Theory: Apple doesn't do Blu-ray because they think it's the floppy drive of 2010

by Thomas Brady


I was thinking about this on the way to work this morning. I think Apple wants people to forget about discs - in whatever form/format they appear - and think downloads. I think they’re not supporting Blu-ray because they want people to download titles from the iTunes store. I’m sure I’m not the first person with that theory, but where I might differ is on their motivation.

Sure, they want to make money. But I think, too, that they are considering the experience, as they usually do.

Buying a Blu-ray copy of a movie means buy a very copyright-protected format copy of the movie. It means that you can watch that movie on Blu-ray players and naught else, unless you’re pretty computer savvy. Want to rip it to your iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad? Good luck. It’s not impossible (most of the time), but it’s not necessarily easy, either.

I’m not arguing that their vision is perfect or even correct, but I think what Apple is after is this scenario. You think of a movie. You pull out your iPhone and find it on iTunes. You purchase it and immediately start watching it (on the subway train or wherever you happen to be). You get through Act 1 and go to work. That night when you get home you pick up where you left off on your laptop in your kitchen while you prepare dinner, finishing Act 2 just in time for the food to be ready. Finally, you move to your living room and watch Act 3 on your television, via your iTV (if they end up getting that name and releasing that product, otherwise your AppleTV or your Mac Mini). The same scenario would work with a rental.

If you had bought or rented a Blu-ray disc, none of this would have been possible without the considerable time it takes to rip the disc.

Oh, and you can do the same thing with NetFlix and Hulu, obviously. I’m not suggesting that Apple is revolutionizing movie-watching. I’m guessing at why they’re not doing anything about Blu-ray.

Just saying…