With god zillion amounts of digital audio devices to choose from, it can be a tough job to choose the right one. Some of the basic features should be known to the consumers in order to make a rational purchase. Select a digital music player that is compatible with your computer’s operating system as most of your digital music collection is on your PC. Then different music formats available and specific audio players are only compatible with one type. MP3 is only one of the encoding formats. Many companies have developed there own digital music formats which are compatible with specific hardware. Apple iPods operate with AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format which runs on iTunes software. And Microsoft developed the WMA (Windows Media Audio) format used with Windows Media Player. Devices have calendars, notepads, photo libraries, AM/FM radio and many more features other than just playing music. You should be able to decide that what will be the primary use of your device. And in accordance to that you should be picking up the device. Lastly, it is the money you want to spend. Flash memory players are usually less expensive, but have less space. Hard drive devices offer more storage space, but rise in price as the storage capacity increases.
Apple may be forced to spill its iTunes beans as per a new French law. Apple at present dominates the online digital music market and providing the facility only to Apple iPods. The law aims at loosing the grip of any single media-playing operating system on the digital online music retail market and to break the monopoly. Apple will be forced, according to the legislation, to provide iTunes codes i.e. Digital Rights Management (DRM). France’s new copyright law states:Any interested party can ask the court … to get a supplier (of content) … to provide information that is essential for ‘interoperability’. In the wake of events even if Apple shuts down its iTunes store in France, it would have no effect on sales which contribute to less than5 per cent of Apple’s revenue.
I agree with Kevin Hassett here that it’s time for the U.S government to take a stand. In my last post I discussed how France is showing its teeth to Apple iTunes, but why? Is it fear or hypocrisy? The new French law targeting the iTunes software and iPod players that have revolutionized the music industry and have forced French to resort to piracy, as the iPod players can download songs only from iTunes music store due to the encryption technology called FairPlay, making other sites to just sit and bite their nails. Now here we can see something burning, with Apple’s whopping 70 percent share in the digital music download market providing the required heat, and the French has taken a different route to rout Apple by forcing it to pack its bags from France. In stead they must have tried to make something better than the iTunes, and as they don’t have the grit to do so, they’ve resorted to start the war. It’s a sheer act of cowardice, especially when Apple is enjoying its share of pie, it clearly deserves it for providing the immaculate service to the music lovers and what for they’ve done this, to make money, isn’t it and this is what they’re here for – to give the best of services and reap the deserved benefits. If French don’t have the guts to beat them in the ring, they won’t be able to beat them off the ring too, doesn’t matter how hard they try.
MTV Networks Inc. has finally decided to get out of the shell and give Apple some heat with the launch of its latest online music and video download service. Joining hands with Microsoft, the new service, URGE, integrated with the latest version of Windows Media Player, will be launched on Wednesday armed with around 2 million tracks for 99 cents individually. Users can even download unlimited music for $9.95 monthly and even transfer them to any of the PMPs for $14.95. The supremacy of Apple’s iTunes Music Store will definitely get some jolt and so will other providers like RealNetworks’ Rhapsody and Napster Inc., especially when URGE is not compatible with the ubiquitous iPod.
I know you music nerds are fervently waiting for the Apple’s ‘Showtime’ that is going to take place tomorrow. So, what do you guys expect from the big ‘Showtime’ to be held in San Francisco? Internet is a 24-hour rumor-mill. The followers of Apple must be looking for something new from the company’s side. What about iTunes? I mean to say that it might be possible that Apple is going to announce the new generation of iTunes-the iTunes 7. Well friends, we can only hope for, rest is in the hands of Apple. So, wait and watch, we don’t have to wait a long.
