Fail: Why Apple's live event stream was a disaster

Instead as the Apple event unfolded, people and media across the world were complaining and cursing about the Apple live stream.


Apple launched the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and the Apple Watch. But for most users and press, these newer devices from Apple weren't the first things that everyone was discussing. Instead as the Apple event unfolded, people and media across the world were complaining about the Apple live stream.

 

Now Apple usually has a live-stream of all its keynote address which you can watch on your iMac or MacBook or iPad, iPhone, even iPod Touch as long as you're using Safari. But this time it seems having enough Apple products wasn't good enough.

 

Apple's live stream was a disaster, from the start to the finish. First the stream didn't load, then when it did the bitrate was way too low, and worst of all there was a foreign language commentary in the background (According to reports it was Chinese).

 

No wonder that #ThingsBetterThanAppleLive was soon a top trend on Twitter. Denny's, a popular food chain in America also mocked Apple's live feed by showcasing their menu on the Apple message that everyone kept seeing. Check out some tweets below:

 

To add to the disaster, the Apple live stream kept stopping, re-looping, and was definitely ten minutes slower than the actual event. By the time the feed had stabilised, people had already joined in the Apple bashing.

 

The failure of the live stream was particularly bad because this was supposed to be a historic launch for Apple, one in which they were revealing their new product. For most people, the fact that a giant tech company like Apple couldn't even get the live-stream right for this historic launch was simply absurd.

 

So why did the live stream fail? Well according to this piece by Dan Rayburn it was because of the coding on Apple's page and other live elements that were included in it that led to the problems.

 

He writes, that Apple "decided to add some JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) code to the apple.com page which added an interactive element on the bottom showing tweets about the event. As a result, this was causing the page to make refresh calls every few milliseconds." He adds that "Apple usually has Akamai caching the page for their live events but this time around there would have been no way for Akamai to have done that, which causes a huge impact on the performance when it comes to loading the page and the stream."

 

In addition to this the foreign language translation was also Apple's fault, as according to Dan as someone on Apple's side had not set the encoder correctly and "their primary and backup streams were also way out of sync".

 

He writes, that due to this error "whatever Apple sent to Akamai’s CDN is what got delivered and in this case, the video was overlaid with a foreign language track." In short as Dan says, "Apple simply didn’t provision and plan for the event properly."

 

And given that the error occurred at one of its biggest launches and well into 45 minutes of the launch, was what made it so much worse.

 

Also as this piece on ZDNet points out this disaster comes close on the heels of the iCloud celebrity nude pictures leak and both of them together don't make for great public perception. As the piece adds that even though the two events are not linked to similar reasons, "perception-wise, the idea of Apple doing anything that could be remotely considered enterprise-grade is laughable."

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