Jobs announces Podcasts in iTunes


If this is true, it could change the landscape for podcasting significantly: Apple is jumping on the podcast wagon:

Steve Jobs just revealed at the D: All Things Digital Conference that iTunes 4.9 will add support for podcasts. With one click you’ll be able to subscribe to different feeds and have them automatically delivered to your iPod without using a third-party app like iPodder. Youll be able to search through a directory of available podcasts (producers will be able to register their podcasts with the iTunes Music Store), but users will have the option of adding whatever feeds they want to iTunes. The other big news: Jobs says that he would consider selling podcasts through the iTunes Music Store, something which should have Audible just a little worried.
(from Engadget – also on oreilly.com and sixapart.com)

Some reflections:

  • there should be a big impact on the market of commercial podcast clients like iPodderX (for Mac). Why pay for something that ships right out of the box in iTunes?
  • The .Net based, Windows-only Doppler still has a lot of bells and whistles that iTunes probably won’t have in the beginning, but they should focus on support for all things non-Apple: Windows Media Player and maybe RealPlayer, WMA, Ogg-Vorbis audio formats (and maybe conversion), mobile phones and PDAs, …
  • the Python based iPodder software loses some of its attraction: iTunes is also cross-platform. I don’t think iTunes will build in BitTorrent support soon, but that is a minor Unique Selling Proposition. They probably have to do the same as Doppler: go broader than Apple.
  • selling podcasts through iTunes … That is one step closer to allowing people to sell music straight from musician to the end-user, bypassing record companies and record stores. So wouldn’t Amazon be interested to be in this game too?
  • will Apple do some kind of screening of the content? I can not imagine an American public company providing a directory where anyone can say just anything, First Amendment or not. So there will probably be a special iTunes podcast directory, with a Code of Conduct to be signed before inclusion, and any complaint about illegal music (mashups?), blasphemy, four-letter words or politically incorrect opinions will get you thrown out.
  • what about podcast hosting? If Apple wants to make a buck selling podcasts, they can sure make money hosting the content. They have the experience hosting media for the Apple trailers and iTunes Music store, access to cheap hardware (for them anyway) and bandwidth and experience with micro-payment. Or can they find a business model where they host for free (but with a higher quality level than the idisk.mac.com service) in exchange for something else?
  • will Microsoft do something similar? Build podcast support into Windows Media Player? It would make a lot of sense: with WMA, they own the only audio format that is a worthy competitor for MP3 (basically only Apple’s iPod players do not support it). And maybe a podcast plugin for the MSN Spaces service?
  • will Google do something with podcasts? An modified version of Blogger with better podcast support (provide RSS feeds, god forbid)? Provide media hosting in exchange for searching the content and meta-data?

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1 thought on “Jobs announces Podcasts in iTunes”

  1. It’s not true that people won’t pay for something that comes built-in with the system. If another software adds enough value, people would definitely buy that. Eg. take iView Media Pro. Technically, since everyone on mac has iPhoto, there is no market for iView but a surprisingly large number of people buy it. It’a all about adding value.

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