In the final announcement of the MacWorld 2009 keynote, Phil Schiller listed off some of the changes coming to the iTunes ecosystem. First and foremost, in our mind, is that iTunes is going completely DRM-free. Starting today, 8 millions songs on the service will be DRM-free, and by the end of March, all 10 million will be without DRM. Consumers will be able to upgrade their entire purchased music library to iTunes Plus, which means no DRM and much higher quality at 256 kbps.
In a related note, Apple also announced that the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store is no more, and that instead, your iPhone can now download iTunes tracks no matter what connection you are on - that means no need to find a Wi-Fi hotspot in order to download the latest from Flo Rida. Of course, iPhone downloads are also DRM-free and sport the same quality.
New York’s Governor David Paterson is trying to come up with creative ways to pad the state’s $15.4 billion deficit. One of these is an “iPod tax” that would charge for downloaded music and other “digitally delivered entertainment services.” In addition, cable and satellite TV services, movie tickets, taxis, soda, beer, wine, cigars and massages will also be taxed. The proposal must still get legislative approval and we expect that if it passes, there may be an influx of New Yorkers flooding to places like New Jersey to get their tunes.
Read More | NY Daily News
So, we knew that iPhone 2.2 would bring OTA podcast downloads in the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, so we had to try and see if it would allow us to download anything else over the air as well. Unfortunately, music is still a no-go. You can’t access the Featured or Top Tens sections in iTunes on the iPhone, unless you have a Wi-Fi connection. Meanwhile, the Podcasts section supports both audio and video podcasts, which puts a smile on our faces.
It seems that Voix isn’t the only company that is into iPod tower speakers. Made of extruded aluminum, the floor standing mStation 2.1 Stereo Tower has up to 100W of power, a 5.25-inch subwoofer and a 6 cradle docking station that syncs with iTunes. The 10 key IR remote allows for navigation and adjusting treble, bass and volume. USB and stereo Mini cables are included in the package. We dig the design, but you can expect a $295.95 price tag.
Read More | mStation
Drobo has been out for quite some time and serves the purpose of a “set-it-and-forget-it” backup solution. Drobo has added a few apps that bring a nice “value-add” to their storage capability. Data Robotics has released 19 applications for Drobo, and they seem to be highlighting three of those specifically due to their value to the average consumer. First, there’s the DroboApps Admin Utility, which allows you to manage your DroboApps via a web interface. The second is Yoics, which gives you remote access to your Drobo and DroboShare from a web browser or mobile device like the iPhone. Lastly, they are highlighting the Firefly iTunes Media Server that allows you to store all of your music, TV, and video content on the Drobo, and then serve that content to iTunes devices or computers around your home.
If you don’t yet have a storage solution and need a very reliable backup which also serves your media, then you should check out Drobo. They range in price from $349 to $1049 and offer USB 2.0 and Firewire depending on the model you choose. In order to take advantage of the apps, you’ll also need the DroboShare NAS module, which will run you $199, on top of the cost of the Drobo itself.
Read More | Drobo
I have been using Lala for about a week and the service turns out to be one of the best ways to get all of your music from wherever you are. The concept is quite simple, allow access to songs you already purchased and also bring a music store to the cloud for 10 cents a song. You can further purchase songs for download at around 90 cents per song. The best part of the service is you can listen to a full album prior to purchasing it online. That’s right, full quality MP3s for free, as long as you are listening to them on Lala.
The library is over 5 miillion songs and is updated every Tuesday when new content comes out. Lala also allows you to import your entire purchased collection of music from iTunes or any other music folder you may have on your current Mac or PC with a downloadable importing utility. There is no monthly fee and all you need to do is sign up and you’re in. You can then invite people to join and network, sort of like Facebook or Myspace, but it keeps track of what you and your friends listen to and gives suggestions based off what they listen to. The whole thing seems too good to be true, but it certainly doesn’t disappoint. This is one site that could provide itself as the next big thing in music as long as the RIAA continues to think it okay.
Read More | Lala
We thought we were the only ones with issues with some of these smaller iTunes 8 issues, but obviously enough people were complaining that Apple has pushed out a new version, iTunes 8.0.1, to address these things. We are happy that Genius is getting fixed, along with App Store update checking. Here’s the full list:
- Seamlessly plays the current song when creating a new Genius playlist.
- Improves syncing spoken menus to iPod nano.
- Addresses an issue of deleting HD TV episodes when downloading.
- Improves checking for updates from the App Store
- Improves accessibility with VoiceOver.
- Addresses problems syncing Genius results to iPod.
Let us know how it goes for you.
Read More | iTunes
If you are tired of hearing us talk about all the Apple news of the day, maybe you’d prefer listening to Steve Jobs himself deliver the news. If that is the case, you’ll be happy to know that the Let’s Rock keynote is now available online for your viewing pleasure. You can stream is now from the Apple Special Event page. If downloading is more your thing, we are sure it will be hitting iTunes 8 shortly.
Read More | Let's Rock event video
iTunes 8 was announced this morning as part of the whole Let’s Rock Apple announcement festivities, and there were a few nice pieces of news. First, NBC is back on iTunes with shows like The Office, 30 Rock, and Ballestar Galactics. What’s more, though, is that iTunes will now be selling TV shows in high definition. Aside from the feeling that I know my wallet is about to be drained, this is a very welcome addition. My only hope is that they allow those of us who have purchased shows in SD to “upgrade” to the HD versions at a discount. It’s only fair, right?
In other news, Apple has added “Genius” to iTunes - that being a recommendation engine that looks at the track you are listening to, and recommends other tracks in the iTunes store that it believes you would like. In addition, Genius can also create truly customized playlists on the fly, again, just by sampling what you are listening to. It will pull other songs from your iTunes library that it believes would complement your selection, without any work to be done on your part. We must admit, it looks slick. Speaking of which, they’ve also included a new visualizer, which is just off the hook. You’ve gotta see it to believe it.
iTunes 8 is available now.
Read More | iTunes
Rumors of Sony’s new NW-E series Walkmen have reached the surface. The 8.5mm slim devices weigh only 50g each. Each has a 2.0-inch QVGA TFT LCD screen with 262,144 colors. The player supports MP3/ WMA/ AAC/Linear PCM and has an FM tuner. The device uses drag and drop, and each is compatible with both WMP and iTunes. The 2GB NWZ-E435 comes in black or pink, the 4GB NWZ-E436 will be available in black, blue, pink or red, and the 8GB NWZ-E438 is simply black.
Read More | Sony Insider
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