and clogging the internet …

  28. Bob A says:

    yea.. I thought it gonna be something to do with Apple Tv…

    I’m allergic to Apple and will never buy anything they make …

    But I do want the Logitech Revue Google Tv box if it’s reasonably priced.

    Turned of Comcast cable tv for good this month.. useless crap.. never watched it.. don’t miss it a bit
    Bloomberg CNBC and just about anything else I ever watched on cable streams just fine on my netbook
    hooked up to the tv.. but Google Tv should make it easier to run .. i hope

  29. I recall the 1990s, when Windows was slow, ugly and the dominant OS of the day, with 98% of the market. (Unlike today, when it is slow, only a little ugly and has a 94% share of the desktop market)

    Bohemians, artists and contrarians all went for the Mac, as opposed to getting assimilated by the Borg.

  30. Mike in Nola says:

    BR, do have to disagree with you on the Borg comment. The Borg is not what’s most used, but a state of mind.
    From what I’ve seen, Apple is much more borg-like. It has no qualms about obsoleting its last magical machine and telling you to upgrade. Windows will run on millions of combinations of motherboards, videocards, and other pieces of hardware. On a proportional basis, not that many Windows users feel compelled to get the latest version of Windows, as shown by Vista, although it was a lot more popular than is generally believed. Many are still using XP, which is like 7-8 years old and are able to run most apps and run it on recent machines. Try doing that with the Mac OS.

  31. Mike in Nola says:

    BTW, assumed you were trolling there. Could this be one area where you don’t accept the verdict of the markets :)

  32. constantnormal says:

    @Mike in Nola

    “Many are still using XP, which is like 7-8 years old and are able to run most apps and run it on recent machines. Try doing that with the Mac OS.”

    … news-flash, Dude … You can install Windows on any Intel Mac, and that has been the case since the first Intel Mac. Apple supplies device drivers tailored to their hardware to make the process as painless and trouble-free as possible. A number of commercial enterprises use Macs to sun their Windows code base, because the Macs are more reliable and solid, and continue to run Windows XP, where a lot of newer Windows machines no longer do so. And the uniform hardware platform makes even Windows run a lot closer to “stable”, which casts some doubt on the wisdom of running “on millions of combinations of motherboards, videocards, and other pieces of hardware.” Most people don’t want to endure the pain of debugging their particular unique configuration of hardware with the Windows Swiss army knife software and the “millions of combinations of” device drivers, which are all written by manufacturers with varying degrees of skill and quality control.

    People don’t understand the difference between Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft has never built decent hardware (except for their mice) and seems incapable of doing so in a manner that the markets will accept. Through their indirect control over the Wintel hardware manufacturers, they retain all the profitable stuff (software) and could care less what cost-cutting short cuts the hardware manufacturers take in their battle to bludgeon each other into the cheapest (not least expensive, but cheapest — there is a difference) products.

    Apple doesn’t build software for general consumption — they are a hardware manufacturer, and offer software ONLY as an incentive to buy their hardware. I suspect that if one could break down their product lines by profit margins, apportioning development costs appropriately, you would see that the hardware provides the bulk of the profits, with the software playing a much weaker role in generation of corporate profits. They used to offer their system software for free, until the possibility of unauthorized cloners convinced them to abandon that approach. And as a hardware manufacturer, OF COURSE they obsolete the previous generation of products to make way for the new. But Apple typically provides migration assistance software to enable older apps to run on newer machines (for a time). I recently was surprised/shocked to find that the Rosetta migration assist facility under Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) would allow AppleWorks (a decade-dead all-in-one app similar to Microsoft Works, if anyone remembers that), an app that was designed and built for the PowerPC instruction architecture using the Mac OS 9 (pre-OS X) software APIs to launch and run. I am certain that Apple did not intend for this to occur, but neither did they intentionally block it.

    BTW, Microsoft does the same thing, via bloatware, with ever-expanding versions of the Office apps forcing people to move to faster machines with larger hard drives. I can recall when Excel and Word would fit on diskettes, along with bootable copies of the Mac OS. And there are limits to Microsoft’s cross-platform compatibility. As the number of processors on the cpu die gets larger, it gets hinkier and hinkier to trick XP into running on those machines. And because Microsoft sells software, they are not really interested in having their customers hang onto their ancient crufty system software.

