Tag Archives: iTunes

iCloud: All About Apple’s Consumer Cloud Service

Today, Apple inched closer to ubiquitous  computing, the elusive dream all technology enthusiasts share. During their Worldwide Developer Conference today, Steve Jobs unveiled Apple’s consumer cloud service unimaginatively named iCloud. A few years back Apple came out with a paid email service with online storage called MobileMe, the service also had Calendar & contacts sync between Apple’s devices. Being a subscriber, I can tell you it offered no value for the money. Back in 2009, news about iWork for the cloud came out. iWork for the cloud was the second part of Apple’s cloud puzzle. Rumors about iTunes in the cloud have been around for a while, which is now the third part of Apple’s cloud service.

Clubbing all of these together and adding three more, we have iCloud:

  • iTunes in the cloud
  • Contacts, Calendar, Mail (MobileMe is no more a brand)
  • Photos
  • Apps, Books, Documents
  • Device backup

iTunes in the Cloud

The service has two parts to it:

  1. Syncing your purchased music across all Apple devices
  2. A subscription service to access your music library on Apple devices

Once you purchase a song, you will be able to download and access it from any device. Let’s say you bought a song on your Mac, your iPod Touch will show “Purchased” for that song in the marketplace. You can then download that song on the device without paying anything extra.

Now, the subscription service is a bit tricky. Google  Music,  Amazon, Grooveshark and the likes, let you upload your music to the cloud. Obviously the labels will have a problem with these big names storing potentially pirated/ripped content. Apple decided to tackle this problem in a way where the labels would be happy & the consumer will be tricked into paying $30 a year to access music he already purchased.

Let’s say you’re one of those guys who has ripped CDs you purchased into iTunes. To access these songs on any iDevice, you need to pay Apple $30 a year and iTunes will match your library against its database. This would mean that:

  1. You already paid for the CD
  2. You pay Apple again to access songs you’ve already paid for.

What happens in case iTunes is not able to match your library? Well, you get to upload those songs. iCloud has 5 GB of free storage space which is shared between services. The split up is detailed at the end of the post.

Having said that, the service is interesting and if it works  seamlessly, I think paying $30 a year wouldn’t be so bad to have all your music with you, anywhere.

Contacts, Mail and Calendar

The brand MobileMe has been phased out and nothing has changed in these three services. Syncing of Contacts, email and calendar entries between devices and the same account will be how it was in MobileMe.

Photos

The feature called Photo Stream lets you click a picture and Apple will sync it across all devices. Take a photo with your iPhone and it will be sent to iCloud. Now Photostream has a fine print:

  • iCloud will store new pictures for 30 days
  • Master library will be on the PC
  • iCloud will sync the latest 1,000 pictures across all devices

The use case behind this is that when you take a new picture with an iPhone you will have access to it via iCloud, now within 30 days you should sync your iPhone to a PC so that the picture is stored in the master library. Since pictures are large in size, having all of them on the phone or cloud is not economical. iCloud will have the latest 1,000 pictures available to you in the Photo Stream album on your iDevices.

Apps, Books and Documents

If you live in the Apple world you probably have an iPad and iPhone or iPod Touch, managing apps we have purchased is difficult. With iCloud Apple will sync all apps you purchase and you push them on all your devices.  Like music, a purchase history will let you download apps to your other devices.

This functionality expands to iBooks and documents. Changes made to the documents will be automatically synced over the cloud.

Backup

As a user backing up data and setting new devices is a tedious task. However, with iCloud is making it as simple as it can get.  As a technology enthusiast syncing between documents, books, apps and backups is my favorite feature of iCloud, probably the best announcement of the event. iCloud will backup the following:

  • Device Settings
  • App data
  • Home screen and app organization
  • Text and MMS
  • Ringtones
  • Photos and videos in the camera roll album
  • Purchased music, apps and books

Restoring all of this to a new iDevice will require the user to login with their Apple ID.

All of this sounds pretty exciting but what does the 5GB include?

  • Mail
  • Documents
  • Photos and videos in the Camera Roll album
  • Account information
  • Settings
  • App data

The 5 GB does not include  purchased  music, books, apps or the Photo Stream.

