Apple is live streaming Wednesday’s iPod event as a test of its massive new data center, we’ve been informed by a source.
Apple’s first live video broadcast in years is a test of the server farm’s ability to stream a future version of iTunes for iOS devices, our tipster says.
“The goal is to monitor traffic load and quality,” says our tipster, who asked to remain anonymous to preserve their connections at Apple.
HTTP Live Streaming is open standards-based streaming technology. As well as streaming live video, it supports video on demand with encryption and authentication, Apple says. It is built into QuickTime X and iOS. Apple is currently submitting HTTP Live Streaming as a proposed Internet standard.
During the Sept. 1 event, Jobs is expected to unveil a new $99 AppleTV with Netflix; a revamped iPod touch with a Retina Display and FaceTime cameras; and, perhaps most importantly, a $0.99 TV show rental service that will presumably make use of the new data center’s streaming capabilities. In other words, the live stream of the event will be a live demonstration.
The broadcast will likely involve hundreds of thousands of simultaneous live video streams, maybe more.
Apple’s new data center in Maiden, North Carolina, is due to go into full operation later this year, Apple’s CFO Peter Oppenheimer said in the Q3 conference call. The $1 billion data center is one of the largest ever built, rivaling server farms operated by some of the biggest companies on the internet.
Apple has been typically silent about its plans for the data center, except to say “the facility will provide Apple with a major East Coast infrastructure hub to support its iTunes music store and iPhone app store.” Apple already operates a large data center in Newark, Calif. The Maiden data center is five times the size.
Some have speculated that Apple is streaming the show to thwart livebloggers, who may have sabotaged Jobs’ iPhone 4 keynote at Apple’s WWDC event in June. Problems with the venue’s WiFi network ruined Jobs’ FaceTime demo and forced him to ask bloggers in the audience to shut their laptops to reduce the strain on the wireless network.
Others have wondered if live streaming the event gives Jobs more control over delivery of the news. That, however, is unlikely. The events are already heavily stage-managed and besides, Apple typically posts video of the events just hours after they conclude. Nonetheless, broadcasting future events is probably a death knell for livebloggers, who generate tens of millions of pageviews with live transcripts and pictures of the proceedings.
This is the first time Apple has attempted to live stream one of Jobs’ presentations over the internet in several years.
Apple used to live stream Jobs’ presentations until 2003 or 2004 as a demonstration of its then-new QuickTime Streaming Server technology.