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How Apples Walled Garden Hurt Their Live Stream

Today is Apple’s biggest day of the year. Apple announced their flagship phones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Apple also announced their new wearable, the Apple Watch. The product launches were so big that Apple redirected anyone who visited Apple.com to their live-stream so that everyone could enjoy Apple’s presentation on their latest tech.

Sadly, Apple lost some major points today. Apple’s live-stream just wasn’t up to the task. A quick look over at Reddit and you’ll find a slew of users complaining about the live stream. The biggest universal issues that were faced was that the live-stream didn’t flow. The stream was consistently patchy at best. When the stream did work, digital onlookers were greeted with a Chinese women’s voice doing a voice over for translating purposes.

I suspect that Quick Time, Apple’s proprietary software, is to blame for the stream interruptions. Frankly put, Quick Time is awful and Apple hasn’t been focusing on their video player as of late. The worst part is, all of that would be fine and dandy if Apple allowed for alternatives but the walled garden that is Apple doesn’t allow for it, nor will they even consider it.

All of this doesn’t even sum up to how Apple’s walled garden hurt them on their biggest day of the year. Apple doesn’t allow anyone to watch their live-stream on anything but an iOS or OSX based device. By limiting their viewership to only people who already have their device in one form or another, Apple missed out on directly tapping into their sleeping giants: users without an iPhone.

A Reddit user pointed out that the decision to not allow users without Macs or iPhones to watch the event boiled down to a technical decision stating the only Safari supports Apple’s streaming method. This was a good point. However, it’s diluted by the fact that Safari is no longer supported by Apple. Apple decided to not support their only alternative without giving a good solution to taking away that alternative.

For a second, let’s make the assumption that Quick Play is amazing and wasn’t at fault. Let’s make the assumption that the live-stream failed because of the sheer amount of users who were tuned into the live stream. Perhaps by only allowing iOS and OSX devices to stream, Apple was limiting the viewership to keep the stream manageable. If this were the case, Apple still made the wrong move. A better solution would have been to stream it live on YouTube. This would make it available to all devices while leaving the heavy lifting to YouTube.

YouTube would have been the best option, period.

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