Posts Tagged ‘ iTunes ’

I finally got one

I couldn’t resist it while I was looking at it in the store. It was just calling out to me. Begging me to set it free from it’s black box with the Macy Gray album on the cover. Yes, I made the jump and paid for a brand new iPod Touch.

Despite many websites citing the obvious flaws of the device, I must say that it’s still something to enjoy. Unlike most of the western world who will get their hands on localized versions of the iPhone in their country before the end of the year, the rest of the world has to wait another year for it and I’m not willing to hack an iPhone in order to get one. SMS messaging on it is archaic by Asian standards and surfing on the EDGE network is just so last gen especially in places such as Asia.

So let’s cut to the chase, the iPod touch delivers on what it promises to be, an iPod. It’s still a great music player (debatable sound quality tho) and video player. Watching videos with subtitles is definitely much easier with the bigger screen. I’m a big video fan of the iPod and the ability to load up at least 6 movies into it and watch it is a joy. Cover flow on it needs some work such as the ability to control the volume and part of the track you want to listen to other than just play-pause buttons on it. Viewing in coverflow shows you all your albums even if it’s not in the playlist you’re listening to.

16GB is just right since my opinion of the iPod is that what’s the point of carrying 3 months worth of music in your pocket if it doesn’t have the battery life to play it. Although 8 might be short for people into tv shows and movies.

Buying music on the iTunes store is smooth. I have two accounts, one on the Japan iTunes store and another on the US store and it syncs with the store to whichever is currently logged in the iTunes in your computer. So I can view both stores on it regardless of my current location. I bought a song just to test it and it downloads fast and is placed into a separate folder in my iTunes as Purchased Music from (insert name of iPod).

The Safari and You Tube experience is something to behold. I’ve gone through a lot of devices (Palm, O2, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and so on) and none of them was able to deliver on the internet experience similar to a PC. Apple delivers in their device. It works as advertised and more. Google Gmail has designed their website just for the Apple devices plus many more.

By default, the iPod Touch is gimped. You are unable to edit calendars, no To-do list, no notes. But with a simple hacking method (so simple that a caveman can do it) these are possible. Thus making the iPod Touch a PDA.

With these in mind, the iPod Touch delivers my needs. Other people have different requirements for the device but all in all I am pretty happy with the device. The only thing I hate, the shiny iPod back that is now pretty scratched up in my jacket pocket. They really need to get into the brushed metal finish. I really really really hate that shiny finish.

As the World Turns

NBC Universal wanted cut of Apple hardware sales

Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I’ve been neglecting my regular posts here and I know I have to post on a lot of things.

A cut of anyone’s hardware sales is ridiculous and I can probably guess how Apple reacted when they heard that from NBC Universal. Just because that Microsoft and Zune said yes to the $1 “tax” doesn’t mean that the rest of the industry will follow suit. Why don’t they do the same on the content they “rent” on the Xbox Marketplace since Microsoft recently announced that fir the first time, their gaming unit is finally earning some money. Plus the reasoning that the reason for the “tax” is because people bought the iPod so they can but their shows off the iTunes store. But take note, their shows are only sold in the USA and not in the rest of the world. Don’t tell me they also wanted a cut of the iPod sales in Japan??

Then if they weren’t getting enough money off iTunes, then sell it everywhere. Why alienate the Mac users whose only way of getting legal downloads of their shows that would play on they iPods? There is a lot of potential and a lot of places where they can sell their content. I prefer to sell everywhere than nowhere. It’s not as if it costs them a lot more to sell or convert in other drm filled formats.

So where does this bring NBC Universal, one word, HULU!!

Who what? Apparently NBC has also pulled all their content off You Tube and placed it into their own ad filled video site called HULU! Currently in private beta (which means most of us cannot get into), it promises many things (other than having a “creative” name). But it still remains to be seen if NBC decisions will either separate them from Apple (as they have vowed to do) or will they come running back.

What kind of Apple are we expecting?

