It may seem hard to believe for those of us who take it for granted, but there are still many parts of the world where the iTunes Store is not available. Thankfully, there are now 12 less places without it across Asia today.
Long referred to as a hobby during Apple keynotes, Apple TV has evolved into one of the star peripherals of the iOS ecosystem. And no wonder--this slim 4-inch box turns your humble HDTV into a networked entertainment powerhouse. Apple TV’s HDMI and optical audio ports connect to your home theater, and it connects to your network via 802.11n Wi-Fi or 100Base-T Ethernet. Once you’re plugged in, you can buy or rent movies at up to 1080p, or buy TV shows at the same resolution, from iTunes.
Apple is finding out the hard way that with financial success comes increased scrutiny of their business practices, and onetime friend The New York Times seems to be pulling no punches in the wake of co-founder Steve Jobs’ death in their “iEconomy” series. The newspaper has moved from reporting on Chinese factories to how Apple uses the system to cut down its own tax bill -- but no matter which side of the debate you happen to agree with, it’s a fascinating read. Some details left out of the NYT report and more in the recap for Monday, April 30, 2012 ahead!
The new Apple TV looks exactly like the previous version: same small black box. It’s got the same inputs and outputs on the back: AC power, HDMI output, micro-USB for service only, optical audio output, 10/100 Ethernet. It’s just as easy to set up: simply sign in to your Wi-Fi account and use the remote (or better yet, the free Remote app on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch) to navigate around.
I recently noticed that my iPhone 4S with iTunes Match enabled is no longer updating play count and last played when syncing with iTunes. The iPhone is not my primary iPod, but I do use it on occasion and I do have a Smart Playlist that uses play count as criteria.
Matching your music library can leave a bit of a mess in the aftermath. In iTunes, select File > Duplicates and you’ll see quite a few tracks appear again and again. In some cases it’s because you already have music ripped at higher bitrates, so, for example, if you’ve been ripping MP3s at 320Kbps iTunes Match will give you 256Kbps AAC files instead. Click View > View Options and check the Bit Rate box to see which is which.
Looking after a big iTunes library can be a problem. We started ripping our CDs in the early days of the iPod when disk space was still at a premium, and as a result a good chunk of our library consists of poor quality, low bitrate MP3s. It’s enormous, too, and fear of losing the lot means we’re constantly spending cash on ever larger hard disks. And then there’s syncing.
iTunes Match won’t look at music with low bitrates, which can include tracks ripped using a variable bit rate setting. What do you do if iTunes says a track is ineligible and you would rather not spend all day trying to find the original CD? The answer’s simple: cheat!
It may not matter much to those of us paying $24.99 per year for iTunes Match, but Apple is still quietly adding new functionality to iTunes for those continuing to sync the old-school way -- such as additional bitrates for converting higher quality songs while syncing.
Of course there's iPad 3 rumors, of course there are. You'd be a fool not to expect them. Our only surprise is that they haven't reached such feverish blistered fingers hot levels yet. Maybe it's because Tim Cook's iPhone 4S was such a lukewarm affair compared to the Steve mojo. At any rate, we've got that and a few other spicy bits for you to chew on in this week's muy caliente roundup.