You can read our coverage on Apple’s announcements for OS X Lion and iOS 5:

iTunes Store Goes Down While Apple Announces 2nd Quarter Results

Apple has had a great second quarter of 2011 where they made $24.76 billion in revenue selling 3.7 million Macs, 18.65 million   9.02 million iPod (including ) and 4.69 million .

iTunes Store Down

However, it looks like someone pushed a wrong button on the iTunes store which incidentally accounted for over $1 billion in revenue for Apple. For the past half hour or so the iTunes Store has been down and several users are complaining about it.

I have been trying to purchase an app for past 30 minutes but am hit with the above error every time. The error says that the network connection timed out, but I can access all websites properly without issues.

Several other users are facing a similar problem which can be seen by visiting this Twitter search page. I am able to access the iTunes store online, however, purchases are not going through.

Are you facing a similar problem while making purchase with the iTunes Store?

iOS 4.3 Released; Download iOS 4.3 for iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad

Apple has released the iOS 4.3 Update for , and users. The iOS 4.3 update will be applicable to iPhone 3 and , iPod Touch 3G and and the iPad 1.

ios_4_3_update

The OS was supposed to be released on March 11, but was released today itself. This follows the iTunes 10.2.1 update released earlier today by Apple.

You can download the iOS 4.3 update for your device by connecting your device to your PC and clicking on the “Check for Updates” button in iTunes.

For a list of changes in iOS 4.3 head over to our earlier post on what’s new in iOS 4.3.

Search iTunes Store Online With Quick iTunes

I download a lot of apps and music for my thanks to some useful services I use to find free apps. However, searching for particular apps is a little bit hard thanks to the fact that there isn’t a proper web interface for the iTunes store.

The only way I can find apps is by using the search on the iPod Touch itself or opening up iTunes which is bulky and does not provide me with a good experience. Though there are ways to browse the iTunes store online, it is not perfect.

Quick iTunes search

If you face a similar problem an for called Quick iTunes will help you solve your problems. As the extension name suggests, Quick iTunes allows you to quickly and easily search for music, videos, apps and more in the iTunes app store with an easy to use interface.

Once you install the extension you can click on the icon in the toolbar to bring up the search interface. Finding apps or music is very easy too and you can search the iTunes store and narrow down the results based on different categories.

I found this extension to be pretty useful and would suggest that you download it too if you download and install apps frequently. Download the Quick iTunes extension.

iTunes Crosses 10 Million Fans on Facebook

Close on the heels of Apple App Store’s race to 10 billion downloads, they have reached another milestone, this time on . The iTunes fan page on Facebook has over 10 million fans.

iTunes 10 Million Facebook Fans

The iTunes fan page on Facebook is quickly becoming one of the most popular brands on Facebook with over 10 million fans. This milestone would put them in the top 10 brands on Facebook.

The most popular brands on Facebook right now are Coca Cola with close to 22 million fans and Starbucks with 19 million. However, it still has a lot of competition to cover specifically from Oreo, Red Bull, Skittles, Converse and Victoria’s Secret who all have more than 11 millions fan each (cite Fame Count).

These are some huge milestones for Apple, considering that they already topped 10 billion songs download last February. All in all, the App Store and iTunes have been very successful products for Apple and will continue to be so in the future too.

If you are a fan of music or iTunes in general, here is some good news. iTunes will be giving away 10 $500 iTunes coupons to random users to celebrate their 10 million milestone on Facebook. If you want to win an iTunes gift certificate, head over to their iTunes fan page at http://www.facebook.com/iTunes and click on the link to enter the competition.

*You will have to be a fan of iTunes in order to enter the competition.

Apple App Store To Serve Up 10 Billion Downloads Soon

If you’re one for trumpeting numbers, you ought to know that according to the flip-clock counter that Apple has put up, presumably indicating the number of downloads and not an interval clock, the App Store is soon to hit the 10 billion mark. That’s 10 billion downloads, no word on it being unique downloads, re-purchases or previously downloaded material or if there’s any other number fudging going on, but it is what it is. To commemorate such a glorious event, Apple is giving users the chance to win a $10,000 USD iTunes gift card. Download the ten billionth app for your chance to win. Of course, if you don’t own an Apple device capable of accessing the App Store, you can simply fill out an entry form for your chance to win – no downloads or purchases necessary and you can actually submit it a maximum of 25 times per day.

Good luck to any readers who enter!

Fix "View In iTunes" Link Not Working In Opera

Back in October, I had written a post about fixing an issue with the iTunes store in , where app store links or "View in iTunes" link did not open the iTunes app. The same problem existed in too and many users have been emailing and asking me about how to fix it for Opera.

