Thursday, September 10, 2009

Steve Jobs Goes "All In" on Internet Video (in a Small Way -- the Nano)

Yesterday marked Steve Jobs' return as the public face of Apple -- and, it was a welcome one -- a nearly two minute standing ovation that virtually eclipsed everything else in the show.

The big news of the day apart from Jobs himself? Not the Beatles. Not a new tablet. Rather, it was video. Specifically, Steve Jobs -- and Apple -- want to take a big bite out of the accelerating Internet video market. In Jobs' words at the event, "video has exploded in the last few years ... we want to get in on this." And, he wasn't too shy about who is in his sites in particular to make that happen -- that would be Cisco and their newly acquired Flip cam product. Apple is taking them head on (something rare for the company to do so publicly, which itself is a compliment to Flip). It is clear that Jobs and Apple see video capture (recording) and personal video publishing to the Internet as the next frontier.

What is Jobs' bet on its secret weapon to make this happen? It is the iPod nano initially, which now has a camera and microphone on its back. Jobs is betting that the iPod's multi-purpose functionality and smaller form factor will carry the day. But, the single purpose Flip cam is drop dead easy to use and features HD video among other things (the nano does not) -- and, Flip users are as passionate as the Apple faithful.

In any event, Jobs' emphasis on immersing Apple into the Internet video game (just like Cisco's acquisition of Pure Digital/Flip a few months back) should be a wake-up call to many -- get into the Internet video game now (or you may be left in the dust -- watching the video of others capturing that multi-billion dollar opportunity).