Apple Live Streaming Fail

Apple, in a recent press release, promised me (and everyone else) that if I took the time to be available at 10 am PST (which happens to be 1:00 EST, my time), I could watch Steve Jobs present some new Apple iOS features.

"Apple® will broadcast its September 1 event online using Apple’s industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming, which is based on open standards. Viewing requires either a Mac® running Safari® on Mac OS® X version 10.6 Snow Leopard®, an iPhone® or iPod touch® running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad™. The live broadcast will begin at 10:00 a.m. PDT on September 1, 2010 at www.apple.com."

So, I altered my schedule and made sure that I was sitting with a good Internet connection at the scheduled time. I thought it might be fun to watch it on my iPad. I check the link out in advance, and see that there is a picture of a guitar, and a promise that the Live Stream will be available at 10:00 am PST, which is 1:00 pm EST my time. Okay, I'm in the right place.

I get online again around 12:55 EST, and click to the appropriate link. And there is a video stream there! So far so good.

Well, 1:00 rolls around, and no Steve. I assume that they're running a bit late. After all, streaming live video to legions of Apple fans using Apple's industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming is no mean feat, so I wait patiently. As 1:10, 1:15, 1:25 roll by, it becomes clear that I am watching a repeating loop of videos taken in the auditorium.

Curious, I fire up my HTC Evo phone and check sites that I know are liveblogging the presentation.

Imagine my surprise to find that the presentation started on time, and Steve is, by now, a half hour into his presentation!

I'm a little bit perturbed. I can watch recorded Apple presentations at my leisure anytime; they are typically posted by the evening.

Apple, don't waste my time promising a live presentation, and then delivering a taped presentation without even making an effort to tell me that your plan to deliver a live stream has failed and thereby allow me to decide for myself the best use of my time.

So, I suppose Steve (who looks healthier as the months go by, I'm glad to see) probably talked about some magical and revolutionary products and services. However, I can just read about them on one of the sites that were privileged to have an actual as opposed to a merely promised live feed. And so, I guess, can you.

Fail.

Until Apple gets the bugs out of it's industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming, I'll just keep reading science-fictional accounts of using cool technology to watch a live image of a person at a distance. In his 1928 novel Crashing Suns, Edmond Hamilton conceives of the telestereo:

Abruptly I was aroused from my musings by the sharp ringing of a bell at my elbow. "The telestereo," I said to Hal Kur. "Take the controls." As he did so I stepped over to the telestereo's glass disk, inset in the room's floor, and touched a switch beside it. Instantly there appeared standing upon the disk, the image of a man in the blue and white robe of the Supreme Council, a lifesize and moving and stereoscopically perfect image, flashed across the void of space to my apparatus by means of etheric vibrations...
(Read more about Edmund Hamilton's telestereo)

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