AirTunes, wireless iTunes music streaming; iTunes 4.6 coming soon | iLounge News

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AirTunes, wireless iTunes music streaming; iTunes 4.6 coming soon

picMacMinute reports that “Apple today introduced AirPort Express, “the world’s first 802.11g mobile base station that can be plugged directly into the wall for wireless Internet connections and USB printing, or thrown into a laptop bag to bring wireless freedom to hotel rooms with broadband connections.” Airport Express also features analog and digital audio outputs that can be connected to a stereo and new AirTunes music networking software that wirelessly streams music to any room in the house. AirPort Express features a single piece ultra-compact design weighing 6.7 ounces, and will be available to Mac and PC users in July for US$129. AirTunes requires the next version of iTunes (iTunes 4.6), which is expected to be available later this week as a free download.”

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Comments

41

>>“this thing sounds SWEET, but just one thing i don’t get. if the stereo is in a room with NO broadband ethernet connection, would the Airport express still be able to stream music from the computer (which is equipped with a wireless card) to the stereo (which is connected to the Airport express but NOT an ethernet connection)? do you get what i mean?”

Since it acts as a base station, you’ll be able to set up a closed network. Your computer with wifi card will be able to connect to that network. you should be able to stream music to the stereo. Your network just won’t have internet connection.

What you could do is hook ine up in a room that has broadband connection. Then, have a second one to act as a bridge into the room with your stereo.

Posted by Starboard on June 7, 2004 at 9:31 PM (CDT)

42

>>“One more thought. Would it be possible for the airport express to simultaneously act as a base station, stream music to speakers, as well as offer wireless usb printing? Apple experts, what do you think?”

That is exactly the idea. it will be able to do all that at the same time

Posted by Starboard on June 7, 2004 at 9:33 PM (CDT)

43

“I was hoping that I could purchase an extra airport express to act as a airport extreme card in an airport-ready G5. Do any of you think that this might be possible?”

Actually yes, you will be able to do exatcly that. According to an article over at MacWorld http://www.macworld.com/weblogs/editors/ they say If you’re using AirPort Express as a base station, you’d plug your Internet connection into it via its included Ethernet port. But if your main base station is an AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express, you can also use the AirPort Express as a wireless bridge—just plug it in somewhere else in your house, and attach any Ethernet-based device to it. That device will now be on your network, even though it’s nowhere near the rest of your stuff.

Posted by Sandman on June 7, 2004 at 9:49 PM (CDT)

44

My question is this.  Since my mac is connected via ethernet cable to a non-mac wireless router (the wireless is for my pc laptop to roam around the house if some of you are wondering), would it be possible still to stream my music to the airport express?  In essence it would be
my mac—->  router—-> airport express.  any of you think this would be possible?

Posted by dude yo on June 7, 2004 at 11:20 PM (CDT)

45

It will work on your laptop with out question, even though it is PC apple says it will work.

for your mac desktop?? I think it needs an airport card built in. or maybe it will work with your router, cause i guess there is info output from your mac through that.

Posted by Dougs on June 7, 2004 at 11:37 PM (CDT)

46

Am I right the airport express ethernet port is only WAN meaning it will only plug into a cable modem??

Would I be able to use it in my collage room, there is a LAN point in each room. can I plug a cable from that point to the airport express and get wireless net working????

or can the air port extream only do that and the airport express only acts as bridge and wireless print music thingy?

Posted by Dougs on June 7, 2004 at 11:47 PM (CDT)

47

This is by far one of THE smartest and most innovative things for wireless networking that I have seen in years. Its abosuletly incredible how a full fledged wi-fi router that is both compatible with Macs and PCs, and can stream audio, could be so small, so portable, and so universal.

As soon as I get a wi-fi card for my PC, I want to buy one of these.

People are wondering how Apple will hang on to its share of the digital audio business with competetion from Microsoft looming in the horizon. THIS is how: new ideas and innovation. The online music store was Apple’s idea, for one, and though the iPod is by no means a perfect player, it does fit the bill for more people than any other player.

