iPod, iTunes updates hide major new features | iLounge News

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iPod, iTunes updates hide major new features

Coinciding with the Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple has released iPod Updater 2006-01-10 and iTunes 6.0.2, both classified as “point releases” of its key software packages for iPods, Macs, and PCs. Though the company originally had not published details on many of the new features of these programs, iLounge’s editors found several hidden treasures in each of them, most of which have now been confirmed on Apple’s web site.

imageiPod Updater 2006-01-10 upgrades the fifth-generation iPod and iPod nano to software versions 1.1, adding support for on-screen FM radio tuning, the display of accessory-specific color on-screen logo graphics on the Do Not Disconnect screen, and bug fixes. Bug fixes have also been implemented for both versions of the fourth-generation iPod (black-and-white/color), and iPod mini.

Originally described by Apple only as including “stability and performance improvements over iTunes 6.0.1,” iTunes 6.0.2 adds several major new features to the music management software. Most notably, iTunes now handles automatic H.264-format video conversion for the iPod without requiring the purchase of Apple’s QuickTime Pro software. Right-clicking on any video track now brings up a “Convert Selection for iPod” option. iTunes also allows users to stream audio wirelessly to multiple AirPort Express receivers at once, a feature previously found in standalone audio distribution systems such as Sonos’ ZonePlayers.

In less positive additions, Apple has created a mini iTunes Music Store (the “MiniStore”) which displays by default whenever you look at your Library or Playlists. The MiniStore analyzes the music you are listening to and suggests similar options for purchase, a feature that is already being described as unwelcome “spyware and adware” by several writers. You can turn off the MiniStore by selecting Edit > Hide MiniStore.

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Comments

21

Just updated the software i like the mini store,i see it as part of the overall music experience it can be quite handy alerting you to other music that you might like but not have come across, it’s not spyware at all as you have the ability to turn it off as we all know you cannot do this with programmes that load on to your computer with out your’e knowledge.

Posted by STEVEN BATES on January 11, 2006 at 6:57 PM (PDT)

22

when i converted a vidoe it worked great is is now on my ipod wut there is no sound, not even on itunes can someone help?

Posted by moo2late on January 11, 2006 at 7:39 PM (PDT)

23

Xander said: it is the very definition of spyware!. An application that installs without your knowledge and reports back to it’s maker. How is it not spyware?
—-
First off, Apple does not install iTunes without your knowledge. Second, not every app that “reports back to it’s maker” is spyware. Using that definition if I download a widget from a website that let’s me know when they update their website then it is spyware! Sometimes when an app “reports back to it’s maker” it is a feature. Don’t like it? Turn it off in the same menu that shows and hides every other feature in iTunes. How many spyware programs give you that option, and if they do how many are that simple to turn off?

Posted by J3 on January 11, 2006 at 8:07 PM (PDT)

24

My iTunes 6.0.1 still reports it *is* the latest version.  What’s up with that?

Posted by Allister on January 11, 2006 at 9:53 PM (PDT)

25

My iTunes 6.0.1 still reports it *is* the latest version.  What’s up with that?

Mine was doing that so i just went to the apple site and went to downloads and got it from there no problemo.

Posted by STEVEN BATES on January 11, 2006 at 10:38 PM (PDT)

26

Yes, OK.  So I downloaded 6.0.2 and installed.  I quite like the little music store window - quite clever.

EXCEPT…

1) It lists songs not available in the selected country’s music store, and

2) We don’t got no FREAKIN music store in New Zealand anyway!  Apparently we are the last English speaking nation not to have one.

So this is just RUBBING IT IN, APPLE!

Posted by Allister on January 12, 2006 at 12:20 AM (PDT)

27

I just tried converting some videos (.mpg) and itunes was able to convert and transfer them to my ipod. It plays but theres no sound. What am i doing wrong?