    The two product families are designed and built using entirely different models, and using entirely different design philosophies. Whereas Microsoft pushes the hardware costs out onto the computer manufacturers, which take various approaches to solving that problem, resulting in less-than-perfect integration with the hardware and device conflicts being a fact of life in the Windows world, Apple aims to make everything work together as smoothly as possible, and will make changes to either hardware or software in the pursuit of that goal.

    That’s why, if one were to profile the typical happy Windows user vs the typical happy Mac user, one would find the Windozer having a distinctly smaller set of usages for his/her machine, while the Mac user is all over the map, doing anything and everything with their Macs, and loving every minute of it.

    But it is certainly true that Apple will move to obsolete hardware, usually in the adoption/abandonment of peripheral device connection standards. Apple abandoned the floppy drive with the iMac, along with serial and parallel ports , and any day now I expect to see them drop electrical signal connections entirely, in favor of Intel’s new Light Peak technology, which will enable a simpler, faster path to devices via optical connections, running multiple devices over a single fiber optic cable or via one of the wireless technologies. In addition to obsoleting older products (which mush be done to move new ones out, for both Microsoft and Apple), use of fewer technologies in connecting peripherals makes the entire product more reliable and trouble-free.

    These two user groups are distinctly different in size and character. That’s why there is such a split in market share between the two platforms. They do not directly compete, but instead go after entirely different groups. Nothing wrong with that — but it flies in the face of the stereotypical PC vs Mac wars. There is no war … some Mac users run Office, and some Windows users run their systems on Macs. If there really were a “war” between the two, this would never happen. Whether one prefers Macs or PCs depends entirely upon their usage profile.

    If one is Borg-like, so is the other, in about exactly the same proportion, but expressed in different ways.

    I think maybe that BR is looking at market cap when assessing the “verdict of the markets” :)

  33. TheDraconian says:

    You can bet your bottom dollar one of their announcements will have to do with iTunes and the Lala purchase. That Lala purchase + its subsequent shutdown in May + these rumors of Apple’s new gargantuan data centers sounds a lot like iTunes in the Cloud. iTunes anywhere! I’m sure Apple’s marketing will make it sound awesome, the kind of thing we couldn’t imagine living without.

    A subscription model like Rhapsody would fit right along with that.

  34. constantnormal says:

    Sorry for the previous bloated response.

    @BR … I think I might have something that would qualify as a “music-related” bit of newness for Apple to roll out tomorrow, something that would work to get people to upgrade/replace their iPods …

    … adding FM radio reception to the existing iPod lineup.

  35. cn,

    @10:22, nice nutshell, ’bout sums it up..”If one is Borg-like, so is the other, in about exactly the same proportion, but expressed in different ways.”

    good thing Linux, still, exists, esp. for Data Centers..

    also, @10:37 re: iPod, they could dual-duty the earbud wire, and use it as an antenna..
    and, if they wanted to go one better, than FM, they should decode SW while they’re at it..

  36. Mysticdog says:

    Bohemians, artists and contrarians all went for the Mac, as opposed to getting assimilated by the Borgbought into the corperate hype Jobs had to fall back to after completely losing to Gates on the best way to dominate the market (government vs education).

    As a lifetime contrarian and a sometimes artist and bohemian, I just thought this should be fixed. Jobs did his best to build his own little evil empire the first time, he just lost to a more accurate world-view. To his credit, he found a great way to wrap himself in a counter-corperate model while revising his corperate strategy to something a dozen times more restrictive and authoritarian than MS ever was. MS waged a lopsided war on its competitors, but it seems like Apple wages war on its consumers by adapting more and more restrictive business practices and contracts.

    Apple designs nice devices that the chinese are glad to make for us, but I dread their takeover of media and internet content/access companies. I hope they announce something like the iPad 2 now featuring tint control rather than any major move to dominate more media.