Posted by Sraphim on June 8, 2004 at 12:45 AM (CDT)

48

If Apple are serious about getting rid of wires then the next iPod should also have Wifi transmit and FM transmit. That way you can broadcast analog output to radios, and digital output to wifi receivers.

If apple added FM transmitting to the iPod they wouldnt be able to sell it within the UK due to broadcasting laws over here.

Sucks to be us huh? ;o)

Posted by iPodX on June 8, 2004 at 2:20 AM (CDT)

49

It’s not very convenient; so your computer has to be on to play music, you’re not actually playing it from an iPod.  They should create a Wifi addon for the iPod so you can carry it around the house normally and still broadcast to speakers.

Posted by Xenoxide on June 8, 2004 at 2:44 AM (CDT)

50

i’d like to get one to be able to play itunes through my stereo and it’s a cheaper option than buying the airport base station - smaller and more adaptable too. but once again, not available on the uk apple website - maybe it will arrive shortly? i want to get an airport card for my g3 ibook and this adds to the attraction but it looks like i’ll have to get the more expensive extreme card to make full use of the express unit. o.k. so bite the bullet.

but then i don’t really need it yet my ibook in my small flat is never more than 15 ft away from my stereo - so i connect the audio via a mini jackplug lead. and why would i want music playing in another room when i’m somewhere else with my ibook??

And…i don’t have broadband yet, it’s a nightmare getting set up in the uk and also my flatmate has a pc laptop which complivcates things seeing as how we share the dial-up connection. - now, if i could plug my phone cable into the express and wifi my dial-up connection from the wall to my ibook, that would be worth doing, but it looks like this isn’t possible unless you have broadband, right ?
still, at least it’s ousted the huge and reasonably awkward looking airport base station.

Posted by melody nelson on June 8, 2004 at 5:19 AM (CDT)

51

I would like to see one of these things built into an attractive, portable and powerful set of speakers which I could set up wherever around the house or garden.

At the moment I just plug my iPod into a set of creative travel speakers or simply carry my PB around the house and use Itunes networking to stream music to the Powerbook via wireless from my PC server.

It is a great if not groundbreaking product of more interest to those who don’t already have a wireless network.

Posted by loGan on June 8, 2004 at 5:19 AM (CDT)

52

Hmmmmm…... this does eem very cool….however:

I’ve got an iPod dock hooked up to my stereo (and plugged onto AC) with speakers wired all over the house.  So far, my iPod holds more files than my computer.  Besides radio and crossfade, is there major advantage to playing out of iTunes rather than iPod

Posted by Daddo on June 8, 2004 at 10:24 AM (CDT)

53

I don’t mean to repeat things. I just want to feel a little more comfortable about some of the conclusions stated here.

1. A SINGLE unit connected to a cable/dsl connection can act as base station and at the same time be connected to speakers and a printer. All connections are functioning. Is that right?
2. The ability to act as a Wireless Bridge means that if I owned two units, one can act as base station and the other will allow connection passed to a computer without WAN capability. Is that right?

Posted by Studio works on June 8, 2004 at 12:21 PM (CDT)

54

“Besides radio and crossfade, is there major advantage to playing out of iTunes rather than iPod”

Yes. Digital connection on the AirPort Express.

Your iPod is connected to your speakers using an analog line-out (at best) or a headphone jack (ick). There’s a lot of gain on that connection, and a strong possibility of ground loop hum.

Digital connections have less bias, no gain, and no hum.

Finally, as the earlier post mentioned, more and more audio components will be moving to networked digital inputs - ethernet, wired or wireless. The units themselves will do decode the input stream. There’s even some amazingly cheap networked “DVD Players” from China that do network streaming of DVDs, DIVX, and MP3s. I’ve seen some of these in the cheaper big box retailers for around $100. They use wired ethernet, but you can plug in a wired->wireless bridge for around $30 that transforms them into wireless playback devices. Perfect to link with something like Apple’s little wifi media hub.

So your audio devices will become network nodes that happen to have large speakers attached. THis is a natural progression of Moore’s Law - eventually it becomes cheaper to include a complete computer+ram in each audio device rather than build a custom analog board. So every dumb boombox will eventually become a rather smart “convergence device” - only it won’t be called that.

