Tag Archives: iTunes

iTunes Match is Streaming Even Though Apple Denies It

iTunes Match email

Yesterday, it was discovered that the developer beta of iTunes Match showed options for both streaming and downloading content from the cloud to a user’s device. Today, a new report from AllThingsD reveals that an Apple spokesperson claims that the service is not actually a streaming one.

While a video making the rounds today makes it seem as if Apple’s upcoming iTunes Match service will stream music from Apple’s servers to a user’s device, that’s not the case. An Apple spokesperson confirms that any music you want to access from your cloud-based lockerwill still need to be stored on your iPad, or iPhone, or whatever device you’re using to listen to the song.

The service appears to be streaming because begins playback instantly, but instead of true streaming it is downloading and storing the file while beginning simultaneous playback. It’s unknown whether the files are stored locally are of full quality or reduced bitrate.  Apple has been “deliberately vague” about how the iTunes Match service works.  “Apple’s system, as it’s currently constructed, still requires users to keep stuff on their machine in order to play with it,” the report said. Kafka suggested that  files that are not “downloaded” through iCloud but still played will sit in a “temporary cache” on the machine.  However, according to MacRumors  tracks appears to be downloaded to a local cache on the user’s device, allowing for fast access to any portion of the tracks.

Once the track has been fully played, it remains available in that cache and can be re-accessed without needing to re-stream, but it is not considered permanently downloaded and is  not counted  as being in the device’s music library.

According to the report, the lack of true steaming is not due to licensing hold-ups with record labels. The licenses were have said to been acquired in April.

The iTunes Match beta was made available to developers yesterday, and it allows users to “clone” their music library in the cloud by matching it with content available from iTunes. The service will cost $24.99 per year and is expected to launch this Fall.

“iTunes Match” Allows Streaming of Music

Earlier today, Apple released a new iTunes 6.1 beta with iTunes match to developers. iTunes Match is a new service that allows users to pay for an annual subscription that will make their  entire existing music collection (including songs not purchased through iTunes) available from Apple’s cloud servers as well.

Insanely Great Mac  not only has a nice walkthrough for the service, but also has discovered that iTunes Match is both a  streaming  and downloading service. This feature on your iOS devices means your music library won’t need to take up space on the device itself, as long as you have some sort of internet connection.

For $25/year, iTunes Match will scan your existing iTunes music library and allow you to access it from any of your iTunes-linked Macs or iOS devices. Existing songs in the iTunes music store will streamed straight from Apple’s servers (at 256kbps bitrate) without a need to upload the songs yourself. In addition, songs that don’t exist in iTunes will be uploaded to iCloud. Either way, up to 25,000 songs  will be accessible from your various computers and iOS devices.

When Apple first annouced the service at WWDC 2011, it wasn’t clear  that music can be either  streamed  or downloaded locally to any of your computers or devices. The service works the same way on Mac and iOS devices allowing you to have instant access  your entire music library from all of your Macs, iPhones, iPads, or iPod touches for only $25/year.

iTunes Match is expected to launch this fall with iOS 5.

 

Apple Seeds Developers New iTunes 6.1 Beta with iCloud iTunes Match

Today, Apple has released iTunes 6.1 beta to developers. iTunes 6.1 beta is the first release to support the    “scan and match” cloud access feature that Apple announced at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

iTunes Match Email

iTunes Match is a new service that allows users to pay for an annual subscription that will make their  entire existing music collection (including songs not purchased through iTunes) available from Apple’s cloud servers as well.

The service will support music collections up to 25,000 and costs $24.99 per year. The song limit does not count any songs purchased from iTunes, which are already accessible through Apple’s iCloud. In addition, the service is limited to music, and does not support the uploading of apps, audiobooks, books, movies, TV shows, ringtones or interactive content such as iTunes LP liner notes or iTunes Extras for movies.

Unlike services like Amazon’s cloud player or Google Music (yes, they still exist), iTunes Match does not require users to upload many gigabytes of data  that thousands of songs would involve. iTunes makes it easy for users to store songs in the cloud by automatically scanning the user’s library and then make those same songs available through iTunes’ song catalog.

Currently, this service is available for developer testing only, and Apple warns that any content copied up to its cloud servers during the test period may be erased. Apple advises that users testing the device should back up their original songs, and not delete any songs uploaded into the service.

