Saturday, September 08, 2007


If you're not paying attention to Apple, you're missing a lot.

Last week, Apple's big news was their introduction of a new iPod lineup, and they dropped the price of their popular iPhone.

But that wasn't the most interesting part of the story.

Apple also announced a partnership with Starbucks that will soon introduce a chain of highly-customized digital entertainment stores.AppleBucksAt Starbucks locations, Apple will offer a Wi-Fi version of their iTunes music store that will feature custom music selections based on each store's recently played songs and other featured content. This gives Starbucks the opportunity to turn its coffee shops into digital music and video stores.

This is just the tip of the iceberg... I think we'll soon see similar deals that will give digital media a much greater presence in physical locations. I also think it is another indication that consumers expect to be able to access and control their media anywhere, without the need for their PC as a middleman.

For multifamily property owners, it certainly is further evidence of three major lifestyle trends:

1) Consumers expect broadband Internet, and they expect to be able to access it from almost anywhere.

2) By providing more opportunities to buy music, people will simply buy more music. There is an almost insatiable appetite for digital content, especially when presented in a fun, easy-to-use format.

3) The connection between mobile devices and physical locations is becoming increasingly important.

As the Wired article states, "If Starbucks installed compact, terabyte-size media servers with [a fast local network connection], a 1-GB movie could be delivered to an iPod in seven minutes," instead of the 90 minutes required using a typical Internet connection. Apply this idea in an apartment community, and this is something that could easily be done from the Main Communications Room (MPOE) at a typical property. And don't you think more folks are downloading movies at home than at Starbucks?

When working with your service provider or other third-party technology companies, property owners should be creative and aware of what is available to consumers through other outlets. Understand these trends, and look for unique ways to play with popular devices like the iPhone... or else you might soon find all your residents down at the local Starbucks.

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