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Old 09-09-2009, 05:30 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Apple Updates iTunes to Version 9, Introduces iTunes LP

From our front-page news:
As expected, Apple today released a deluge of new products, from an iPod nano featuring a camera, to a $59 iPod shuffle to the revised touch line-up (which for a given density costs $10 more than the Zune HD, rather than $100 more). Of all the press releases we received, though, the one to really catch my eye was regarding a new iTunes release. Not a minor version update, but a major one... iTunes 9.

Recall the post we made last month which discussed the recording industry's upcoming format that would essentially bundle many extras into a simple package? We also touched on the fact that Apple was working on such a thing as well, and believe it or not, it's here. It's called the iTunes LP, and it does a lot of what we expected it to.

Picture a DVD movie. There are few that don't include a variety of special features, and for the most part, the idea has been carried over to iTunes LP. Picture purchasing an album, and then having access to an interactive menu that avails special artwork, miscellaneous videos, liner notes and so forth. That's just what iTunes LP is, and I have to say, the implementation doesn't look too bad at all.

Like the rest of iTunes' catalogue, iTunes LP albums will be priced based on various factors - some will be a lot less expensive than others. Currently, most of the LP's available are being sold for between $13.99 - $19.99, and I assume the amount of extras that come included are factored into the pricing. These LPs can only be viewed through iTunes - not on an iPod. Also, I'm not sure whether or not these LPs act as an archive, or whether the individual songs can be handled separately. If any of the launch LPs interested me, I'd take a chance, but I'll pass for now.

iTunes LP is just one of the few updates made to iTunes, but it's one of the most notable. I do have to say, though, that iTunes 9 as a whole is awesome. This is coming from someone who has hated iTunes in general up to this point (despite having purchased a fair amount of music via the service). The new version looks a lot better (and cleaner), seems to react much more quickly to basically everything, and is overall just more of a pleasure to use.

I have to ask though... why did Apple have to go remove the Shopping Cart?! Was I the only one to actually use it? With that, allow me to thank Apple for wiping out the group of songs that were sitting in there. As if I'll remember what I had in there!


The visual experience of the record album returns with iTunes LP. Download select albums and experience a beautifully designed, interactive world right in your iTunes library on a Mac or PC many are created by the artists. While you listen to your favorite songs, you can dive into animated lyrics and liner notes, watch performance videos, view artist and band photos, and enjoy other bonus materials. And become an even bigger fan.


Source: iTunes "What's New"
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Old 09-09-2009, 08:28 PM   #2
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One thing that some were speculating on didn't happen - lossless! People in the know have stated that Apple was going to re-introduce their 'apple lossless' compression at some point, but I guess we will have to wait a wee bit longer.

Like you, I thought that the new iTunes 9 was the really big feature of today's Apple presentation, apart from the fact that Steve is back and seemingly in very good health, though still a little on the skinny side.
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Old 09-10-2009, 12:30 AM   #3
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For the sake of bandwidth, I can't see lossless downloads happening for a while from Apple. It's something I really, really want to see, but it just doesn't seem likely. If they do offer lossless, I say they should add just $1 to the price. That way, the people who download it are the people who actually want the higher quality. That $1 easily covers the cost of the extra bandwidth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacMan
Like you, I thought that the new iTunes 9 was the really big feature of today's Apple presentation, apart from the fact that Steve is back and seemingly in very good health, though still a little on the skinny side.
I agree... he looked good, but definitely skinny. He needs to start eating. Apples perhaps.

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Old 09-10-2009, 09:41 AM   #4
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Actually, Apple is in the process of building several new data centers. People have been scratching their heads as to the reason why Apple needs these new and extremely large centers, ones that dwarf it's existing ones and most others as well? For example, the first will be built in North Carolina at a cost of over one BILLION dollars! Why does Apple need so much processing power, why build data centers that dwarf even Google's server farms? The answer could be that Apple is indeed planning a 'lossless' feature, as well as HD movie content, etc. That first data center will be over half-a-million square feet - five times the local Home Depot, and more than three times the local new Costco,. Not even Microsoft or Google have anything near that big! And remember: it's just the first of what could be up to 4 to 7 new Apple data centers!
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Old 09-18-2009, 01:07 AM   #5
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To add two things...

The shopping cart hasn't been removed, per se. Rather, it's been moved to the "Wish List". The songs I had added to the shopping cart in the old iTunes were there. Also, Apple made it not-so-obvious to find different categories, and it took me like 10 minutes to figure it out. If you click and hold the "Music" tab up top, it will reveal the genres.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Williams View Post
To add two things...

