About Bittorrent in OS X 10.5
So Apple is going to implement "Bittorrent" in the next version of OS X called Leopard or 10.5.
A recent article from macosrumors.com claims that Apple is going to implement a system wide Bittorrent client in OS 10.5 which is going to be used to deliver Apple's own software but also iTunes content in the future. The rumor site is convinced that Apple is going to save a huge amount of money by driving traffic away from their servers and towards customers. As a reward for seeding Apple content customers would be rewarded with credits for the iTunes Music Store. That's what MacOSrunmors is claiming and it doesn't sound like bogus at all.
Why? A few weeks ago Robert X. Cringely wrote an interesting column about the future of media distribution and the problems that occur with large files such as HD movies. He did some maths and I'm just going to quote his thoughts about a popular TV show and the problems with distributing it over the Internet.
Twenty million viewers, on average, watch "Desperate Housewives" each week in about 10 million U.S. households. That's 210 megabytes times 10 million downloads, or 2.1 petabytes of data to be downloaded per episode.
Cringely later concludes that with a classical distribution model it wouldn't be possible to deliver video content in a decent resolution to a big audience. The solution must be some sort of Peer-to-Peer. The most evolved and sophisticated P2P protocol is Bittorrent which was created by Bram Cohen. The principle of Bittorrent is that a large file is sliced up in small junks which are then distributed to all the nodes requesting it. The beauty of this is that as soon as a client starts downloading he is also distributiong the parts he's already got. The bandwith is distributed to all the clienents.
Apple knows about the benefits of Bittorrent and Apple's got a huge bandwith bill. P2P is the solution for them because they want to enter the movie distribution market and of course they are going to dominate it like they did with music. Integrating Bittorrent right into the OS is an even larger step into the future of data distribution and shows how hard Apple is following the trends.
But let's sum this one up with my prediction of what Apple is going to do in the future.
I think that Apple has settled the contracts with the major movie companies and is soon going to introduce their evolution of the iTunes Music Store. It's going to be the iTunes Media Store. Music, TV shows and full fledged movies in different formats (think H.264 for the iPod and in real High Definition). To solve the bandwith issue Apple is going to use Bittorrent for distributing content and pushing the load away from their servers. The icing on the cake is going to be a sleek media-center software which is going to be based on the well known Frontrow application. As a hardware solution I predict a bumped up Mac mini with a huge hard-drive and full media support (which is actually already included). Maybe this Mac mini is going to use Intel's VIIV technology, maybe not and this point is actually not that important.
The battle over movie distribution has begun and Aplle's got a strong hand in this game.
We're sure going to enjoy their new products.
Filed under: Apple/Mac, P2P, Thoughts and Issues | 2 Comments