So many good things have been written about the launch of iPad Mk III, almost all of it justified, it's fair to say that the fruiterers from Cupertino have pulled off a minor engineering miracle in assembling a device that, along with the already existing iPhone 4, establishes the benchmark for what we will then demand from the market as a whole. I only wish I owned shares in a flat panel display company right now (let's hope that my 401K manager has done their homework!).
What was interesting about Apple's keynote two weeks ago was not what they announced, but a sidebar comment made by Apple marketing VP Phil Schiller prior to the demo, which paraphrased was 'the projector we have cannot fully resolve what you see on the screen of iPad' (jump to the keynote replay and fast forward roughly 00:20 in to hear it from Phil's own lips).
While he seemed to blow by the comment without a second thought, in my mind, you could hear a pin drop. I stopped listening to the demo of the new, newness and instead felt my mind drifting to the changes happening in the video production world when it occurred to me that we probably should be planning to quadruple our plans for compute, bandwidth and storage - especially if you're in the content business.
I see RED
Part of what stunned me about Phil's throw away comment is that it wasn't actually true. "What?!" I hear you ask, a marketing person engaging in hyperbole? Never! :-) To help explain my claim, you might want to settle back in your seat as I catch you up on the changing world of content -where it's been, where we are now and importantly where I think it's going.
Eastman Kodak's slow demise was widely reported as the result of the death of film, however film isn't entirely dead. There is one media industry that continues to hang onto atoms in favor of electrons and that is the movie industry, which according to the IHS Screen Digest continues to use celluloid based film projectors in over half of cinemas as at 2010 (to be fair, that percentage is giving way to digital at an alarming rate). While the cam-corders you and I use at home (and even in broadcast TV) are now all largely digital, their 1920x1080 resolution provides less than one quarter the optical resolution offered by film when projected onto the size of screens used for theatrical presentation (which, I admit, assumes the ongoing viability of that business model).
Then in 1999 by Oakley founder Jim Jannard conceived the RED camera concept, which made it's semi-production debut at NAB in . Very limited quantities, 4,096 pixels by 2160 pixels or 8.1 megapixels, 4 times the pixel density of the HD screen images that already gobble up Blueray disks without room to spare.
All of this wonderful content has already created a viable market for new projectors (like I said, Phil could have easily demoed at full resolution!) and I imagine TV's. It will also encourage marketing folks, game designers and content producers to use larger, richer images in their materials, forcing us to retain hi-DPI images in presentations, corporate video and even mundane objects such as icons - as an aside, Apple recently introduced 1024x1024 icons into it's OSX operating system, meaning the icon alone would not fit onto the screen of the original 512x512 Macintosh in fact at 1MB each, the icon itself would require more memory than the original IBM PC's maximum of 640K.
There's a whole bunch of debate about the veracity and importance of the claims and counter-claims by the movie industry, which itself makes for interesting reading, however for the time being the resolutions war seems to be beating the frame-rate war - no matter who wins, we're talking a lot more data.
Honey I Didn't Shrink the Kids
The result will be an explosion in the size and richness of objects. If you think you're mailbox is full now, wait until one presentation blows through your 100MB mailbox limit. We'll need to get a LOT smarter about data management. De-duplication will become critical, as will file-sharing capabilities such as Dropbox, Sugarsync mandatory to avoid duplication or better still, skip file-sharing altogether and collaborate within the app using Cloud tools such as Office360, Google Docs and Zoho.
It's also time to start thinking about network capacity. My own video production team shuttles around 4-5GB HD video objects on a regular basis, requiring them to setup their own network and SAN just to take traffic off rest of the floor. Working with the remotely is already a nightmare, I dread to think about what a quadrupling in file sizes would do.
Pump it up!