The shopping cart hasn't been removed, per se. Rather, it's been moved to the "Wish List". The songs I had added to the shopping cart in the old iTunes were there. Also, Apple made it not-so-obvious to find different categories, and it took me like 10 minutes to figure it out. If you click and hold the "Music" tab up top, it will reveal the genres.
So all in all a big thumbs up for ITunes?

I have not liked ITunes in the past, but since I don't own any apple products, haven't had any use for it. I was thinking of getting an Iphone but the ITunes was a big reason (along with the absurd AT&T contract) that I didn't. Maybe I should give ITunes another shot, thanks for the review Rob.
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Old 09-23-2009, 10:18 PM   #7
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Macman. I found some more information on the Data center from zdnet:
http://www.zdnetasia.com/techguide/t...2057633,00.htm

Quote:
Here's what we know so far:

* Location: Town of Maiden in western North Carolina, 40 miles northwest of Charlotte
* Size: 500,000 square feet on roughly 200 acres of land
* Purpose: Will serve ostensibly as Apple's east coast IT hub, with its west coast hub in Newark, CA (109,000 square feet)
* Timing: Expected to break ground with bulldozers in mid-August
* Cost: US$1 billion over 10 years
* Staff: 50 full-time employees
* Bandwidth: Dual fiber lines
* Cost of electricity: 4-5 cents per kilowatt hour from Duke Energy (vs. 7-12 cents per kilowatt hour in California)
* Alternate location: Virginia lost the bidding war with North Carolina over tax breaks and electricity costs
The author also has some guesses as to what the data center would be used for:

Quote:

1. Video library expansion: Apple has already started renting and selling movies and TV shows on-demand via iTunes. The online rental business is set to explode over the next five years, so Apple probably sees a ton of opportunity here. However, video is a resource hog in storage and CPU cycles so a significant upgrade in capacity would make sense if Apple is moving in this direction.
2. Online document storage: With iDisk and MobileMe, Apple has already dabbled in online storage for end users. Google is expected to blow this open any day now (and has been for years), but Apple may see an opportunity to provide Macs, iPods, and iPhones with some basic online storage capability (with the option to purchase more) to greatly simplify storage, transfers, and backups for users. This could also come into play with the long-rumored Apple tablet, which would likely have minimal local storage and might need a cloud storage option for archiving a library of songs, videos, or files.
3. Web-based software suites: Most of the Web-based applications currently available are still very rudimentary. However, there are signs that more powerful apps are coming. Adobe's online version of Photoshop is slick. The forthcoming Web version of Microsoft Office is very powerful. With advanced Javascript and AJAX, the tools are now there for more sophisticated cloud-based apps. For Apple, that could mean that it's time to take its iLife and iWork suites and turn them into Web-based applications that expand even beyond the Mac, and even beyond the PC, to smartphones.
4. Digital library build-out: One of the possibilities for Apple's rumored tablet device is that it's meant to primarily be a reading device. That means not only reading Web sites and blogs, but magazines and books as well. If that's the case, Apple may be preparing for a massive a build-out of a digital content library that it would peddle through iTunes. In some ways, this has already started with the books and magazines now being sold through the iPhone App Store thanks to new capabilities in the iPhone 3.0 software.

Last edited by gibbersome; 09-23-2009 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 09-24-2009, 05:37 AM   #8
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Just updated to 9.0 iTunes and iPod touch to 3.1, I got the 32 gig before the new 64 gig came out, I was wondering why, still have 29 gig free space on this one.
Now I can see why, with video content, they came out with a 64 gig unit
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Old 09-24-2009, 06:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin View Post
Just updated to 9.0 iTunes and iPod touch to 3.1, I got the 32 gig before the new 64 gig came out, I was wondering why, still have 29 gig free space on this one.
Now I can see why, with video content, they came out with a 64 gig unit
Even the 32 Gig one is enough for me in terms of video content.

Then again Archos has had 160 GB+ media players on the market for quite some time.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:49 AM   #10
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Apple's new data centers could be used for lossless audio, but it seems a little unlikely. Lossless, on average, will take about 4x as much space as what Apple is offering now, so the cost of investment in storage alone would be high. If Apple did take the lossless route, they'd have to likely ignore the vast majority of albums on the store, and just go lossless for albums that have sold enough copies to make the upgrade worthwhile.

If they did ever offer lossless, it'd be great if they'd allow people to upgrade their copies for a $1 or $2.
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:10 PM   #11
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thanks for the link, gibbersome
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