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Apple patents flesh out a three-screen strategy

appletvdvrpatent.jpgRecent Apple patents showing a flip-design iPhone and a DVR that might be able to exchange guide data with an iPhone (as well as give talk show hosts really bad haircuts) remind us that, while Apple has shared technology (operating systems, video and graphics support, iTunes support) among its entrants in each of the “three-screen” products — Mac, iPhone/iPod, and Apple TV, there really hasn’t been that much active collaboration among them at this point outside of being able to start a TV show or movie on one device and finish it on another (a cool feature, to be sure).

It’s fine for Apple to move slowly here. Consumers don’t buy “synergy”, they buy products. But just as I’ve credited the Apple store with providing an environment for letting consumers experience the iPod and expose the iPhone (particularly during the holiday season), Apple’s retail presence could make some of these difficult home networking concepts more palatable. The living room is definitely the weakest link and while the DVR market has been an extremely tough not to crack, Apple TV remains Apple’s weakest link in the chain.


  1. Ross Hauer Ross Hauer March 20, 2008

    What Apple needs to do is implement the same technology used by Slingbox. The Apple TV, which currently doesn’t apply to a very large crowd like the rest of the Apple product line, should be used in part with the iPhone/ iPod Touch. You should be able to purchase or rent a movie through Apple TV, and then connect to your device via WiFi or Edge, through a secure connection of course. By doing so, you would be able to stream movies/ TV shows to your iPhone/iPod Touch that you have recorded, and watch them at your leisure, without taking up space on the devices limited storage capability.

    By adding this feature and link between the iPhone and iPod touch, I believe people will finally see the Apple TV as a necessity/ “gotta have it” rather than a mediocre apple device that most people have overlooked and underestimated.

    Thanks for reading my opinion. Feel free to give your own 2 cents, Ross Hauer

  2. Guy Guy March 20, 2008

    I read your post on Engadget. Ever since this patent was revealed I tried to figure out how Apple can benefit financially from this.

    I’m no expert, but it would seem making a DVR would hinder future sales of TV shows via iTunes. Granted past shows could be purchased to catch up with the series, however this leads me to a possible conclusion.

    So how would Apple get away with allowing users to record a show and transfer it to your iPod or iPhone without the studios getting upset?

    Well, it seems simple and theres two similar options. Either you can purchase the content after viewing it and it would be just like purchasing the show via the iTunes Store…


    A subscription based model. With the rumors flying around about Apple opening a possible subscription service for their music, why not do the same for TV shows?

    In this case the users pays to download, the show, watch it and maybe even strip it of advertisements. Now the kicker is what if this subscription worked for both music AND TV. Apple will have positioned themselves as the leader in access to a digital lifestyle of content where ever you are whenever you want.

    Just a thought.

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