“Now that Apple’s iTunes Music Store (iTMS) does Windows and Napster has bee rehabilitated, more people are starting to change their music-buying focus moving from old-school CDs to new-generation digital formats like AAC (Advance Audio Coding) and WMA (Windows Media Audio)
However, the onset of legal music download services has brought a new issue front and center: sound quality. The bit rate of an iTMS AAC file is 128 kilobits per second (kbps)—just a fraction of the 1,411 kbps “uncompressed” standard used for CD, WAV and AIFF files.”
“How can rival MP3 jukebox manufacturers end music fans’ love affair with Apple’s iPod?
Taking on the Apple iPod is a brave move. The iPod has claimed the moniker of the Walkman of the 21st century for its superb design, compact size, usability and, unusually for Apple, competitive price. Several manufacturers have tried but so far none have succeeded in loosening the all-conquering Apple product’s vice-like grip on the MP3 jukebox market.
However what was once a niche product area is now moving towards the mainstream. Sony is predicting a huge growth in network audio (any personal audio device that plays MP3 files including CD and MiniDisc) in the coming year and several other makers have big plans for product launches in the area.”