Posted by John Ng on January 12, 2006 at 12:24 AM (PDT)

28

iTunes uses Quicktime to convert videos. Quicktime will convert MPEG2 (mpg, m2v, vob, etc…) video. However, Quicktime does not convert MPEG2 audio. Therefore only video will be transcoded. Sorry fellas.
Personal note. I think it’s safe to say that this is one of the, if not the worse updates to iTunes ever.

Posted by Dave on January 12, 2006 at 1:47 AM (PDT)

29

Okay im getting pissed now.  Everytime i try to put a video that isnt in mp4 format it doesnt do anything… and its like itunes freezes.. it keeps playing and everything but i cannot press any of the buttons on itunes… i have tried to open vob, mpeg videos in itunes by right clicking and going to “open with” select itunes.. ituens opens but nothing happens… whats going on?!!!

Posted by Jonathan on January 12, 2006 at 3:29 AM (PDT)

30

On the issue of spyware:

The reason why people are reacting to the MiniStore window as spyware is that it was unexpected. Furthermore, the routine does scan your music library without obvious, knowledgeable prior consent, and it plainly does indeed go back to iTMS’s own servers to gather additional music information in order to make these music recommendations it reports to your screen. And while others have claimed that 6.0.2 doesn’t report anything else back to Apple, the skeptic will shoot back: how do you really know for sure? It’s not like you can ACTUALLY monitor what iTunes is truly is sending back to Apple or iTMS.

If you’ve ever purchased anything from iTMS or downloaded the freebies, your vital information is already stored on Apple’s servers and within iTunes on your computer. When MiniStore goes back to iTMS to gather recommendations, unless you read the EULA for 6.0.2 you can’t say definitively that no other information is being sent back in your name, either by account, your computer’s unique identifiers, or by IP address. That’s why there are those who err on the side of caution and call MiniStore ‘spyware’.

Since I haven’t installed 6.0.2, I haven’t read the EULA to see what Apple disclosed beforehand. But from what I’ve read MiniStore does act like spyware in that by default it’s turned on, gathers information without an obvious informed consent by the user (unless by habit you make it your point to read the EULA carefully each time you install software and perhaps saw that 6.0.2 disclosed that it will gather data on you), and does contact Apple’s own servers to, at the very least, retrieve music recommendations based on what MusicStore found in your library, keeping in mind that in order to get those recommendations, it has to send your listening habits back to Apple so their servers can come back with choices and selections to choose from. What’s unknown is whether any of that information is actually saved on Apple’s servers in your name.

That’s why people scream spyware and adware; MusicStore automatically takes information I or you may or may not care to want anyone else to know, processes it, and comes back with what in effect are ‘ads’ for music you don’t already own. Sure you can turn it off after the fact, but it being on by default and most being unaware that it was there to begin with, the “violation” of perceived privacy has already been done.

Personally, I’ve always disliked ANY software app making purchasing recommendations to me. It’s like saying I’m too stupid to think and search for myself. Frankly, I don’t care if Apple ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT I listen to, but damn it, don’t frickin’ tell me—or even ‘suggest to me’, for those who think ‘telling’ is too harsh as judgement—WTF to listen to. I prefer using my OWN brain to make my listening choices, and will not depend upon any reliance of a piece of software to do my thinking for me. I shut down the similar feature on iTMS when it analyzed the music I’ve purchased (typically songs that are ONLY on iTMS, btw, and not available on CD or other services), what makes you think that I will tolerate it on my very own computers, eh Apple?

Given what I know now and the doubts that this has caused, 6.0.2 is SO unlikely to find it’s way on any of my computers. I wouldn’t tolerate it when slimebags like Gator does it (granted their’s is worse since they turn around and sell that data they collect to others), I’m not going to start now and cut iTunes/iTMS any break just because I own iPods, even if iTMS is only using that data for their own purposes (i.e., getting you to BUY more stuff, which BTW is the whole purpose of adware to begin with).

Ok, off my soapbox…

Posted by flatline response on January 12, 2006 at 3:42 AM (PDT)

31

I tryed to download the new itunes but its not downloadable. So whats the big deal about??

Posted by James on January 12, 2006 at 4:00 AM (PDT)

32

I found another little unmentioned “updated”.