  37. * A new iPod nano. Widely expected. According to several sources, it’s going to have a new, smaller form factor and a touchscreen instead of a click wheel. The biggest surprise would be if it can run some of the 250,000 apps written for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

    * A new iPod touch. A camera and a higher-res display would be a plus. Two cameras, including a front-facing camera for Facetime video chats, would be a big plus. A 3G version that works over the cellphone networks, as one rumor has it, would be huge.

    * A new Apple TV. This one is iffier, and doesn’t quite fit the guitar-themed invitation. But eventually Apple is expected to release a cheaper ($99, down from $229), iOS-based version of its set-top box, and this could be the week.

    * A new version of iTunes. Rumored to double the length of song samples (from 30 sec. to 1 minute) in response to growing competition from Pandora and others. Could include social networking features such as sharing playlists with friends. Could be Web-based (so you can stream songs as well as download them). Could include 99-cent TV show rentals (rather than $1.99 or $2.99 purchases).

    * A new iOS for the iPad. A version of iOS 4 for the iPad — with multitasking, app folders and other goodies already available on the iPhone 4 — isn’t due until the fall, and nobody has seen a beta release yet. A long shot.

    * A white iPhone. OK, maybe. But there’s not much of a gee-whiz factor in a product that’s a couple months late.

    * A wild-card. A last-minute surprise — the “one last thing” that used to be Steve Jobs’ theatrical calling card — gets harder every year, given how porous Apple’s supply chain has become, but it’s still possible. Barrons’ Erik Savitz suggested over the weekend that this could be the week Apple announces that it has finally cut a deal that would put the Beatles on iTunes. We’ll believe that one when we hear it.

  38. AJB says:

    Amazon’s seemingly rushed announcement suggests to me that Mr. Jobs will announce a TV / video service complementary to iTunes.

  39. Robert says:

    Maybe Steve will announce their buyout of Barnes & Noble AND Border’s and just taken them out of their misery. Apple can add some more Genius Bars, expand the cafes, and just keep adding couches for the intelligentsia while the bookshelves, magazine racks, and and CD racks are gradually removed over the next several years. Steve could renegotiate all the leases since these new third spaces would draw plenty of foot traffic and make the mall a cool place to be again. Patrons could let their kids hang out in the iPad arcade with multiplayer games.

  40. sparrowsfall says:

    >3. iTV: Apple does for TV what they have done for MP3 players and Smart phones: They build 50″, 60 and 70″ flatscreens with built in streaming web video, DVR, online web purchases, full browsing, remote programming viewing over IM or online, etc.

    I’ve been saying this for years. Whoever delivers a single unit — with a single and intuitive remote!!! — that does everything, will make a lot of money. Who better than Apple?

    Jobs could be selling big-screen TVs at high ticket with Apple margins. Why hasn’t he done it??

  41. constantnormal says:

    @sparrowsfall 1:50 pm

    “Jobs could be selling big-screen TVs at high ticket with Apple margins. Why hasn’t he done it??”

    Jobs answered that specific question during the Q&A portion of his grilling by Walt Mossberg (you can’t really consider it an interview) over flash at the latest All Things D conference:


  42. constantnormal says:

    The questions are all answered … bit of a disappointment, if you ask me.

    While a $99 AppleTV will sell reasonably well, it’s nothing like it would sell if they supported local apps from the AppStore (it runs the same basic hardware as the iPhone 4, iPad, and new iPod , so the potential is clearly there), running lightweight games on big screen TVs. Perhaps they are holding that back for the first feature upgrade next year. My other bit of “wishful thinking” was to have them enable the screen sharing support, so that Macs on the same wireless network could pipe their screens through the ATV onto the HDTV and the click of a button (yes, I know you can run a cable and accomplish the same thing, but recabling the HDTV to perform this trivial feat seems a bit geeky and pointless).

    However, looking at the pricing of the updated products, one can make an observation about where Apple sees the bulk of the market going this holiday season, and it’s not going anywhere in the direction of a 4-digit dollar price tag. Cheap is the new normal, even at Apple.