I originally wrote the following on June 27, 2007, three days before the iPhone launched. I'm not updating the content other than adding this preface. I believe it's important to hammer some of these points again because many Internet video services will be springing up in the near future. The ones that will be most successful will embrace the concept of giving people full control over their media. Most of the services launching like Hulu, don't have that concept in mind. Apple does have that concept in mind (I think) and I believe unless Apple screws up, it's bound to crush the Hulu style services, or better yet, make the other services realize control over media is important and incorporate it into their services too.
Step 1: Launch the best portable music player ever designed that works with the best software ever designed for managing the experience and get millions of iPods into the world and hundreds of millions of copies of iTunes installed World Wide.Report Card: A+ Step 2: Create a buzz around a revolutionary new phone which actually probably isn’t the best cell phone in the world, but make people want it anyway by being the best iPod ever.
Based on the reviews here, here, here and here the early report card is: A+ (when you consider the phone isn’t available and all these guys tried to find the reasons not to like it, and they had many…and still loved it anyway).
Step 3: Launch more affordable stand alone iPod that has all the features of the iPhone except the phone itself (think biggerscreen and cool as heck WiFi appliance)
Report Card: TBD
Step 4: Turn AppleTV (Steve’s Little Hobby™) into a full-fledged media server (as opposed to the basic media extender it currently is) with full features (DVR, pay per view/internet download directly from the tv, full streaming capabilities not just at home, but remotely). The goal of this box should be that it’s mostly transparent to the people using it. If they want to watch something on their big screen, it works, if they want to watch in their bedroom, it works, if they want to watch on their office computer, it works and of course if they want to watch on their iPod or iPhone, it works.
Report Card: TBD
Time is an important dimension here, but total world domination is worth the effort as far as Apple and Steve Jobs are concerned. They’ll have to keep stirring the pot, and I believe that Apple will make the concept of “liberating your media, so it’s really yours to do what you please with” something that everyone wants. But if Marketing is the metric, and past performance is any indicator…A+ Keep doing that for the next 5-15 years and…total world domination. And really, given its history, Apple would be happy to only own 80-90% of the “liberated media market”.
My only ding on Apple at all with regard to any of this is that if they sold iPods with big hard drives preloaded with 100 hours of video content, more people would understand the concept of portable media sooner, but they can wait 1-3 years on this probably without it impacting the quest for dominance.