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iTunes tops AAC listening tests

“Over the past two weeks, a second round of AAC listening tests was carried out across five different AAC codecs at Rarewares. This test has been carried out due tosignificant quality improvementacross most the codecs. The AAC codecs tested were Nero AACenc v.2.6.2.0, Compact! 1.2beta3, FAAC 1.23.5 (all three in 128kbps VBR), Apple iTunes 4.2 and Real Producer 10 beta (both in 128kbps CBR). The test closed on February 29th.

In 12 songs tested, iTunes had the best score on average with Nero close behind. The remainingthree are closely tied in second place (or third place if Nero is considered second place). The scores did not vary as much as in the original AAC listening test which means that any recent AAC codec will produce a good quality encoding.”

HP dumped Napster for iTunes

“It was a breakthrough deal that would have put the Napster kitty on millions of Hewlett-Packard computers.

But in the days leading up to Napster’s re-launch in late October, HP suddenly—and without explanation—returned Napster’s $250,000 check and canceled the agreement to install a link to Napster’s online music service on its computers. Worse, in January HP announced a surprise partnership with Napster rival Apple Computer to feature the iTunes Music store on HP computers and sell Hewlett-Packard branded iPod music players.”

iTMS adds ‘Tell a Friend’ feature

The iTunes Music Store now features a “Tell a Friend” link for sharing with others. Simply click the link, fill out the form and tell a friend about your new discovery. “‘Tell a Friend’ links let you send email (that includes an album cover and a link back to the iTunes Music Store) to all your friends. You can even include a personal message. Try it today.”

Pepsi iTunes Music Giveaway: How to cheat and win

MacMerc has posted instructions, photos and a diagram on how to “spy” the inside of specially marked bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist to make sure it has a winning code. “The secret is the angle. I’ve found it to be 25 degrees, but that’s really no use when you’re out in the field. Just tilt it until it seems about that, and look up towards it (hold it above your head). With luck, you should be able to see under the cap.”

iTunes Music Store offers prepaid card redemption

picIn a recent news story we mentioned that Target will have gift (prepaid) cards available starting this Sunday, February 15. Readers have commented that some Target stores are already selling them, and we suspect that other department stores will offer them as well. Apple has updated the iTunes Music Store with a new section to redeem prepaid cards and Terms & Conditions. Prepaid cards expire two years from date of issuance with exceptions in some states. Redemption codes appear on the back of prepaid cards. iTunes 4 (free download) or later and an iTunes Music Store account is required.

Apple and Target team up with iTunes gift cards

picOne of our readers has submitted evidence of a new partnership between Apple and Target stores, resulting in $15 Gift Cards to purchase music from the iTunes Music Store. The new promotion is expected to start on Sunday, February 15.

More disdain for Pepsi iTunes ad

The Register UK has received open letters to Apple from its readers in disgust with the Pepsi iTunes Music Giveaway ads featuring several RIAA sued teenagers. One of the letters read, “I was planning on purchasing a new Ibook, it would have been my 5th Mac. Tell Steve he can take this “Jobs” and shove it. Putting that obnoxious Pepsi ad on the website was not a good decision. Jack Del Croix” Another letter read, “The only thing you have to do to be in the front of the NEXT revolution is lose Pepsi and the RIAA. It is a brutal irony to me that you chose the 20th anniversary of the most famous Superbowl ad of all to totally reverse your own image, team up with big brother, and most indefensible of all, participate in the exploitation of underaged alleged “criminals” in a literal public stoning. Shame on you!”

Mac: Connect iPod, iTunes crashes in OS X 10.3

MacFixit reports a problem and solution regarding iTunes 4.2. “We previously reported an issue where iTunes 4.2 crashes shortly after connecting an iPod (under Mac OS X 10.3.x) The crash generally results both in the iPod not getting updated and a force-quit required for iTunes. Some users have had success disconnecting all other external peripherals - particularly FireWire devices other than the iPod (and USB components), but for others the problem persists under the same conditions. Reverting to Mac OS X 10.2.x also alleviates the problem.”

Magnatune music download service dances to a different tune

“Magnatune is a record label, but don’t let that make you wince; as the company’s motto says, they are not evil, and they mean it. Take a look in the ‘Information’ menu on the Magnatune site and browse the essay on why Magnatune owner John Buckman created the site, and check out his business model and other topics of interest. Once you’re done reading, go check out some of the music.

Again, what you’ll find is something completely different: The music is unique and high quality. The Magnatune business model is similar to shareware, and artists get 50% of the proceeds from each sale from the company’s Web site. While its library of music is relatively small, it contains such a uniquely eclectic collection of albums and artists that nearly everyone is bound to find something he or she likes.”

iTMS: Get your 99 cent song of silence

“Among the hundreds of thousands of downloadable songs for sale at Apple Computer’s online music store are at least nine tracks of silence, a fact that has prompted quite a bit of discussion. The chatter over the inaudible music tracks began this week at Mac enthusiast site As The Apple Turns.

As the site notes, Apple treats the silent songs just like their more musical counterparts. The silent tracks sell for the same 99 cents as other songs, feature free 30-second “previews” and are all wrapped in Apple’s usual digital-rights management software to prevent unauthorized copying.”

iTunes Music Store attracts criticism

“The backlash has started. Having enjoyed a free ride from the media and from users since its inception last year, Apple’s iTunes Music Store is beginning to attract serious criticism.

