updated 07:15 pm EDT, Tue August 31, 2010
Apple to show music event with HTML5 streaming
Apple provided a late surprise by revealing that it would stream its music event tomorrow through HTML5. The option will use the open HTTP Live Streaming format but, according to Apple, will need either iOS 3.0 or Mac OS X Snow Leopard or better to watch. The event starts at 1PM Eastern or 10AM Pacific and will be available through Apple.com.
The move is likely a deliberate attempt to prove HTML5 can be used for heavy duty video streaming and thus to snub arguments for choosing Flash instead. YouTube has embraced HTML5 but has also said that Flash is often needed for adaptive video streaming and other quality issues that HTML5 doesn't necessarily support. Apple may likewise be keen to show that an iPad, iPhone or iPod can better handle live streams than the sometimes problematic Flash for Android.
Regardless of intent, the stream is Apple's first live stream of one of its events in several years. It routinely offered streams in the past but stopped partly due to the load, which saw tens of thousands of simultaneous viewers, but also due to the advent of high-quality on-demand streams and podcasts. Most of its special events have been made available as downloads or streams the same day as they took place.