Apple Computer Inc. yesterday announced their alliance with Walt Disney Co.’s film studios in an attempt to revolve its iTunes online for digital entertainment. Apple is planning to launch iTV, which will allow customers to heave movies, music, photos, and television shows to their iPods and computers, and ultimately on their televisions, by early 2007 and will cost $299, said Chief Executive Steve Jobs. Along with a thinner iPod Nano obtainable in five colors with 24 hour battery life ranging from $149, $199 to $249, an iPod with the capacity of 80-gigabyte costing $349 was also showcased featuring sport video games as Pac-Man and Tetris. Another product showcased was a 1-gigabyte Shuffle with the capacity of 240 songs, half the size of the unusual version and will cost $79. Hence, Apple is ready to equal the challenge put forward by the competitor companies in digital entertainment and improve on previous milestones.
A 22-year-old hacker, John Lech Johansen, in California has claimed that he has cracked Apple’s copy-protection mechanism and will license his code to others. The code will allow users to play tunes downloaded from Apple’s online iTunes music store, on PMPs manufactured by other companies and songs purchased from other music stores can also be played on iPod. This move can also make the young hacker face Apple’s lawyers, but Johansen said that he has got a green signal from the attorneys. Apple has not yet commented or filed a suit against Johansen.
eMusic is the No.2 legal music service. Recently it has decides to charge more for music downloads from the site. prices will remain the same, but the number of allowed downloads will decrease. eMusic operates on a subscription model, but it’s not the sort of subscription offered by Rhapsody or Napster. Instead, users pay a monthly fee and get to download a set number of tracks. If they do not use their downloads each month, they lose them. eMusic’s current prices provide 90 tracks for $19.99 along with several less expensive service tiers. Starting November 21, that same $19.99 will get you only 75 downloads. The reason given for the price increase by the company is that company has a plan for some time and better reflects our value to our customers as we strive to offer music fans the best digital music service possible. The previous price were developed in 2003 when this service had only limited tracks and the number has increased since then to two million tracks. Many more additional features also have been added. With this step eMusic will become the first major players to raise prices on its music. Though the prices are still low as compared to the iTunes but surely the company will loose plenty of customers as no one would appreciate increased prices.
Most of you are always having the same common problem that if you initially buy a couple of songs at 99 cents each and after listening to them you want to buy the full album then you have to pay the price of the full album again irrespective of the fact that you have already bought a couple of songs…! That’s a waste of your hard-earned money I guess…! Apple is taking the matter seriously and may soon enable the customers to buy the full album and also get the credit of the songs that they have already downloaded. The prices of the albums can also reduce as the company has already started selling some classic rock for $7.99 that is $2 less than the original price. There are even a few albums that are priced at just $5.99…!
The Battle royal has begun with the Zune enjoying first day sunshine in the market. As it is launched the other discussion that will hot up is its comparison with iPod. Off course we were ready for reviews now when it has hit the market but the first day sale suggest no blazing sale for Zune but a slow and sluggish start. With it Microsoft has entered the MP3 market and now will look up to eating some share of the 75 % market share of Apple in this segment. One thing Microsoft should be credited for is its 30 GB entry level MP3 as it has certainly raised the bar for future entries. Microsoft is still itself apprehensive about Zune and says it is only the first generation and there are lots of improvements that need to be done if they are to challenge iPod. IDC analyst Danielle Levitas said, ‘Apple will not feel any bit of discomfort from Zune, certainly this holiday season and a good part of next year”. Microsoft itself feels that it investments in Zune will take at least a year to bear fruits. Meanwhile this $249 worth of MP3 (Apple’s iPod with same configuration also sells for same price) has got criticized for basically it poor color selection for models and for being too bulky. One more aspect that is being criticized is the songs and tunes download features (Zune Marketplace) which the critics are saying is too complicated. But here we should remember that we have been using iTunes and Microsoft is now introducing a new feature and it will take time for people to adjust and understand all its features. The other thing that is difficult to swallow is that this Zune does not have playforsure feature which is a mystery as Microsoft has its copyright protection The battle has just begin and war is certainly not over we are likely to hear more from the supporters of Zune and iPod in the days to come.