iPod supports WMA, but locked by Apple | iLounge News


iPod supports WMA, but locked by Apple

“Chip manufacture Portal Player in San Diego US build the embedded PB5502B-C chip in Apple’s iPod. This is the chip that allows the playing of AAC and MP3 - However what is interesting is that the chip firmware by default also allows the playing of WMA. It looks like for some reason this is locked by Apple.”

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Or perhaps cracking WMA players to play AAC files?

Posted by Joe Mama on February 20, 2004 at 8:45 AM (CST)


The story isn’t how the iPod can’t play WMA, but about how other players can’t play AAC.

Posted by Dan on February 20, 2004 at 8:58 AM (CST)


Considering the DRM that Apple uses for their AAC files is unique to Apple, they would need to allow other companies to use it in their players.  They obviously aren’t doing that.  WMA is not that way.  This is the same gamble that Apple took with the Mac that backfired on them and left them with their <5% market share of the PC market.  It will be interesting to see how this pans out in the next few years.

Posted by wickerbill on February 20, 2004 at 9:07 AM (CST)


Only an IDIOT would fail to realize that supporting WMA would be supporting MS’s control of the audio format. MS control of ANYTHING is a BAD thing. If you want WMA. Stop being an idiot and stop buying iPods. It’s as simple as that.

iTunes is only there for one thing. To sell iPods. iPods are only there to let people see how cool Apple products are and Hopefully sell more Apple computers. It may not be working ... yet. But all iPods have to do is make a profit. And if only ONE more person buys a Mac than the iPods have started to do what they were intended to do.

It is not the destination. It is the journey.

Posted by Sabon on February 20, 2004 at 9:17 AM (CST)


hey Sabon, are you holed up in waco, perchance?

Posted by dave on February 20, 2004 at 9:18 AM (CST)


Aside from trying to co-push iTMS and iPod, there are still good reasons for not implementing WMA… not the least of which is avoiding the licensing fees that MS charges to those who do.  :-D

Posted by azdude_15gb on February 20, 2004 at 9:28 AM (CST)


Various posters on iPodlounge have been saying this for months now - I remember reading an analysis of PortalPlayer and WMA availability like six months ago. This is old news.

Posted by old news on February 20, 2004 at 9:29 AM (CST)


WMA audio support on the iPod, I think, would boost the sales.  There are some of us that when we got our new computers running windows xp utilized windows media player to copy all of our CD’s to our hard drive.  I re-ripped evrything to AAC but there is still a lot of people that have the wma fromat and don’t even know it.  Then when they purchase an mp3 player it either won’t play them or play them messed up.  I think WMA on the iPod would be a good move.

Posted by somebodeysomeone on February 20, 2004 at 9:35 AM (CST)


Sabon, take it easy, man.

I don’t understand why people would have so much allegiance to Apple, or any corporation, that they would like to see their hardware hamstrung by ‘locking’ out formats.

I use an iPod because I think it’s the best of what’s out there, but it would be nicer if it allowed me the freedom to play any format I want.

Currently it’s only the consumer who’s losing the battle.  We’re paying big money to Apple and some are supporting Apple’s agenda as if it’s of benefit to us.

Sabon, do you have any other reasons why supporting WMA would be a bad move for Apple?  Most here agree that the iPod is the best player.  Most here agree that ITMS is the best store.  What is Apple really up to?

Posted by BigSid in Los Angeles on February 20, 2004 at 9:59 AM (CST)


somebodeysomeone, it’s called being clueless. people need to do a little more research and stop not takign responsibility for their ignorance.

And why the hell is everyone beating up on Sabon? It’s a great point that supporting WMA would trigger license payments which would make the iPod even more expensive. Personally, I don’t really care if I can’t buy from Napster, BuyMusic or anyone else. It’d be the equivalent of riding the Titanic. Why support a sinking ship. As others have said, do you trust Dolby or M$ for sound?

Posted by Chomper on February 20, 2004 at 10:28 AM (CST)


Chomper, I trust choice.  And talking about sinking ships, every time Apple’s played the proprietary card in the past its been them that’s become the sinking ship.

Apple had everything to lose by locking itself out of a format that regardless how much you might hate microsoft is a pervasive and highly compatible format.  WMA is the defacto when it comes audio formats that support DRM and better compression than MP3, AAC is super niche.

Posted by Jason on February 20, 2004 at 10:54 AM (CST)


“there are still good reasons for not implementing WMA… not the least of which is avoiding the licensing fees that MS charges to those who do. :-D”

I like the iPod and all, but I’m sure myself and many others would appreciate it if you did not resort to outright lies to support your fanboy stance.

MP4/AAC not only has it’s own they cost substantially more in comparison to WMA.

Posted by DANG on February 20, 2004 at 10:58 AM (CST)


that should’ve read,

MP4/AAC not only has it’s own licensing fees, but they cost substantially more in comparison to WMA.

Posted by dang on February 20, 2004 at 11:01 AM (CST)


Ogg - no license fee, superior sound over WMA and AAC.

Posted by Ogg on February 20, 2004 at 11:34 AM (CST)


Both formats are lossy, so I will not start buying them instead of CDs. So argue all you want but neither is what will be the defacto standard in the end.

Posted by Biff on February 20, 2004 at 3:46 PM (CST)


“Both formats are lossy, so I will not start buying them instead of CDs”
My reason exactly why I continue to buy cds. I want to purchase music thats sounds just as good as a cd when playing in my car. No I am not an Audiophil.

Also I think the record lebels is loving that Apple have the lead in music sales with AAC because they are affraid of Microsoft and the power and affect they may have. I am sure they are watching the way this turns out just like all of us. iPod is a runaway success, I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon so why should they support WMA.

Posted by SOCAM on February 20, 2004 at 9:54 PM (CST)



“Ogg - no license fee, superior sound over WMA and AAC.”

Pls try saying that on HidrogenAudio.org (best place for discussion on audio codec), To my experiance, AAC is BY FAR superior to Ogg Vorbis.

Posted by :p on February 21, 2004 at 12:36 PM (CST)


Typo, hydrogenaudio.org

Posted by :p on February 21, 2004 at 12:37 PM (CST)


Ogg vs AAC vs Others - Listening Tests






From the results of these tests, Vorbis and AAC are most often tied in the upper quartile of preference test results.

THerefore it seems there is little to decide between Vorbis and AAC on quality.

The only differentiator then is cost.

AAC costs licensing money.

Vorbis does not.

I therefore predict that in 10 years the market will have decided on Vorbis as the successor to MP3. AAC will remain, just like today, as a minority codec, just as today other older codecs such as ATRAC maintain a market presence.

Posted by Hydrogen Jukebox on February 21, 2004 at 2:44 PM (CST)


All apple has done is future-proof the iPod a bit.  If AAC fails, and iTMS folds, release a firmware update, and bam- instant WMA compatibility.

Posted by Taco John on February 22, 2004 at 11:00 AM (CST)

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