It's the digital equivalent of the first few cracks in the Berlin Wall: soon EMI will be offering the bulk of its music catalog free of DRM restrictions. Steve Jobs was on hand at the press conference to enthusiastically endorse the idea--he did, famously, suggest as much in an open letter just a few short weeks ago. But is Apple simply fashioning its own hangman's noose? If the other major record companies follow suit, the one big advantage of the entire Apple "digital ecosystem"--iTunes, the iPod, and Apple TV--essentially becomes null and void. Jobs says Apple's superior design will keep the company's software and hardware at the top of the must-have list for digital media. For the iPod, maybe--but for the just-launched Apple TV, the answer isn't as straightforward. … Read more
The world has been waiting for the Beatles to come to iTunes for a while, but if you were hoping that was the topic of today's press conference between EMI Group and Apple, sorry; there's still no Beatles on iTunes. But in May, EMI's entire music catalog will be available in premium DRM-free form. In case you're wondering, premium means higher quality music files--as well as a 30-cent price hike ($1.29 vs. $.99) per song--for the privilege of downloading music stripped of digital rights management.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs suggested that half of iTunes' music … Read more
Disclaimer: This is NOT an April Fool's Day post!
The EMI Group has announced that on Monday, April 2, Apple head honcho Steve Jobs will be present as the special guest of a major press event in London that will feature an "exciting new digital offering" and a "special live performance" by an undisclosed artist.
Rumor has it, as evidenced in a BBC article, that this may be the long-anticipated announcement that after miles of red tape and trademark bickering, Apple's iTunes Store will finally be selling songs by the Beatles. The EMI Group … Read more
Well, the NCAA tournament is winding to a close, which means that it must be just about time for baseball season. And because Steve Jobs is eager to take over your whole life, including your sports-watching experiences, you're going to be able to get your MLB fix at the iTunes Store this season. Apple will be selling 25-minute daily recaps of the season for $1.99 (or $7.99 for a month's worth) and two featured full-length games each week, also for $1.99 (or $19.99 for a "season pass"). A selection of "classic&… Read more
Apple's iTunes software has added a new feature called "Complete My Album," which allows users who purchase single tracks from an album to receive a credit towards buying the full album. This is a long-requested feature and a great addition to iTunes. Until now, users who preferred to buy one or two singles were placed in a tough situation if they decided later to buy the rest of the album. If a fifteen song album costs $.99 per song or $10.99 for the entire album, users who already owned one or two tracks would have to … Read more
If you share your iTunes library so that anyone on the network can access your music, it's a matter of time till curiosity gets the best of you.
When you close iTunes or shut down your computer, you may be greeted by a message that says "One or more users are connected to your shared iTunes library." Then, if you're like me, you feel guilty about closing iTunes.
What if your loyal listener is in the middle of their favorite song? Who am I to poop on their party? And who is this mysterious listener, anyway? … Read more
With HDMI and optical digital output, Apple TV should eventually be able to pass DVD-like surround sound just as soon as Apple adds surround-encoded movies and TV shows to its iTunes Store--right?
According to the specs on Apple's Web site, the Apple TV's maximum audio track bandwidth for video files is 160Kbps (that doubles to 320Kbps for audio-only files such as MP3s and AACs). That is far below the 640Kbps and 768Kbps surround Dolby and DTS soundtracks you'll find on any old DVD. And that doesn't even begin to account for the next-gen Dolby Digital … Read more
Feathered hair and Gran Torinos are coming to iTunes.
Apple has cut a deal with Sony Pictures Television to sell episodes of classic TV shows like Starsky and Hutch and Charlie's Angels on the iTunes store. The shows will be available for the standard $1.99 alongside other Sony shows that haven't quite reached classic status just yet, including Til' Death and Rules of Engagement.
Neither of the modern film remakes of those two 1970s classics are available yet on the iTunes Store, depriving customers of making side-by-side comparisions of Cameron Diaz and Farrah Fawcett. While we won'… Read more
MediaMaster is a Web-based jukebox service that launched last week. MediaMaster gives users free storage space to upload their tunes and listen to them anywhere they have Internet access. The interface is clean, simple, and intuitive--if you're used to iTunes or Windows Media Player you'll feel right at home. Users can upload their tunes with two uploaders, a simple one for a few tracks and an advanced version that lets you simply drag and drop files from file folders right into the uploader.
Once your tracks are uploaded, you can create and manage playlists, rate individual songs, and … Read more
UPDATE: Full review (with hands-on video) now available.
Today we got our first in-person look at the Apple TV since its unveiling back in September of 2006. Company representatives were showing it off at a Manhattan hotel suite and gave us a loaner to do our own hands-on testing. While we conduct a full review, here's our first impression--and a video of our own Rich DeMuro diving into the box for the first time. … Read more