I normally have a Smart Playlist set-up called “unrated”.  I have a 5,000+ library so I try to keep all my songs very organized, tagged, grouped, rated, etc.  So I use this playlist to pull any song that has “My Rating” “is less then” “1 Star”, which means that it’s not rated and therefore not tagged.

Well, I accidently deleted the playlist yesterday.  I updated iTunes this morning, then went to try and set-up the Smart Playlist again only to find out that I can’t set it to less the 1 Star anymore.  It automatically changes it to 2 Stars.

Bastards!

Posted by LilAlienD in Maryland on January 12, 2006 at 7:18 AM (PDT)

33

I’ve always assumed Apple knew what I was listening to. They certainly know what I’ve bought from them. Therefore, instead of the mini-store, I’d prefer that when I’m at the iTunes music store, it note in some fashion what songs I already have (or at least already bought from iTunes). For example, if you are looking at an Essentials list or some play list, there would be some indication of what songs you already own. Or, if you bought one song from an album at one point and later decided to go back and buy the whole album, it would indicate the song you already have. 
Customers should be able to elect whether or not their library information is sent to Apple for this use.

Posted by JH on January 12, 2006 at 10:28 AM (PDT)

34

ok. so let’s say the mini store is reporting back info about my library to apple. why is this a big deal? i understand if there is spyware reporting back sensitive material or private info. but. it’s my music library. i’ll gladly share that with anyone. who cares…

sure if apple was taking all my banking info off my computer i might have issues with that. but i don’t care if they know i own a lot of nina simone. it doesn’t matter.

some people are just way too paranoid.

Posted by Travis on January 12, 2006 at 12:22 PM (PDT)

35

What bug fixes have been implemented for iPod with color display?

Hopefully they fixed the thing where when you try to fast forward or rewind a song with the FF, REW buttons on the scrolling FF, REW screen, it disables the ability to use the FF, REW buttons to rewind/fast forward through one song. That got on my nerves.

Whew! What a long question!

Posted by Tim on January 12, 2006 at 12:55 PM (PDT)

36

LilAlienD, I have also noticed the same problem. It will only let me select 2, 4, or 5 stars in the smart playlist making menu.

Steve Jobs, if you are reading this, please release a new update really soon!

Posted by tom on January 12, 2006 at 1:02 PM (PDT)

37

I updated my ipod 5g too 1.1 and now pressing the menu button for a period of time no longer turns the backlight on. Am I the only one with this problem?

Posted by Nuco on January 12, 2006 at 2:25 PM (PDT)

38

tom,
I actually had to call APPLE this morning about another problem and the guy put in another claim about that little “bug” while I was waiting for something.

Hopefully they’ll figure it out soon smile Can’t be a BIG problem to fix.

As for the mini store… I REALLY don’t think it’s sending back any vital “account” information what-so-ever.  The only thing I see it doing, when I have it on (which is my choice by the way) and I actually select a song, it’ll look up the artists and give me other albums by the same artist and the same “Listeners also bought” information that I see when I look em up in the music store.  So it’s doing the same thing as surfing the store… EVEN WHEN I SIGN OUT COMPLETELY!!!!

Ya’ll are getting way to worked up about something your wrong about in the first place.  For us Music Store shoppers it’s much more of a convenient and WELCOME way to find music.

If you don’t like it… turn it off with ONE CLICK!!!!

Get a grip people.

Posted by LilAlienD in Maryland on January 12, 2006 at 2:38 PM (PDT)

39

“it is the very definition of spyware!. An application that installs without your knowledge and reports back to it’s maker. How is it not spyware?”

It didn’t install without your knowledge.  You willingly installed the iTunes update, didn’t you?  Go back a version if you don’t like it.

Posted by The Raven on January 12, 2006 at 5:24 PM (PDT)

40

i noticed the latest update put the song title in bold and larger font when you view the lyrics screen. quite nice…

Posted by flip on January 12, 2006 at 9:45 PM (PDT)

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