Apps aren't "killing the web." They're TV-ifying it.


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Jul 9, 2010
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I read a story on how iOS apps are "killing the web" as we know it. Because iOS users launch apps to get web content instead of using traditional browsers.

Not quite sure how that is "killing" anything (other than Windows) but I think Apple's long-term plan is to condition iOS users to think of web content outside the context of a browser window. And why would they do that? My guess is that Apple wants to make the web more Apple TV-friendly, and they think that's the best way to do it.

Yes, it's more convenient to tap the CNN app icon on your iPhone than to bring up mobile Safari and type w w w . c n n . c o m into the URL field. And it's more convenient than scrolling all the way down to the bookmark. And yes, a native app allows CNN to deliver a better experience, instead of finding the lowest common denominator between different browsers and OSes and compromising the experience.

Yuck. If and when Apple TV runs apps, the web apps will make web surfing a vastly better experience than it could ever be with a traditional browser. And in this case, "better" means "simpler." One less barrier between you and your content. Less friction between the web experience and the TV experience.

Having said all that, I don't think web surfing will be an important feature in the future app-enabled Apple TV. iTunes and App Store, as always, will be vastly more important to Apple and its customers. Music, movies, TV shows, and yes, games.

And, to go way out on a limb, I expect the concepts of TV networks and TV channels to disappear. You won't need to think of CBS as a network on channel 5.1 any more. Just launch the Survivor app and watch the latest episode. And what channel is showing the game now? Doesn't matter. Just launch the MLB app for standings and to watch games live.

Of course, this is more than just a small matter of Cocoa programming. I'm sure there's already a prototype of all this somewhere behind locked doors in a secret Apple lab. But will the networks "get it"? Will they need to be beaten into submission before being dragged into the 21st century? If they don't, they will fossilize into dumb pipes, clinging to their legacy network model.

TV is probably going to be a hugely important part of Apple's future. Either as an iOS device embedded into other manufacturers' TVs or as an enhanced Apple TV box or as an Apple-branded HDTV set. (And I'm convinced iAd was targeted at HDTV from day 1.) Right now most of Apple's profits come from their rather high hardware margins. That has worked extremely well recently, but in a decade or two consumer-level hardware that plays media, handles internet data, and plays games, will be free.

Hardware performance increases as hardware costs decrease over time. In 1990 a 1 GB external disk drive cost $1000. I know. I bought one back then. Two years ago I got a 1 GB USB thumb drive as a free bonus when I bought memory for my iMac. That's progress.

By getting into the TV industry in a big way, Apple can secure its future. Native apps with web content are just a tiny step toward that future.

Here's the article on "killing the web":
Apple 'is killing the World Wide Web' - Business - Macworld UK

Here's Steve's quote about revamping TV:
Don't Be So Sure Apple Won't Start Selling TVs

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