Category: DRM

The iPad – changing the game…

iPad’s Killer App: It Looks A Bit Like A Magazine.


Really good insight into what lies beneath Apple sleek, minmalist iPad, straight from the horse’s mouth – Colin McCaffery, product director at 2ergo (emphasis theirs).

“I believe the iPad will be about sitting in front of the TV whilst watching TV, browsing a ‘magazine’,” McCaffery – whose 2ergo made the apps for The Guardian, Fox NewsArsenal FC andothers – told me in an interview. “It will switch on in a second, you’ll be straight in to your content – it will be almost exactly like a magazine that you pick up from the coffee table.”

The jury is still out on whether people will naturally see the iPad as a coffee table companion, but it’s clear that important people in the media, already see the iPad as a way of realising the dream of digitized, subscription based content.

iPhone developers are currently getting to grips with the new software developers kit that includes iPad features, and 2ergo is already working on firm iPad app projects for four clients.

So the desire by the content creators is there, it seems now the ball is firmly in our court, that’s you and me, the content consumers –  are we willing to pay for content anymore?

Last year I bought the excellent zombie-killer game on the iPhone, “Call Of Duty – Zombies”

This game is totally ‘up my street’, and last week they released a new map, which could be purchased through the app. The app cost £5.99, and the new map cost £2.99.

I purchased it straight after viewing the demo, but what worried me, and what should worry all content creators, are the comments on the app store from users who balked at the price.

Many thought that they has paid quite enough and expected all future maps to be either free, or under a pound.

Is this the current attitude of your average computer user?

It seemed that a lot of these comments came from kids, who obviously have very little money to spend, and they won’t necessarily be the same market that the clients of 2ergo are after, but no-one can doubt that these are their future customers.

And it’s this that seems to be at the heart of the iPad’s approach – it’s not a computer.

It’s not a device that ‘does it all’ and therefore doesn’t have all the shortcomings (from a content creator’s point of view), of that device – in this case, run illegal software and media.

It’s a perfect device to redefine what consuming media means as a concept, it’s the perfect device for content creators to take back their industry from the computer users, who have, let’s face it, damaged their careers, by arrogantly assuming that they can have everything for free.

A future where content is tied to a device and must be paid for might sound a nightmare to some people, but that’s also a future where content-creators can finally make a living online, allowing them to create even better content going forward, and in the long run, that’s good for everyone.


Thank you all for listening…


I know that this lowly blog isn’t totally responsible for this news:

Amazon fails to dent iTunes

but it’s nice to know that the record companies plan to cripple Apple’s dominance in the downloadable music industry, isn’t working.

Amazon’s entry into the market has nothing to do with consumer choice. They have allowed Amazon to have DRM-free music, because they want to stop Steve Jobs from keeping prices of music low.

If Apple is reduced to an also-ran, then they can safely ignore them when they increase prices across the board, and believe me they would.

Amazon, being the faceless corporate behemoth they are, will simply roll-over and take it up the ass, but Apple? Steve will probably pull out of the industry all together.

Which is what the music industry wants.

Anyway, I’ve always wondered why people have such a problem with Apple’s Fairplay DRM. 

It is the fairest out there (obviously), and I’ve never come up against it’s restrictions. But then again, I don’t pirate music.

So, if you are fair with the music industry’s property, you don’t come up against the DRM. It’s perfect.

If you never come up against a DRM mechanism, can you really say that DRM exists?

Anyway, it now seems that Apple is finally winning the battle, with the rumours that they will have DRM-free music shortly. But, I spoke too soon:

Labels making specific demands in iTunes talks

It seems that they are still holding out. Time will tell whether they make the right choice for consumers.

Still they don’t get it…

I’ve recently subscribed to a new podcast, ‘MacNotables‘ hosted by Chuck Joiner (a great name and a great podcast).

Episode #824 caught my attention, because it discussed in the main, the new Napster music store, and then the topic of the Amazon music store and why the music labels have given more favourable terms to other music stores at the expense of giving them to Apple.

Now I’ve discussed this before here, and I feel I make a valid arguement that the reason why this is happening is nothing to do with consumer choice, but is mainly about the music companies getting their industry back from Apple, so that they can control it again, and raise prices, re-introduce DRM, and make even more money for themselves.

But after listening to this podcast, I can see that even the most intelligent and insightful Mac-pundits simply cannot see the wood for the trees (or the music for the albums as it were).

Andy Inakto Innhakto Ihnatko, (who joking aside, have enormous respect for), is totally wrong here.

