The Surprising iCloud Trick That Gives a Glimpse of Apple's Televised Future

Quietly, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) is rolling out iCloud syncing for both movies and TV shows.

How do I know? I'm one of what seems to be a growing number of iTunes season pass subscribers. Last week, I downloaded the latest episode of the second half of Series 7 of Doctor Who -- see the trailer at the end -- and started watching as I always do: 15 minutes at lunch at my desk, followed by a download to my iPad Mini during a workout break later in the day.

In years past, I'd write down the time stamp for where I'd left off so that, when switching devices, I'd catch myself up manually. Not this time. This time, iTunes was smarter. The download to my iPad included a bookmark for where I'd stopped watching on my Mac.

Source: Apple.

Later tests with Apple TV and my iPhone featuring other TV and movie content produced similar results, proving that iCloud is now syncing in much the same way Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) does. It's a brilliant move that offers two clues about the iEmpire's thus-far enigmatic TV strategy:

  1. While possible, Apple is unlikely to embrace streaming. There's never been a pressing need thanks to Netflix, YouTube, and now Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) . In enabling iCloud syncing, the company enjoys bookmarking benefit of server-delivered content without incurring the costs of maintaining uptime and ensuring fast content delivery.

  2. Apple doesn't so much want a TV as it does "TV Everywhere." Netflix has already proved that there's big money to be made delivering quality video content to viewers where and how they want. Apple is embracing this same strategy, but with newer, downloadable content. The likely result? Continued demand for the mini-TVs we call iPads, even as the iEmpire works to fulfill the late Steve Jobs' vision for a better home entertainment experience.

Who loses in all this? Pure-play content distributors such as Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC  ) and DISH Network (NASDAQ: DISH  ) . Like partner Netflix, Apple is taking steps to eliminate the barriers between viewers and content created by these gatekeepers. Color me grateful -- both as an investor and as a fan of great television.

Want even more Apple analysis? Allow me to introduce you to The Motley Fool's senior technology analyst and managing bureau chief, Eric Bleeker, who has the skinny on the various reasons to buy or sell Apple right now. Click here to get his latest thinking on the stock and what opportunities are left for Apple (and your portfolio) going forward.


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