So the 3G iPhone is all the buzz this week, as is anything Steve Jobs touches. But what does it mean for podcasting?
Let me start my prediction by saying podcasting, as it is right now, in my opinion is not mobile. “What?? The whole idea is that you download it and take it with you… isn’t that as mobile as it gets?”
Well, not really. Last I checked, about half the people listening to podcasts are listening direct off the website. That means they are connected to the Internet, which means they are very likely sitting down in front of their computer, which means they are not moving around.
Podcasts are more valuable on the go, there is no question about that, and I’d be willing to bet most of those people sitting in front of their computer watching the progress bar move along while they enjoy their podcast would probably rather listen to that show on the bus or on a run or wherever else.
People don’t take them on the go because it’s a pain to get them onto their iPod. By “it’s a pain” I mean you have to do something. Even if that something is simply plug your iPod in and wait for the new files to transfer, it is something, and these days “something” is a pain.
What the first iPhone represented was the arrival of the long awaited mobile web in North America. What I think this 3G iPhone will represent is real access to the mobile web in North America. By that I mean the speed will start to go up and the data prices will start to come down.
So then comes my prediction. Not only will it be easier to syc your podcasts up automatically, it will also become easier to stream them on the go. This will take away the pain of taking your podcasts to go, but it will also take away the limitations of the RSS feed with media enclosure rule. We might see “mediacasts” being aggrigated on the fly and streamed from various parts of the web instead of being placed on your device.
So I guess I’m kind of predicting that the 3G iPhone, in terms of what it represents in the media delivery timeline, could kill the “podcast” in favor of “mediacasts” that include things like YouTube videos that arn’t meant to ever be downloaded.
So if it happens, let me say you heard it here first. If it doesn’t then lets just forget this post ever happened. =)