Apple Spring Event a Dud for Podcasting

Apple logoYesterday, Apple held its “Spring Forward” event in San Francisco. Buzz for the event focused on Apple’s new smartwatch. But rumors that had been circulating for a few weeks suggested that there would also be news about Apple’s MacBook line of laptop computers as well as Apple TV, the company’s home media hub.

And while the Spring Forward event held plenty of fanfare tied in with some cool announcements, there wasn’t much to be excited about for new media producers. Here’s a breakdown:

Apple TV: The big announcement here focused on the HBO NOW app coming to Apple TV in April. And while HBO NOW may be a boon to Game of Thrones fans, many in the new media community were hoping Apple would finally announce the opening of an app store for Apple TV, similar to the stores that exist on Macs and iOS devices. No luck there.

MacBook: Apple’s laptop computers have always been an impressive display of minimalist design. And with every new iteration, somehow Apple continues to make these computer thinner and lighter. The newest design continues this tradition by removing all but one port on the MacBook’s exterior. Apple’s using the new USB-C protocol, a technology that allows a single port to not only charge the computer, but also send video to an external display and transfer data. The new MacBook also comes with no traditional cooling fan, presumably making it very quiet. And that quietness factor could be beneficial to podcasters who are looking for ways to limit background noise in their recordings. But USB-C is new and untested technology. Will it hold up to the demands of typical podcasting peripherals such as USB microphones, audio interfaces and hard drives? Granted, MacBook aren’t really intended to be “production machines.” But reducing the number of ports seems like Apple is limiting the potential of the new MacBook by default. I’m sure eager producers will put the new laptop thru its paces. We’ll see how it stacks up over time.

Apple Watch: No one really expected the Apple Watch would come out as anything more than a consumption and communication device. And the demonstration that was done at yesterday’s event pretty much confirmed that. However, Apple Watch does have a built-in microphone, so it’s possible that third-party developers will find some clever ways to use it within audio-production apps. Also, the Apple Watch is shown as having access to various music apps, so it’ll probably be able to access podcasting apps as well, allowing users to browse podcasts they’re subscribed to and (hopefully) find new ones to listen to.

So, there you have it. Another Apple shindig is in the can and there’s really nothing exciting for those of us in the new media space. I guess we’ll have to wait for the next big event to see if Apple’s got anything beyond stainless steel bands and dancing Mickey Mouse watch faces.