There have been mutterings of opposition before, concerned with both the price of downloads and the quality, but the ongoing success of the store has largely silenced those. However when a website as widely read as The Register describes the latest iTunes TV advertisement as ‘shameful’, Apple should start to listen.”

Pepsi+iTunes ad ranked poorly

USAToday published the ‘16th Annual Ad Meter’ ranking yesterday’s SuperBowl commercials. The Pepsi+iTunes giveaway ad is near the bottom of the list with a 5.90 out of 10.

art4iTunes.com - generate album art for your iTunes song library

Announcing art4iTunes.com - a website that generates album covers and track listings from your iTunes song list. The album cover can be dropped back into iTunes and displayed whenever the track is played. Artwork can be from US or UK album covers. Have a look and let me know what you think - there’s a demo button to see what it does before uploading your own song list.

Apple posts Pepsi+iTunes commercial

picApple has posted several sizes of the Pepsi+iTunes commercial scheduled to air during today’s Super Bowl game.

Pepsi iTunes Music Giveaway begins

picApple has officially launched the Pepsi iTunes Music Giveaway by updating its previous teaser page with How to Play, Enter Code, Official Rules, FAQ and System Requirements. There are 100 million songs being given away, 1 in 3 wins. The iTunes Music Store has been updated with a ‘Redeem Song’ button to enter your winning bottlecap code. It asks to enter your birthdate then the code to redeem your song. Official rules indicate the giveaway expires March 31, 2004 and the “maximum number of valid Codes per email address/person that can be entered at the Web Site is 10 per day and 200 total throughout the Promotion Period.” Today during the Super Bowl Pepsi will air its iTunes giveaway commercial featuring teens sued by the RIAA.

WHERE TO FIND GAME PIECES:
Look for game piece printed underneath bottle caps on specially-marked “iTunes” 20 oz. and 1 liter bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist and under the rim of specially-marked 32 oz. fountain cups available at participating 7 Eleven convenience stores during the Promotion Period. Not all brands and package sizes may participate in all areas. No Purchase Necessary. To receive one free game piece and a copy of Official Rules, while supplies last, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope postmarked on or before 3/31/04 to: Pepsi iTunes Game Piece, P.O. Box 9205, Young America, MN 55558-9205. Residents of the state of VT may omit return postage. Limit one free game piece per request per stamped outer envelope. Pepsi-Cola Company (“Sponsor”) assumes no liability for lost, late, stolen, illegible, misdirected, mutilated, incomplete or postage-due mail or requests.”

RIAA applauds Pepsi iTunes promotion

“The RIAA applauded the ad, even though it may serve to remind some of the trade group’s legal campaign, which many music fans thought went too far.

‘This ad shows how everything has changed,’ said RIAA chief executive Mitch Bainwol. The debate is not digital versus plastic, it’s legitimate versus illegitimate.” [...]

‘I would like to see more of this,’ said Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M, part of Universal Music Group. ‘We’re starting to see technology companies come on our side, now soft drink companies are coming on our side.’”

Ex-Paramount Pictures exec berates Pepsi iTunes ad

“‘I still can’t get over the fact that these fresh faced teenagers are being attacked by companies just to preserve a business model in need of freshening up itself,” says Wattles. ‘I don’t want my kids treated that way by business and I don’t want other people’s kids treated that way.’

And on the choice of language, ‘Prosecutions are usually understood to be actions by the state to enforce criminal laws,’ he says. ‘Prosecutions aren’t generally understood to mean civil lawsuits. The word ‘sued’ would be appropriate and accurate in this context.

‘The ad falsely pumps up the music industry’s enforcement effort, and its suggestive criminalization of the kids’ behavior building up to the tag line ‘we’re still gonna download music for free off the Internet - and there’s not a thing anyone can do about it,’ reinforces the ad’s presumption that their behavior had been criminal.’”

Pepsi iTunes promo: Analyst says Apple will sell “5-10 million songs per week by summer”

“Pepsi this week shipped 300 million specially marked 20-ounce bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist to convenience stores and other retailers. Consumers who find a numerical code for a free download in the bottle caps can type it into the iTunes program for a free download. [...]

Analysts expect Apple will reap huge rewards from the contest. Analyst Charles Wolf of Wall Street research firm Needham & Co. estimates the firm is selling 2 million songs per week. ‘‘This campaign will get them to 5-10 million per week by summer, or 200 million songs for the year,’’ he says.”

TuneRecycler.com launches Pepsi iTunes bottelcap recycling to support indie labels

“With the Tune Recycler, you can send us your unwanted iTunes bottlecap codes and we’ll use them to support independent music. Easy for you, and good for music. [...]

When you submit a winning Pepsi code to the Tune Recycler, we’ll redeem it for music from honest, independent labels. There are a few great independent labels in the iTunes store that give their musicians up to 40-50 cents, right from the first sale. When you use the Tune Recycler, you know that no money is going to support price fixing, payola, or lawsuits against families with children—and most importantly, the money goes to a musician. That way, you don’t have to sign up with iTunes to get one song, but you can still put that cap to use.”

AppleInsider posts Pepsi iTunes Super Bowl commercial

AppleInsider has posted the upcoming Pepsi iTunes Super Bowl commercial featuring 16 teens that were recently sued by the RIAA for illegally downloading music from the Internet. The commercial also features Green Day’s version of ‘I Fought the Law.’

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