7 Apple News Stories in One!

Ever since the Wednesday Apple event I have been reading Apple news up to my ears and you probably have to, but I’m going to do a quick rundown of some of the latest stories just to get them out of the way and so they don’t have to be individual posts.

The 16GB iPod Touch and 8GB iPod Touch are now available for pre-order on Amazon.com saying that the product release date is September 30th.

First up we have video evidence of the iPhone SIM Free software unlocking the iPhone. This video comes from Gizmodo and even though it is poorly done and quite annoying that the maker of the video has to keep saying “right” and “okay,” it still proves its point.

Apple Gazette is reporting that the new iPods (Nanos and Classics) are locking video out to only work with certain products, that doesn’t include the previous iPod AV cables. You have to purchase the new composite or component cables to output video from your new iPod to your TV. This is pretty annoying, I was planning on buying an iPod Nano and the fact that I have to spend another $50 on new cables if I want to output to my TV is really frustrating me. Apple has released a support document attempting to clear up some of the confusion on what products work with what iPod but I’ll be honest with you, I’m still completely confused (I am currently under the impression that if I use my iPod universal dock and my old av cables it may still work but who the heck knows).

Apple is supposedly trying to convince networks to go for a lower price on TV shows. According to Gizmodo Apple wants networks to agree to sell their TV shows at $0.99 a pop down from $1.99 that they are currently set at. This comes right on the heels of NBC announcing that they are pulling their shows off of the iTunes store. I’m not sure if this is true but I will say that at $0.99 I would buy all of my TV shows from iTunes, forget watching them on TV I’d rather watch them when I want to watch them, spending $20 for an entire season would be awesome.

David Watanabe uploaded a screenshot onto flickr of what appears to be confirmation that iTunes will soon have movie rentals. It was found when trying to report a problem to iTunes, “this pop-up for selecting a reason contains some interesting/revealing strings… looks like “RentalMovies” will be coming to the iTunes store.”

The iTunes free ringtones workaround was killed in iTunes 7.4.1 but apparently you can still get it to work by just changing the file extension a second time. I will still be sticking with iToner because it is much easier then going through all of this rigmarole.

The 3G iPhone with 16GB may be set to launch in Europe come November. Electronista is claiming that a leaked T-Mobile ad has unofficially confirmed this. I personally don’t really care about this because I already have an iPhone, don’t care about 3G, and don’t live in Europe, but if you live in Europe then you do care and should be excited, if not, then that’s okay.

Apple Releases iTunes 7.4 and 7.4.1

Trust me I’m really sorry that the only interesting news is Apple related but I feel that it is my duty to talk about it.

Apple released iTunes 7.4 and the next day released iTunes 7.4.1. I’m assuming that the 7.4.1 update fixed some bugs in 7.4.

iTunes 7.4 and 7.4.1 adds Ringtone functionality to the iPhone which is great but who wants to spend $0.99 on a ringtone? Not me. I would suggest using iToner (which was broken with 7.4 but they have since released 1.0.1 and fixed the problem) iToner is extremely easy to use, just drag and drop audio files into the window and then sync it.

Now many have found out that there is another way to add ringtones to the iPhone without paying any money at all, just changing the extension of an AAC file to m4r and then double clicking on it should allow you to sync it to your iPhone. This did work with iTunes 7.4 but with the update to 7.4.1 it no longer works. So I guess that iToner is the only option for those who don’t want to hack their phone for cheap ringtones.

If you haven’t updated to iTunes 7.4.1 yet you can download it here.

Categorized as Apple, iTunes

NBC Cancels iTunes Contract UPDATE

NBC has decided not to renew their contract with Apple for selling TV shows in iTunes. This upsets me because I have about 50 TV show episodes from iTunes and around 35 of them are from NBC. The Office and My Name is Earl are just a couple of my favorites.

NBC has started a website with Fox called Hulu which will be a YouTube-like website. Hulu has not yet launched but is in beta. NBC content will continue to be in iTunes until December but I think it is very dumb of NBC to take their content off iTunes.

I understand that NBC wants more money, everyone would like more money, but it is a little weird that they would decide to completely remove their stuff from iTunes, especially since many people believe that The Office was saved due to sales of its shows on iTunes.

Let’s hope that NBC decides to put their stuff back on iTunes eventually because I need a place to legally watch episodes of shows that I happen miss.

UPDATE: Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge wrote a great Open Letter to NBC, I urge all of you to read it because it is very well written and brings up some great points on this topic.

Categorized as iTunes

The “Perfect” iTunes Equalizer Setting

When I first read this on 43Folders I thought, “I guess I’ll try it out, I don’t have anything better to do.” Then I tried it and thought to myself, “Holy crap my music sounds better then I’ve ever heard it before!” Then I remembered that I used to listen to CDs and that they sound much much better then crappy MP3s. But, I still do most of my listening on my computer so I figured I would share this little tip with all of you.

db +3, +6, +9, +7, +6, +5, +7, +9, +11, +8 db


Share iTunes With Computer Not in Your Network

You know how you can listen to other computers iTunes libraries on your network? Well now you can do that with computer that aren’t on your network as well. All you have to do is download Simplify Media. Simplify Media is completely free and all you have to do to get it working is sign up for a Simplify Media screen name and start inviting friends to your “network.”

