The latest its that Apple is starting to look at Hulu. Very interesting to say the least. I had suggested that Apple would look bigger than Hulu and go after Netflix. But the goal is the same. Get a streaming service to bolster the iTunes asset as well as give a kick start to Apple TV. It would appear to make sense, Hulu is looking to be acquired and skip the whole IPO dance. They offer a strong menu of streaming content for any potential buyer, however they have the same problems Netflix has run into with regards to securing the rights to content. While Disney and Fox are part owners, no guarantee they play nice once they have divested their parts of Hulu. Of course Hulu does not have the DVD in red envelope stigma. This is a minor issue, or is it? Hulu has a bit of a more “coolness” associated with their brand. That might slot in nicely with Apple. For Apple, they are flush with cash, anyone see their latest quarter? With over $7b in profits from the quarter, they could purchase Hulu…three times over.
So if this feels so right, why will it not happen? I agree with many points made in this piece – click here. I think this comes down to Apple’s absolute draconian desire to control their content dissemination. I am not sure that Apple will want to dilute iTunes, if they add Hulu to their portfolio there will invariably be some slight conflict between iTunes and Hulu. Apple knows they need to continue to bolster their streaming services, but they will stick it out with their own branded offerings, namely iTunes.
Apple’s iPad has been nothing short of a phenomenal success, but why should that surprise us after the iPod and the iPhone, the latter thrusting Apple from a zero market share to being one of the major players in the smart phone business. The iPad is expected to potentially surpass 12 million units sold in 2010 and double that in 2011. Apple’s tablet computing device has already had a drastic impact on the sale of more traditional computing platforms – laptops. None of this is too shocking.
Apple has earned the mantle of the “cool” device company, the one that has simple to use, powerful, flexible and sleek hardware devices coupled with a content distribution network – iTunes and AppStore. Put all these together and the consumer will naturally gravitate to your product when their alternative is the old Windows style offering.
What I have come to appreciate with my iPad…and I am someone who waffled on the iPad – first I wanted one, then I thought it wasn’t something I needed, eventually purchased one and now love it. But what the iPad has become is not a web surfing device, not a replacement for my laptop to do computing but a wonder entertainment device. I realize that might encompass so of what I just mentioned. The iPad has allowed, or pushed, television viewing to be an individual outlet. The television has always been a communal activity. Granted, I realize that some of us watch hours of television alone, but at its core it is for a group of people to aggregate around: watch a movie, the World Cup finals, the evening news, the season finale of Survivor or the launch of the space shuttle just to name a few activities.
What the iPad has brought is the ability to take this experience and truly allow the individual to control and enjoy it on their own. The form factor is much more personal, you sit at your desk and watch a movie, lie in bed and watch the last tv series or while in the airplane catch up on an iTunes movie from last season. The ability to truly personalize the selection and viewing of movies and television has finally been truly unleashed thanks to the iPad and other personal tablets.
While all the apps are great, and the form factor is basically a iPhone/iPod Touch on steriods, the iPad and its form factor is more adaptable to the visual nature of video. That might be its greatest app. Now if I could only get real time streaming television to my iPad….