You can take it with you

Today, the first shoe dropped, as Apple introduced the video iPod. Video now becomes a mass-market mobile experience, to be consumed alongside audio and photos.

The other shoe will drop when mobile phone carriers launch DVB-H (aka television to cell phones) next year.

I suspect the iPod will ultimately be something of a gateway drug for mobile video. It will get people used to the concept, and sweep the early adopters, but the real usage spike will come as these capabilites are embedded into mobile phones. Not just playback, but storage of video on the handset. That’s at least five years off for widespread adoption (as opposed to first introduction of the handsets). But that’s not so long in the grand scheme of things.

Then again, part of me suspects that communications devices (for phone calls, email, and messaging, along with Web access) will remain distinct from media devices (for recording, sharing, and playing audio, photos, and video). If it’s technically easy enough to share content between devices, perhaps my iPod successor will replace my camera.

And meanwhile, the wireless guys are still yelling about 3G (a technology for handling voice calls better) and the video guys are hyping IPTV (a system for re-creating broadcast television). Yawn. They should take a look at the future — it’s staring them in the face.