brian on 2003.04.29
at 01:34 am
First comes the Apple iTunes Music Store. I played with this on and off today, and I'm very impressed. Very visually appealing, pretty usable. Best feature: every song has a 30 sec. full-quality (AAC) preview. Other points: there's a lot of great music. 200,000 tracks as of today, thousands more weekly. However, there are some notable absences. Most glaring to me was Dave Matthews Band. Word is that some music is missing because it simply hasn't been ripped yet. Others, Apple is actually going back to the master recordings to get the best possible quality out of classic recordings. Lastly, some are holding out due to contractual issues, where they are individually negotiating with artists who control the digital rights personally. Some big artists notable for that have already signed on, like The Eagles. Some artists, like U2, have given exclusive rights to sell some rare tracks. U2's Bono also appeared in the promotional video, speaking from the heart about the importance of the iPod and the new service.
iTunes 4 is new, and the only way to access the iTunes Music Store. Yes, that means no Windows. Yet. Steve has promised that by year's end. I played with iTunes today as well. Notable features: AAC encoding is optimized for the G4. I saw a CD track ripping to AAC at 16x speed. Awesome. The buttons have been redesigned slightly. Rendezvous sharing works amazingly well. Super simple.
Question of the week: Does iTunes 4/Music Store use WebCore??
iPods: new, and due in stores Friday. New dock allows you to hook up to computers, yes. But it's most understated feature is that it has audio out as well, which means you can use it to interface with your home stereo. Buy an extra to put anywhere you want to drop in your iPod. They're sold separately (and don't ship with the entry 10GB). Also, the iPod's interface: how long until other companies allow you to drop an iPod into their machine for interface?
Slimmer, smoother shape. Backlighting, cool. New extra games, cool. Customizable menus, awesome. On the fly playlists... finally!!! USB 2.0: unimpressed. Same crappy belt clip. It can't all be roses, I suppose.
Question of the day: how did Apple make the same iPod work for both Windows and Macs? Is it a pick-one deal, or may you forever go back and forth?
All in all, a very happy day in Apple land. Check out the event, Friday night!
Posted in: Music · Software · Technology
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