In listening to the quite heated discussion amongst the protagonists in MacNotables #824 episode, the conclusion I can draw from Andy is that he feels that Amazon’s music store is a good thing, and iTunes could do with the competition.

He uses iTunes to search for music and listen to the samples, but then goes to Amazon to buy it.

To save what amounts to a few bucks.

Every buck he saves erodes Apple’s dominance, and further entrenches Amazon’s.

Now I’ve nothing against Amazon, I use it all the time to buy stuff, it’s the way in which Andy, and others like him have been totally suckered by the recording industry to effectively allow them to, sooner or later, completely ignore Apple when they argue with them over pricing.

And when that happens, all those little bucks that Andy has been saving, will be won back when the recording industry is allowed to raise prices, because they can safely ignore Apple again.

Well done Andy.

Microsoft PlaysforSure, doesn’t play for sure anymore (for sure)…

Plays for sure

Here’s the bad news.

It’s amazing that this has not been reported more widely in the press. After countless arguements that Microsoft’s DRM was the future, and you’d be mad to go with iTunes, now comes the news that puts Microsoft’s take on the user/provider firmly into sharp relief.

Put simply; you know all that music that you spent your hard earned cash on from any one of a number of ‘PlaysForSure’ partner of Microsoft’s?

Well, they want it back please and no, you don’t get your money back.

Can someone please explain to me again, why Apple isn’t at 95% market share and companies like Microsoft at 5%?

Why do Windows users put up with being slapped in the face constantly – do you think they actually like it?

Can anyone really trust Microsoft again?

I’m glad that all my online music purchases are from iTunes, because at least I know that Apple will still be around in 10 years time.

It’s strange that back in the 90’s the ‘still being around in 10 years time’ was the reason given by a lot of IT Managers when giving a reason for choosing Windows over the Mac.

How times have changed, it’s a pity a lot of IT managers haven’t.

My thoughts on ‘thoughts on music’…


Steve Jobs’ unexpected ‘Thoughts On Music’ posting took not only the tech world, but the music world by surprise. If any one thing demonstrates the power that Apple have today it’s statements such as this. When Steve speaks, the world listens, when Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Rob Glaser, or other tech luminaries speak, the world barely glances in their direction.

The statement that Steve made, boils down to this:

For some reason, the wider media have assumed that the reason why the iPod and iTS combo have DRM built in to every item purchased from it, is because Apple desired it, and they desired it because it locks iTS software content, to iPod hardware. This results in the concept that the more content you buy from the iPod, the less likely you are to buy competing hardware.

This apparently isn’t the case.

iTS content is locked to the iPod, and does have the side effect of locking people in to the hardware, but what most, if not all, tech columnists fail to mention, is that this DRM is easily circumvented (and FULLY supported by Apple – no hacks required), by simply re-ripping the DRM’d tracks to CD and re-importing them in to your competing players’ software.

This sounds a little long-winded, but is a walk in the park compared to stripping the DRM from Microsoft’s DRM, which is all but impossible for the average user, and certainly isn’t documented in any way by Microsoft.

Somebody should really let the Norwegians in on this little secret, but I feel that they are perfectly aware of this already and are simply acting on behalf of a certain group of privately owned businesses – I wonder who they could be?

No, the reason why DRM exists on the iTS, is because the music companies demanded it, and not only demanded it’s inclusion, but also demanded that Apple actively fix it, should it be broken.

I myself (unlike the BBC), believe him (by and large).

There are a few questions however. If Steve is so against DRM, and the only reason he agreed to it was to get contracts for the iTS, then why does he not allow DRM-free music on the iTS from indie labels, who are quite happy to give contracts out (such as for eMusic), right now, with no DRM in sight?

Who knows. It could be that the contracts that were signed by the big four, specifically exclude DRM-free music such as this, but even I admit that I’m reaching here.

Or, more likely, Steve was quite happy to go with DRM-free music, but when it was forced on to him by the big four, he saw the potential to sell more iPods and could not turn it down. Don’t forget Apple is a public company and has a duty to it’s shareholders – you cannot turn down the chance of increased profits no matter what your principles.

So, I think that the reason why Steve did this was to clear up the blame for DRM, and to point out to certain European Marxists that it ‘aint Apple’s fault – they need to talk to the big four.

And also, as a little, tiny, eeny-weeny side effect (if this results in DRM being abandoned), it also completely destroys, from top to bottom and inside-out, Microsoft’s entire business plan.

Sorry Bill, what can we say, except ‘whoops’?