Truce: iPhone 1.1.1ers | 9 to 5 Mac

When Apple released their 1.1.1 iPhone update, it basically removed all third party applications and reverted any iPhone to it’s original state. Thus any sim unlocking method use will require a valid AT&T sim card to re-activate the device or in some cases completely make the phone inoperable.

Now this has enraged a lot of people who bought the phone and loaded with another sim card. I myself am surprised by the actions that Apple has made in their decision not only to lockout those who are not on the AT&T service but remove the 3rd party applications as well.

It is understandable for Apple to lock the phones that are not running AT&T service since it is well known that they are getting a share of the airtime as well. They are bound by contract. But the 3rd party apps?

It is impossible to totally shut out 3rd party apps especially if you announced application development for the iPhone and SDK kit. There was already enough brouhaha regarding the ringtones which was supposed to be free but then the RIAA got wind of it and demanded that users pay for it. It doesn’t make sense that you just paid 99¢ for a song and now you have to pay another 99¢ for a third of the song in order for it to be a ringtone. That’s already the price of a TV show on the same store.

Apple needs to fix these issues with their iPhone. It may only be now that they realize that the telecom industry is a lot more complicated that selling songs and iPods. There is no lost love for the iPhone, it’s just we don’t like it and users will take their money elsewhere.

It still wont play on my iPod fool!

NBC to offer free “NBC Direct” download service, iTunes competitor – Engadget

NBC counters iTunes in this round by offering their shows for free via their website which should eventually lead to a paid service in the future.

What part does NBC doesn’t understand? TV is inherently free. The said “free” shows are only viewable on your PC and only have a license for 5 days. These cannot be transferred to your portable device and is only compatible with PCs.

NBC joins other networks such as CBS and ABC who also put their shows online. But unlike ABC, it is not mac compatible. All have ads on their website in order for them to show it for free. NBC promises that a paid service will be available (other than their deal with Amazon Unbox).

Sure NBC can charge and bundle whatever they want on their website but one thing remains. It still wont play on my iPod. That is what matters to me. The consumer. My needs. If it doesn’t satisfy my need. Why should I even pay for it? Are they deliberately ignoring the millions of iPod users and mac users with this move? Why don’t they get it that I’ll just TiVO the show, or join others that live on torrents.

We’ll see where this goes.

Rick Rubin: iPods will be obsolete

In a recent NY Times interview with music producer Rick Rubin as he predicts that iPods will be obsolete, he endorses the subscription model as used by Napster and other music rental services. MacNN also notes that David Geffen also sees the subscription model as the way to save the music industry.

Hmmm, save the music industry, but apparently not the musicians. In some ways, Mr. Rick Rubin is true. The iPod will be obsolete but not the in the foreseeable future I’m afraid. The music industry has been clueless into saving it’s business since the age of Napster (the original P2P network) and mp3 came about. It is easy to forget that this subscription model was already around even before the launch of the iPod and the iTunes Store and still it didn’t convince people to get their music from there since basically they didn’t own the music. It was like an apartment, you rent it. CRAZY!

Now that the iTunes store is quite successful in it’s own right, they just want a cut off everything. They do not see the amount of bandwidth that Apple has to pay to keep the store running. They do not see the amount of people now buying music legally. They do not see that it is not the iTunes store that drives the sales (since the iTunes store is only accessible in mostly western countries apart from Japan. It is a way for people to buy music that they can play on their iPods seamlessly. How bad it that?

Most online retailers do not support Apple’s Fairplay DRM and thus scaring away most iTunes users (iTunes comes free BTW) and how exactly would it be better for us. I don’t have a PC so if I want to buy music, I want it working on my iPod. Because that’s what I want and not what music executive wants. At the end of the day what I want mattters anyway since it’s my money being spent around.

People buy CD’s, or at least they used to. People buy music they do not rent it.

Let’s look back with the iTunes-Pepsi commercial featuring Green Day’s song and all these kids who were sued by the music industry for downloading music off the internet.