Apple, Starbucks Team Up To Give Away Free iPhone Apps

Since April 2008, Starbucks has partnered with Apple for the “Pick of the Week” program. The “Pick of the Week” program provides users with iTunes Music Store content via cards. Previously, the promotion only allowed  customers access to a free song each week, with tracks priced up to $1.29. Now, CNET reports that these cards are now also offering free downloads of paid iOS applications.

Shazam Encore, the first Starbucks Pick of the Week App

The first application made available for free is Shazam Encore, which usually sells for $5.99 in the App Store. Starbucks has not commented on whether the free applications offer will replace music tracks for good, or if both will be offered in the future. Judging by the first free app offering, it seems they’re serious about providing quality apps because Shazam Encore is a very popular music app costing $5.99.

Customers who visit Starbucks can pick up the free “Pick of the Week” cards at the register that contain codes  redeemable in the App Store towards the purchase of iOS apps.  Last year, Starbucks also did something similar by partnering with Apple and Yahoo to offer digital content to in-store customers.

Android owners, are you jealous yet? Anyways, Apple’s evil.

[image credit: CNET]

New Apple TV Update Brings TV to iCloud

Apple TV

In addition to the new Apple TV software update, the update also introduced the ability for users to stream TV episodes they had previously purchased through iTunes. Also, Apple expanded the “Purchased” section of the iTunes to the Mac, PC, and iOS app to include  re-downloads of purchased TV content.

This new feature adds TV shows to iCloud, bringing the TV content to work the same way as music purchases have been since the update back in June following the iCloud announcement at WWDC 2011. Due to the update, users now have the the option to download purchased TV shows at will and for free as long as they are linked to the same iTunes Store account.  Also, the iTunes Store terms and conditions have been updated with new text covering the changes.

Notification of an additional type of previously-purchased content that may be subsequently downloaded to certain computers and devices as an accommodation to you, subject to existing association rules; and that such content may be played back on certain devices that are not subject to existing association rules, with limitations.

MacRumors notes that the changes have been covered under the section “Automatic Delivery and Downloading Previous Purchases Beta” which covers the two classes of downloadable content. One of the classes is “iTunes Auto-Delievery Content” which covers music and music videos which can be automatically downloaded to associated devices. The other clause being “iTunes Eligible Content” which covers  TV shows that must be downloaded manually.

Such a change usually requires licensing deals with content providers to be renegotiated, and thus probably why Apple has taken time to offer re-downloads for each media type and in each market.

Apple Finally Acquires iPods.com

The iPod was first introduced in 2001, and a few months after someone registered the iPods.com domain name. Even though somebody squatted the domain and wasn’t putting it to use, Apple hadn’t shown interest to acquire the domain until recently. A month ago, TechCrunch reported that finally after 9 years Apple was interested in acquiring iPods.com. In order to do so, they filed a complaint for the domain with ICANN in June. Now, it seems that Apple has finally won the dispute over iPods.com with a World Intellectual Property Organization ruling granting Apple control of the domain. WIPO’s David Cairns has ordered the previous holder MP3Gold.com to hand the domain over.

iPods

In the past, Apple has used legal measures to acquire a domain name. Their recent acquisition was iCloud.com, but Apple usually prefers buying the addresses instead. Shortly after the original’s iPhone launch, Apple acquired iPhone.com and also managed to acquire iPhone4.com and WhiteiPhone.com days before.

Currently, Apple does not own several domains. For example, iPad.com, iPhone5.com, Macs.com, and many other domains that aren’t being used. Judging by Apple’s recent actions, it seems that they will plan to acquire these unused domains at some point. As of today, iPods.com still redirects to MP3Gold.com.

Apple Enables iTunes Previews to 90 Seconds For International Users

Since the iTunes store launch in April 2003, users of the store have been requesting a longer preview windows for songs. Earlier this year, Apple finally started offering iTunes previews that were 90-second long (up from the previous 30-seconds) for US customers. Now, it seems that Apple has quietly expanded its 90-seconds iTunes previews outside of the US to other countries.

According to numerous reports, the 90-second previews have been expanded to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK, and some parts of Europe. The extended previews includes local labels as well as the ones that already had rights in the US. However, not all songs will have 90 second previews at this time.