Open iTunes Link in Opera

So as promised, here is a quick way to fix the "View in iTunes" link not working for the Opera browser, I have borrowed this trick from Pallab’s earlier post on using Google Instant in Opera.

Here are steps to fix this issue:

Change Opera Browser Identification

  1. First of all open any app in iTunes, you could click on this link to open the app in iTunes.
  2. Now right click on an empty spot on the page and select "Edit Site Preferences" from the context menu. Alternatively you could use the hotkey F12 and select it.
  3. Navigate to the "Network" tab and change the "Browser identification" option to "Mask as Firefox" from "Identify as Opera"
  4. Reload the page and you should now see a prompt to Open iTunes.

If the "Mask as " does not work, you can try out the other options available for Browser Identification.

Best Mobile Apps Of the Week for iOS, Android and Symbian–#2

Welcome to the second edition of Best Mobile Apps Of The Week. I hope you liked our first edition of the Best Mobile Apps of The Week. Hopefully, readers will like the second edition as well. In this edition, we will introduce our readers to a scrobbler client for Symbian, a video streaming app for iOS and an application to control iTunes playback on your PC/laptop via your Android handset.

Here are the featured mobile apps of the week for iOS, Symbian and Android:

Air Video (iOS)

Air Video for iOS is one brilliant application. The application streams the video present in the user’s PC either via Wi-Fi or via 3G to his/her iOS based device. The biggest advantage of Air Video is that it is able to stream videos in almost any format to your iOS device. The application also has a very handy feature of converting videos on the fly and streaming it right to your iOS device. Users need to make sure that the Air Video server application is installed on your PC so that the application can work properly.

Air_Video

Air Video is available for iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad and users can download it from the AppStore for $2.99.

Mobbler (Symbian)

Mobbler_SymbianLast.fm is a very popular Internet radio site. Many Last.fm clients are available for various operating systems. For Symbian, Mobbler is a very popular Last.fm radio player and scrobbler client. The application allows users to listen to a variety of Internet radio stations offered by Last.fm.

The application is pretty slick as well and supports some useful features like scrobbling all your tracks when the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi network etcetera. The application supports the different versions of Symbian S60v3 (FP2), S60v5 and Symbian^3.

Symbian users can download Mobbler for free from here.

Remote For iTunes (Android)

In our first edition of the Best Mobile Apps of The Week, we told you about a very handy application for iOS Remote. Today, we would like to introduce you to the Android alternative of Remote Remote For iTunes. Remote For iTunes works exactly like Remote for iOS does. The application allows users to control the media playback of iTunes running on their PC or Laptop via their Android handset through Wi-Fi.

Remote_iTunes

The interface of the application is a pretty simple as well. According to me, one drawback of the application is that it does not feature the CoverFlow UI. Nevertheless, the Remote For iTunes is a must have application if you use iTunes on your PC.

The only difference between Remote for iOS and Android is that while the former is available for free, the latter costs $4.99.

How To Turn Off/Disable Ping in iTunes

One of our readers sent in a question where he asked us on instructions to disable Ping in the new iTunes 10. Though turning off Ping is pretty simple, the settings are hidden inside your account settings.

iTunes View Account

To disable ping on iTunes, launch iTunes and then go to the Store menu and Click on the option to "View My account". Enter your username/password if prompted. You will be taken to the settings page.

Turn Off Ping

In the middle of the page you will see an option for Ping. Just click the "Turn Off" button. You will get another prompt which will disable a message, click the Turn Off button on it to disable Ping.

Beatles Catalog Now Available In iTunes Store

As we had told you yesterday, the entire Beatles catalog is now available in the iTunes Store. Apple today announced a deal with EMI that the Beatles are now available for the first time in the iTunes store.

Beatles iTunes Catalog

Starting today, 13 remastered Beatles album will be available in the iTunes store. The Beatles catalog is available for downloads as full albums as well as individual songs. Fans can also get a special digital "Beatles Box Set" featuring the "Live at the Washington Coliseum, 1964" concert film, a worldwide iTunes exclusive which captures the Beatles’ very first US concert.

However, the songs and albums are a bit pricier that the rest of the catalog with individual songs selling at $1.29 a piece and albums selling at $12.99 each. Users can also buy a special "Beatles Box Set" for $149 which contains all 13 remastered studio albums and mini documentaries.

So go ahead and download the Beatles catalog from the iTunes store right away at http://www.itunes.com.