Let’s just suppose for a moment that you’re an Apple devotee.
There are millions of them out there, swayed by the design sensibilities, and maybe an anti-Microsoft bias.
You may be one of these people, or you may not be. But, just for kicks, let’s pretend there’s a bit of a love affair going on between you and Cupertino.
How then do you satiate your craving for Apple news? Presumably with a steady diet of blog posts, the produce of rumor mills, maybe even a subscription to a magazine or two. Yes?
What About Video?
Okay, well, that’s good and fine, but what about the video angle? How do you get your fix of Mactastic product reviews, speculative talk, and general cultist junk in moving-picture form? Podcasts? YouTube clips?
What if you were to be given the option to watch an IPTV channel, active 24/7, that purported to provide nothing but Apple-centric foodstuffs?
You might be eager to sign on to such an experiment, no? (Remember, we’re still pretending to harbor fanatical zeal for Steve Jobs & Co.) Lucky you, then, because someone’s gone and launched that very item.
Before we divulge the details, let’s do this right and coat this story with a bit of butta, shall we?
A Brief History Of Apple
Some ten years ago, the company now known as Apple, Inc was but a struggling corporation.
Still in a relatively bad place (financially speaking) after having trudged through the late eighties and first half of the nineties in a lazy, disoriented stupor (even looking for a short moment into the dark, fearsome abyss of bankruptcy), it was just getting its bearings again, and saw hope in the return of its founding CEO extraordinaire, Steve Jobs.
It was also a point at which the aesthetically gifted Jonathan Ive was named Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, paving the way for designs like the iMac, the iBook, and the now ubiquitous iPod to be put into production. The rest, as they say, is history.
The Cult Has Grown Exponentially
Now, the cult of Mac is as strong and as far-reaching as ever. There still exists the devoted core, of course, gravitating ever so willingly to Cupertino and all its various inventions.
Only, the outer circle of more casually committed folk has grown exponentially with time, a global trend the result of Apple’s logical abandonment of restrictive, Mac OS-only development for a lucrative and more expansive life on the Windows front. (At least as far as iPod-iTunes progression is concerned, anyhow.)
So here we have a great big Apple fan club, with numbers reaching well into the tens of millions. (An impressive following for a profit-seeking business, for sure.)
How to satisfy them all? How to provide technological fodder for the converted and the devout when the company’s conferences aren’t in play?
Sure, there are the blogs and rumor sites and month-to-month glossies to quench the need for that continuous buzz.
But how about something a bit more visual, something that’s built to feed and please at all hours of the day, a la CNN? A geek-friendly 24-hour all-things-Apple television channel, perhaps? Yes, perhaps.
The Digital Lifestyle
Enter TDL, or The Digital Lifestyle. Founded by a Mr Ryan Ritchey, The Digital Lifestyle is the first of its kind. It’s kind being an Apple-specific news, rumor, and lifestyle IPTV outlet that operates all hours of the day. And night.
The idea is to aggregate many bits of professional and amateur content for broadcast over the Web in one unending visual stream.
Be it an episodic podcast, a user review of a hardware or software product, a breaking story, a discussion on an official or impending release. TDL looks to put it all together into one ongoing flow.
But Does It Work?
So, you’re likely wondering now just how well the concept translates into realistic practice. And my honest opinion is, well, not too good. Not terrible. But suffice it to say that you’ve gotta be a pretty staunch Apple fanatic to see it as something worth “tuning in” to with any regularity.
Of course, like most broadcast television channels, TDL does repeat particular blocks of content. It has to.
Yes, there is technically quite a bit of Apple-related content in video form floating about the Internet, and if it were a perfect world, TDL would be able to mate its service with all those nifty clips and things and fill up a good portion of the day with fresh material.
But it’s not a perfect world, and its partners in crime are few indeed. So it’s no surprise, then, that TDL’s broadcast cycle is a fairly diminutive one.
It gets mighty redundant mighty fast.
The technical quality of the stream isn’t anything to speak of, either. It’s terrible, really. Compared to the source material, it’s quite sub par, and that’s putting it lightly.
All in all, the project is an honorable one – ideally. For the fanboy (and fangirl) crowd, it’d be a bookmark likely frequented on a daily basis – if not hourly.
Unfortunately, the execution of it is poor. Poorer than poor. It’s abysmal. And for that, it’s getting no vote of confidence from moi.
What do you think of The Digital Lifestyle? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Let us know in the comments below.
Paul Glazowski is a contributing author discussing the social networking world, his work can be found on Profy.com
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