Of course, mostly now they focus on simply decoding MP3s. Some of the higher-end ones will also decode AAC (but not Apple’s DRMd version of AAC). Microsoft are trying to get a lot of companies to include automatic WMA stream decoding, but not getting a lot of love there.

Posted by Yup on June 8, 2004 at 12:53 PM (CDT)

55

Wifi for the iPod is the dumbest idea ever. It’s so useless. What is this idea of transmitting with Wifi to your stereo? There still has to be some Wifi receiver at your stereo, so why not just have your iPod plugged into your stereo? Then the music does not need to stream cause its already there. What you guys really want is an LCD remote control. And this whole thing of synching with Wifi, how lame. Like its so hard to use the dock. Enough to justify the added costs and space inside the iPod that would be needed for the Wifi? No thanks!

How about Bluetooth so it will work with cell phones and wireless headphones? Now THAT sounds useful!

Posted by Joe Shmoe on June 8, 2004 at 1:35 PM (CDT)

56

what ever happned to the n new itunes coming out yesterday?

Posted by jasontho on June 8, 2004 at 2:10 PM (CDT)

57

i think bluetooth is useless in an ipod except for the wireless headphones. Wi-fi would mean no more having to plug my ipod into my mac to just transfer a few sngs over to it really quick. Plus wi-fi would enable the ipod to be streamed to your stereo just like itunes and hen u could sit there with your ipod and control your stereo, no need at all for any kind of a remote!

Posted by jasontho on June 8, 2004 at 2:14 PM (CDT)

58

“What is this idea of transmitting with Wifi to your stereo? There still has to be some Wifi receiver at your stereo, so why not just have your iPod plugged into your stereo?”

You’re not getting it at all, are you?

Wifi encoding means perfect digital quality - no more lousy analog hookups.

Wifi means no *need* to carry iPods around with you or to fiddle with wires.

And you missed the thing about Moore’s Law. Computer technology is always getting cheaper. 10 Years ago ethernet connections cost real mnoney - several hundred dollars each. Now they are giving them away.

Within 5 years it will be cheaper and easier to just bundle Wifi in devices rather then design custom ASICs for wired connectivity. Soon you will find it difficult to buy receivers without Wifi.

Of course, it may not be “Wifi”, ie, 801.11a/b/g. It may be UWB or some other exotic signalling technology. But it will be wireless.

And it will be packet-based. So instead of broadcasting from a single iPod to a single receiving device, your iPod or other personal audio device will be a network node in your Personal Area Network, or PAN.

Indeed, with ubiquitious Wifi the issue becomes - do you really still need an iPod? If you are able to stream your music from anyplace, to anyplace, then why carry (relatively) heavy hard disk devices around with you? Why not just a tiny flash-base streaming device using PANS, Wifi, and 4G wireless networks?

Posted by not getting it on June 8, 2004 at 3:06 PM (CDT)

59

“i think bluetooth is useless in an ipod except for the wireless headphones.”
You forgot cell phone and car stereo integration.

“You’re not getting it at all, are you?
Wifi encoding means perfect digital quality - no more lousy analog hookups.
Wifi means no *need* to carry iPods around with you or to fiddle with wires.”

And this couldn’t simply be done with a dock with digital output? And if I’m not carrying my iPod around with me why wouldn’t it just be in the dock? Who’s not getting it?

If there is a use for WiFi in the iPod, I have yet to see anyone point it out. Everything said so far can be done with a simple (and external) dock. At least bluetooth opens up entire realms of possibilities with interactions with other portable devices. Something along the lines of throwing my iPod in my bag, and listening to it with wireless stereo headset and controlling it wirelessly with my cell phone and having it act appropriately when a call comes it. Now THATs useful!

Posted by Joe Shmoe on June 8, 2004 at 3:49 PM (CDT)

60

Oh geez this guy is one of those technology “visionaries”. Yeah wow Moore’s law. Now you’ve proved your point. Nothing you said has much relevence to discussions of the next generation iPod.

Posted by SO not getting it on June 8, 2004 at 4:15 PM (CDT)

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