Streaming vs. Downloading -> Who Cares?
Apple really does seem to be hiding the actual method of delivering content to iOS devices. Stream? Download? You need a packet-sniffer to know for sure.(*)
So why would Apple want to hide the stream / download distinction? I think it's to eliminate confusion among consumers. The average consumer doesn't know or care about the technical differences between streaming and downloading. The result is the same. S/he just wants their content to play as soon as possible, smoothly, and with high quality. Tap play, it's there, and we get on with our lives.
And as the average consumer's internet access gets faster and faster, there won't be any need to differentiate. If you "stream" your content, and it is even temporarily stored entirely on your device, doesn't that qualify as a "download?"
And if you "download" something but you aren't allowed to watch part or all of it again, doesn't the end result look and feel like "streaming" to the user? No? Yes? We could debate the error correction algorithms, buffering protocols, user experience subtleties, and nitpicky sophistry of streaming vs. downloading ad nauseam. Let's not.
On the non-technical-vast-majority side of things, consumers clearly understand the difference between renting and buying content. For generations we've been trained to either rent or buy VHS tapes, Laser Discs, video games, DVDs, those horrendous Circuit City DIVX discs, and now Blu-Ray discs and online content. You rent something and you expect it to disappear in one way or another after a reasonable period. You buy something and you expect to keep it forever, modulo bit rot. Simple. Unambiguous. Ingrained.
I think Apple wants to continue speaking to consumers using simple terms. Using the terms "rent" and "buy" instead of terms open to debate like "stream" and "download." iTunes already lets users choose between renting and buying movies. Why mess with success?
Consumer-oriented technology needs to be ruthlessly simple to succeed. Apple is great at keeping things simple. Apple is also great at being ruthless, but that's another story. Abschied Galaxy Tab 7,7.(**)
(*) TiPb: iTunes Match and why streaming vs downloading isnít supposed to matter
TiPb: iOS 5 beta 7 ends iTunes Match download vs streaming confusion?
(**) Bloomberg: Galaxy Tab 7.7 sales injunction in Germany