The program runs on Windows and Mac and is very simple to install and get running. I think this is a great way to share music with your friends.

I think I could get some good use out of this. There are many occasions where I find myself trying to figure out a way to let someone now about a cool song I just bought, now all I’ll have to do is text message them or IM them the song name and they can just jump on iTunes and listen.

Categorized as iTunes, Media

iTunes U Launched, Alongside DRM Free Music

Would you like to listen to college lectures and watch lab demonstrations without having to enroll and spend all that money? Well know you can with iTunes U you can do just that. This has already been possible with some colleges doing podcasts of there content but this new section within the iTunes music store will make it very easy for you to learn almost whatever you want.

At the same time as this release iTunes Plus has been released which is all of the DRM free music all rolled up and set down in one area of the iTunes music store for you to look through.

iTunes seems to be becoming cooler and cooler as the days go by. I don’t know what else to say so I guess I’ll have to just go listen to some college lectures.

Free Demo of Ms. Pacman on iTunes

I think Apple has been trying to push there iPod games by convincing game makers to make Demos of there games for free. The first was Vortex and now you can get Ms. Pacman.

Its free and I played it for a little bit, even though there is only one level. I really like the interface, to control the direction you just touch the side of the scroll wheel where you want to go. Its really easy to pick up and play and I suggest everyone go out and try it out.

Apple Announces DRM Free Music in iTunes

iTunes will begin selling DRM free music in May. All of the music will be coming from EMI and will cost $1.29. The cooler thing is that you can upgrade your music if it is available in the DRM free version for $0.30 per track. The music will also be encoded in 256-bit AAC.

This is pretty great and I think this is a big step towards showing other record companies that selling DRM free music will be able to bring sales back up.

EMI’s Eric Nicoli/Apple’s Steve Jobs EMI Presentation Live Notes [CrunchGear]

Where Does iTunes Go From Here

Well what is Apple going to do with iTunes now. With the recent addition of the AppleTV to the product line you have to wonder if Apple will put 720p content into the iTunes music store, Its tough to say and there are a few things that Apple needs to deal with before they can go ahead with it.First of all they have to deal with compatability with their current iPods. I’m not sure if there is quite enough horse power in the current iPods to decode 720p H.264 video so that would make things difficult already. How would Apple decide to display their content on the iTunes music store. One of the key aspects of the iTunes music store is that you just download it and it works. You can play it on your computer and your iPod with no trouble but when you throw this new format into the mix it confuses people. I will know that if I download an AppleTV version it won’t play on my iPod but I don’t think my mother would.

The only thing I could think of is that Apple released the 5.5 gen iPod with a fast enough processor to handle the 720p content and they decided to phase out the older 5 gen iPod. This of course would upseet many users who would like to download content for their iPod, so of course this wouldn’t make sense. Maybe Apple will decide to have two buttons next to everything: High-Res and Low-Res the problem is of course as I mentioned earlier that would confuse some users.

Now that we have absolutly no conclusion about those problems, confusion and video compatabilty, we deal with file sizes. Not only is this going to be an issue for Apple who has to host this content but for customers who have to keep this content on their hard drives. Even though hard drives are getting bigger and bigger, we are also dealing with bigger and bigger file sizes making things difficult for many users. If you do the math a video encoded for the AppleTVs maximum quality at a length of 2 hourse will be about 4GB of video. That is quite a lot. It is about 1/10 of the total size of the AppleTVs hard drive. Not to mention that it would take about about a day to download that big file for most of us in the US with terrible bandwidth.

Let me throw this scenario at you, the iPhone can handle the same video size as your AppleTV, it might be able to we don’t know. You of course because of the high price of the iPhone went with the lower end 4GB version. That means if you wanted to watch a movie on your iPhone and that movie was 2 hours long, that would be all that you could fit onto that iPhone. How would this work, would Apple allow you to download two versions of the video or would that cost extra? will the 720p version cost extra? Will iTunes ever go high-def? These questions will be answered and since the AppleTV was “designed for widescreen televisions” I think we will get answers soon.

I’m am hoping that we will see 720p content in the iTunes music store, but I think that they will be movie rentals and after 5 days iTunes will automatically deauthorize and delete the file unless you tell it that you would like to re-rent the movie. I would assume that the price would be much lower for a rental and iTunes will, for some, become the Netflix replacement.

iTunes 7 updated to 7.1 but no Vista support yet

iTunes was updated to 7.1 yesterday but it still doesn’t have full support for Windows Vista yet.

The update that has fixed some of the problems that occurred with Windows Vista along with some other bugs, but most notably added a full screen CoverFlow view along with support for the AppleTv.

If you are running Windows Vista and would like to use iTunes because of an iPod or a large collection of music/movies/TV shows you seem to still be out of luck for at least another couple of weeks, but I’m sure many coders at Apple are hard at working getting Windows Vista running smoothly with iTunes, it will come soon.

The coverflow feature does look really good but I still can’t think of any practical uses for it other than those few times you tell your friends and family “hey, check out what this program can do!”

Download page
One of the many Vista compatibility issues

iPod Game, Vortex Demo

Wanna try out one of those iPod games but don’t want to shell out that $4.99 for one, well now you can try out Vortex for free. If you want to try it out now you can get it here.