In the US, Apple made the change by emailing music labels telling them that they would automatically extend the previews to 90 seconds. The decision to expand 90-second preview to international users may have been made by Apple and not directly by negotiating with music labels. Both the labels and publishers may have had objected to the terms but might not have had a legal stance. The reason for the delay in expansion to international markets is unknown.

 

Apple to Release Redesigned iTunes 11 in September [Rumor]

One of the most hated, yet most used, Apple products on the market right now is iTunes. Even Mac users recognize that Apple’s media management software is more than a little bloated.  Unfortunately, it’s so incredibly powerful that it’s hard not use it. Apple also makes it even more difficult by forcing it on anyone who wants to use an iPhone, iPad, iPod or even a Mac with the Mac App Store.

There may be good news, however. Reports are indicated that Apple is planning on releasing a new version of iTunes in September. While that isn’t a huge deal by itself, there is something more to it. iDownloadBlog is reporting that Apple is planning on  completely  redesigning iTunes with the upgrade to version 11.

Interestingly enough, the basic design of iTunes has not changed since its inception. It has always had the controls at the top, with lists on the left side and content displayed on the right. There has always been that “Now Playing” area in the middle, and a search bar on the top right. It is well overdue for a significant face lift.

The timing of this release makes perfect sense. September is the month that many have pegged for the release of iCloud and iOS 5. There have also been reports that a new version of the iPhone is due to come out around then as well.

iDownloadBlog says that we can expect deep integration of iCloud into this new version of iTunes. They also report that the iTunes Store will become more a part of the app. Currently, the iTunes Store is basically a built-in web browser that navigates only to the store.

iDownloadBlog also claims that iCloud backups will be integrated into iTunes. That means that when you backup your device to the cloud, you will get a local copy as well. This also applies for app data as well.

Apple To Place Bid For Hulu?

Apple + Hulu

According to a new report, Apple is in early talks to make an offer to purchase Hulu; a popular online streaming service which provides TV shows and movies.

Apple Inc. is considering making a bid for the Hulu online video service, according to two people with knowledge of the auction.

Apple is in early talks that may lead to an acquisition offer for Los Angeles-based Hulu, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

Many other companies have considered making an offer to Hulu, with Yahoo having made a bid of $2 billion but the company wanted a five year  exclusive on streaming content. Rumors have also suggested that Google, AT&T, and many other companies have considered bidding while Microsoft has dropped out of bidding earlier this week.

If a deal is made between Apple and Hulu, Apple would receive a new subscription service and could be a potential threat to Netflix. Hulu would retain its exclusive content licenses from its current owners  Disney, FOX/News Corp., and Comcast/NBC. In addition, Apple would be able to offer even more choices for movies and TV shows via the iTunes store and possibly convert Hulu’s video content from Flash to HTML5.

Apple recently  reported  that it had $76.2 billion in cash reserves and securities on its chest. Such a large acquisition for Apple would be unusual since they normally acquire companies that aren’t “well-known” and this large in size. Their biggest  purchase to date of a company was $400 million spent for NeXT Software Inc back in 1996.

Apple to Offer “HD+” 1080p iTunes Movie Services Later This Year?

Apple TV

According to AppleInsider, Apple may be preparing  to offer 1080p movies via its iTunes Store later this year, based on reports of film studios submitting films to Apple in a new “HD+” format at the higher resolution.

hus far, 1080p HD content has largely eluded users of Apple products, with HD versions of videos on the company’s digital download service maxing out 720p (1280×720) and chief executive Steve Jobs balking at adoption of Blu-ray on Macs due to licensing complications and other challenges that he said threatened to translate into a “bag of hurt.”

But that could begin to change later this year, as a handful of feature films being submitted to the iTunes store for a release in the September and October timeframe are being sent with documentation for an optional 1920×1080 resolution, according to people familiar with the matter.

The source reports that  at least three of the five largest movie studios have submitted titles scheduled for fall releases with optional resolutions of 1920×1080 at average bitrates of 10 Mbps. Rumors have also suggested that Apple may offer an updated  1080p-capable Apple TV in September.

Also, rumor has it that  Apple already has  the capability to stream 1080p video, but they remained concerned over many users’ connection speeds because they might not be high enough to support streaming of the “HD+” content without significant buffering time.

To solve this issue,  Apple might offer the 1080p only for downloadable movie content. In addition,  Apple could make the 1080p content available for streaming only if a user’s connection is determined to be fast enough to support the bandwidth.