Innocent Bystander

A little tech, a little current affairs, and my view on whatever has my attention at the moment...

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

New iTunes

You've probably heard already, but a new version of Apple's iTunes was released today along with some changes to the iPod product line.

The Fourth Generation (4G) iPods released about a year ago are just about gone. The only exception to that is the Special Edition U2 iPod. The iPod Photo is gone as well... Kinda.

Apple choose to drop the word photo from the name yet keep the color screen. So now your iPod choices are a 20GB with a color screen for $299, or a 60GB for $399 which is I believe $100 less than the 60GB iPod Photo's were selling for. Or you can get the 20GB U2 Special Edition with it's monochrome screen for $329. Now I know that sounds like a crappy deal, but if you buy the U2 iPod you also get a $50 coupon towards the $150 U2 box set that includes EVERYTHING recorded by U2 including some tracks never before released. If you're a U2 fan that should take the sting off of that price a little bit.

Now don't go running to the Apple Store just yet. If you're a college student, make sure you check out the deals their running for students. Free iPod MINI with the purchase of select notebooks, or $179 mail in rebate if you buy a notebook and select a different flavor of iPod... Apple also has a Federal Employee store for Federal Employees to make purchases for themselves, check the pricing their before buying if you qualify for either of these....

As for the new iTunes, I'm actually surprised by the amount of press that this is getting. Ok, I'm actually just surprised that's it's gotten ANY press. I first heard about this on the radio and since then have caught a few reports online about it as well.

The big change to iTunes is that it now supports podcasting through the iTunes Music Store. Since you're reading this blog I'm guessing you might have heard of podcasting, but it's possible that your not familar with podcasting, or you may not have checked it out.

Many media pundits are saying that podcasting could shake up broadcast media the way that blogging is shaking up publishing. Essentially a podcast is an audio blog, the author records his podcast in MP3 format and publishes it similar to the way a blog is published online. Prior to iTunes supporting podcasts, you needed to download a special program like iPodder to subscribe to a podcast and download it. iPodder will also link to your audio program so that you could play download podcasts to your computer or dump them to your MP3 player to listen to at a later date.

The biggest issue I had was finding podcasts that looked remotely interesting. Until now I had only subscribed to one podcast, but instead of some indie programing it's something more mainstream, NPR's "On The Media."

The biggest improvement that iTunes seems to bring to the table is better organization and presentation of all the podcasts that are out there. No disrespect to Adam Curry (who came up with iPodder and quite possibly podcasting for all I know), but trying to track down podcasts that look interesting and don't suck is a royal pain through While I really don't like navigating my music library in iTunes, I do like using iTunes to check out podcasts. Especially since I can listen to a podcast and see if A) It's ever been updated and B) Doesn't suck without subscribing to the podcast, something that you can't do with ipodder.

I found two so far that I'm checking out right now, one from Disney appears to suck and one from CNET that seems to be ok...


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