Apple has conquered the wireless world with the iPhone and iPad. Now they want to do to the cable industry what they have done to the wireless carriers. Forced them to get bigger pipes to deliver more big file content, more quickly. The announcement yesterday about streaming video is a dream come true for those of us in the streaming media world. And it's well timed. Add to it that more and more Apple devices can now handle this type of content more easily, all the way from laptops down to iPods, iPads and iPhones, and you have a perfect storm scenario that the providers of connectivity have to be ready for. In my view the cable industry is, but the wireless world is not. The only solution is WiFi.
Docsis 3.0 can deliver speeds up to 100 megs to the home. That's more than enough to do what Apple is doing with the concept of on demand video. But the wireless carriers are between the proverbial rock and a hard place as they can only build out so fast, while the cable guys simply lay more fiber. This is why Cablevision has had the right idea, and why Comcast and Time Warner are jumping on the WiFi bandwagon too. And, contrary to the perception that access to WiFi needs to be free, the cable operators are only letting their paying customers on the WiFi networks, and from all reports from friends in those MSO's areas with WiFi, the experience is nothing but as good as being at home.
This is where Apple is seeing it's future. Not simple over 3G and 4G though having a CLEARwire, Rover or unlimited AT&T wireless broadband account just got more valuable as the concept of content on the go, on demand shifts the entire paradigm around consumption. Currently Verizon Wireless sells their 5GB bundle for $59.99, which includes hotspot access where the download capacities are unlimited. That's about four HD one hour TV programs or two feature films. Like the cable operators, both AT&T and Verizon have recognized the need for WiFi offload. But Sprint and T-Mobile have both forsaken that path as Sprint selling of their limited WiFi business to Boingo and T-MO basically shutting down their WiFi efforts other than to maintain some legacy airports, airport lounge and hotel accounts. For AT&T they had to go out and buy Wayport, while Verizon has figured out how to creatively deliver hotspot access to their wireline broadband customers while their wireless data card software for PC's and Macs manages access to many hotspots as well.
But when you see Steve Jobs call the iPod touch a phone, not once but twice, you know Apple is saying "find anyway to connect, we'll get you the media" and that means voice, video or audio as best as it can be.