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Summary:

For the first time, an Apple press event will be live-streamed to the public. Starting at 10 a.m. PT tomorrow, Apple.com will host a stream of the rumored and expected announcements of a new iPod Touch, iTunes rentals, and an overhaul of the Apple TV.

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Updated: For the first time in a long time, an Apple press event will be live streamed to the public, the company announced today. Starting at 10 a.m. PT tomorrow, Apple.com will host a stream of the highly anticipated announcements of (if rumors and expectations hold true) updated iPods, iTunes rentals, and an overhaul of the Apple TV.

Update: As commenters have pointed out, this is not Apple’s first-ever live stream, just the first in a long time (and in the modern video era). Some of us vaguely recall a crappy 2004-era Quicktime video stream. If you can remember what happened, please leave a comment.

In some ways, this is the end of an era. Due to intense interest in what was being announced to a closed-door audience, Apple press events played a huge part in the birth of the art of live blogging. Sites like Engadget honed awe-inspiring team efforts to live blog every word out of Steve Jobs’ mouth and punch it up with snarky fanboy commentary, pictures and analysis, with fresh updates coming every few seconds.

To a lesser — but still significant — degree, Apple keynotes also helped streaming services like Qik get off the ground. Their early viewing records for livestreams were set by illicit video capture from the events. I know many people scramble around on sites like Justin.tv hoping to find a stream running during the event.

Since Apple doesn’t typically post video from its product launches until later in the day, demand for breaking news is incredibly high. Often, live event coverage influences the stock market. I’ve heard that even Apple employees drop what they’re doing during keynotes and tune into the live-blogs from their desks.

There’s clearly been latent demand for video from Apple’s events for some time, so I have to wonder why it came now. One potential factor might have been the trouble Jobs had getting a reliable network connection to do a live demo of the iPhone 4 at its launch in June, which he attributed at the time to bloggers using MiFi and similar devices to run their own Wi-Fi networks.

To be sure, many desk workers will still prefer text coverage to video. But the true fanboys and girls will want to see Steve for themselves in real time.

One interesting twist is that video coverage will only be available on Apple devices. This is a bit absurd, but I suppose it fits with the company’s passion for controlling the user experience. It’s possible the livestream is being used as the “gimmick” for the Apple TV relaunch, hence the OS X/iOS requirements. Besides, most watchers will be on a Mac or iOS device anyways.

Here are the viewing details:

Apple® will broadcast its September 1 event online using Apple’s industry-leading HTTP Live Streaming, which is based on open standards. Viewing requires either a Mac® running Safari® on Mac OS® X version 10.6 Snow Leopard®, an iPhone® or iPod touch® running iOS 3.0 or higher, or an iPad™. The live broadcast will begin at 10:00 a.m. PDT on September 1, 2010 at http://www.apple.com.

Meanwhile, we video industry watchers will have to hope that after the event Apple tells us how many people tuned in. It’s sure to be a lot.

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Apple’s Path to the Living Room

Photo courtesy Tom Coates.

  1. I’m confused about all these “for the first time” stories. Apple used to live stream events and keynotes all the time, like a decade ago, before most people even knew that streaming video on the web even existed.

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    1. You know, I had that in the back of my head while I was writing. Maybe back in like 2004 they had it? Do you remember when or why they discontinued it? I’ll update the post but would appreciate any help with the historical record. From what I vaguely recall it was pretty crappy to the point it was unwatchable.

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      1. I don’t actually remember hearing why. I just remember one year I settled in to watch one of the keynotes and it discovered it wasn’t being streamed.

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      2. Apple did live streaming for a long time before you remember – there was MBONE work in the early 90s. When I joined in 1998, Jobs demo’d live broadcasting at WWDC that summer (I wrote the broadcaster system code and first app).
        Thereafter, WWDC and MacWorld keynotes were webcast through Akamai, and it wasn’t crappy, there were megabit, 300kbit, 100kbit and 40kbits streams. Maybe you had a crappy dial-up connection, back then Liz.
        Here’s a press release describing the record number of streams served in 2002:

        http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2002/jan/09quicktime.html

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    2. Thank you for saying it first. (It’s weird seeing folks with only 6-8 years of experience and/or memory.)

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    3. It was the same experience I had: one day I sat down to watch a keynote and there was no stream. I think they have stoped doing it because Steve wanted to give the good news to the audience present in the first place. But, if Apple is moving it’s business model towards streaming content, nothing more apropriate than to live stream the event in which they’ll be announcing it ;-)

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  2. They did indeed used to live stream the keynotes (MWSF and MWNY for example) all the time. Indeed, I remember a live stream where they demonstrated the QuickTime Streaming Server for the first time (or near to it)- 50 Bondi Blue iMacs in a rack streaming off of a PowerMac G3 running MacOS X Server (when MacOS X Server was still quasi-Rhapsody and predated Darwin based OS X as we know it).

    They even made a big deal about their investment in Akimai and how that was driving the streaming event itself.

    They also streamed the introduction of the PowerPC G4 processor, and if I recall correctly, the first event they didn’t stream (because I drove to an Apple Store to watch their satellite presentation) was the iTunes Music Store introduction.

    So sometime around April 2003 is when they stopped.

    I feel old now.

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  3. I absolutely love the way the iPhone 4 looks in the background of the photo of Steve Jobs. It looks so cool!

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  4. [...] More newteevee.com0 Comments No Comments Your [...]

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  5. That pretty pathetic Apple.

    Only streaming to Apple devices…. oh no its WORSE than that if your not a Super Apple fan boy/girl (has the newest version of OS X or iOS) you don’t get to watch the stream.

    Ya I use to be a MacAddict but lately no way in hell.

    They have forgotten where they came from and who got them there…

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    1. whiner

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  6. To be inclusive of non Apple devices and deliver good quality, they would have had to use non-Apple technologies, for example Microsoft’s adaptive HTTP streaming technology which targets Apple devices quite nicely (see http://www.iis.net/iphone)

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    1. remove last )
      http://iis.net/iphone

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    2. To be fair, they did write a spec for how their streaming works:
      http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-pantos-http-live-streaming-04

      It does require a lot of polling…

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  7. Yep, used to stream all the time. Why don’t you, as a journalist, tell us, the readers, when that stopped and for how long it took place?

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  8. Its only me who finds it funny that this will work only on Apple software, welcome to Jobs vision of internet lol.

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  9. Will TAB still be doing a live blog of the key note?

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  10. [...] Data Center?All Things Digital (blog)ZDNet (blog) -Wired News -NewTeeVee (blog)all 558 news [...]

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