NBC to End iTunes Sales of Its Shows

“NBC Universal, unable to come to an agreement with Apple on pricing, has decided not to renew its contract to sell digital downloads of television shows on iTunes.”Media giants have new brilliant plan for making more money from their content: by pulling them off the most popular online music + video store.That is just so sad. For NBC-Universal that is.First it was their music and now it’s their TV shows. But then the public goes, so what? Music yes, I can understand why we have to pay for music. But paying for something that is “technically” free?? At first I was a bit skeptical of Apple’s strategy in selling TV shows through its iTunes store. I mean seriously, who would want to pay per episode of TV shows?? Apparently many people like to watch the episodes over and over again the night after it was aired. We just couldn’t wait till the end of the season to get our DVD boxed sets. We had to get the show now!! But even at the current rate of $1.99 an episode, an entire 24 episode season would set you back $48 and the DVD would only cost around $35. By jacking up the prices to $4.99, a whole season would cost over a hundred dollars. Ridiculous. And TV was supposed to be free. NBC/ Universal is trying to alienate the very users who saved some of their shows from cancellation. Their attitude towards music is spreading through their video distribution and it’s pretty obvious that the music industry is doomed to fail if they don’t embrace the digital technology of today. Just as music was stolen, NBC/ Universal better understand that that content was aired free to begin with. And viewing episodes online on their website doesn’t help their case either.

read more | digg story

Beautiful World

I was just looking around the Japanese iTunes store and came upon Utada Hikaru’s new compilation. As it turns out, my favorite J-pop singer sang the song of the new Evangelion movie. Here’s clip of the promo for the album.

The next one is from another anime “Freedom” with character designs from Katsuhiro Otomo of “Akira”.

Hurray for Hikki!!

iTunes update

Apple clarified that the Universal music contract is now offerred to them on a per month basis instead of the previous 2-5 year contract.

The announcement comes after it was revealed that Universal Music was unwilling to sign the 2 year contract with iTunes. 

Well it seems that this chapter is far from over. Just don’t expect me to pay some sort of “music tax” for buying digital music. 

Universal Music May Not Renew iTunes Contract

Highlighting ongoing tension between the music industry and Apple Inc., Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group is set to notify the Cupertino, Calif. company that it is not renewing a long term contract to sell digital music downloads through the increasingly powerful iTunes Store, according to people familiar with the situation.

I would like to back track on my previous post last year where each Microsoft Zune sold, a portion goes to Universal Music as part of their “piracy tax” or whatever compensation to make up for lost revenue due to music piracy. But if that’s their decision then go ahead. But why? Why would they pull out their product off the 3rd largest music retailer (online or otherwise)? If they are making their own music store, then it would be reasonable. But if they are being paid by Micro$oft to move to their Zune marketplace then it makes things a little more interesting. This makes the “piracy tax” very interesting indeed.

Currently, all of the songs (except for the higher quality and DRM-free ones) are pegged at $0.99. There have been reports of other music labels wanting to increase prices for some of their songs to which Apple refuses to do. But whatever the reason for their pullout. I say it’s a bad decision. Would they also pull out their CD’s from Wallmart? Or maybe Virgin?

Let’s look back when the iTunes Store was first launched. Music piracy was rampant. The industry was in a serious decline and other online schemes were offering to “rent” music for a fee. Basically if you stop paying, the music stops playing. Then here comes Steve Jobs and his iTunes Store. Apple talked to the music labels and asked them to license their music. Of course the music industry agreed, they assumed that Apple wasn’t going to make money off it since no one has. Apparently they weren’t ready for the boom that was to come.

Today, iTunes has sold over 2 Billion songs worldwide and has been credited for “saving” the music industry with TV shows and movies now available for download. Songs, videos, podcasts that can ben synced on your mac, iPod, Apple tv, and now the iPhone. And they pulled out? Oh well, maybe they’re getting a better deal somewhere else. Maybe from a Zune? Just so you know, anything you buy off the Xbox Marketplace cannot be transferred to your Zune.

read more | digg story