Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Streaming to iPhone - Who Cares?

On November 5th, WFMU claims to have rocked the world by streaming their radio station to the iPhone. All I have to say is "Who Cares?"

No offense to WFMU (a great independent station), but streaming to the iPhone is a non-event for a few reasons. First, the iPhone is $400, meaning that it is only available to the top tier of early adopters - in no way it is a mass medium for Internet radio. Second, it is only GPRS enabled, meaning that you can at best reliably deliver a 24Kbps stream to it. Third, it is a closed platform which has native streaming disabled. Sure, there are cracks and custom software, but Apple keeps breaking the cracks with updates, meaning that only the most dedicated otakus will have the desire to keep re-cracking and re-loading.

Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Apple. It's just that for some reason they don't get streaming. As one of my fellow travellers pointed out, why can't we connect iTouch to an Airport Express? Why can't I click on a song name in the iTunes radio player and purchase the song from the iTunes store (something that was obvious to a company called Sonicbox in 1999!)? And why did they disable streaming on the iPhone and iTouch?

Once the iTouch and iPhone platforms open up in February, then there will be a reason to install streaming software on an iPhone or iTouch. However, even then, because of the bandwidth limit in the iPhone, it will only be useful for in-home or in-coffee-store use. Definitely useless in the car.

2 comments:

Rusty Hodge said...

It's not that they don't get streaming. They want you to buy your music and audio books and programs from them!

This is the same reason that iTunes has such poor radio support.. and that the iTunes radio directory is just a small part of one persons job at Apple. It's almost an orphan, except a lot of people use it.

Apple is pushing podcasts and other sync'ed content; not live streams. It's not just the iPhone, but look at the AppleTV - it supports podcasts but not streaming audio. Go figure.

Ericwipe287 said...

Hey, can't we connect it to car via bluetooth?

car speakers