iTunes 1.1

MP3 and More

iTunes mimics many of the best features of SoundJam MP Plus, letting you import songs from audio CDs, turn audio tracks into MP3 files, organize your audio files into playlists, play Internet radio broadcasts on your Mac, and transfer MP3 files between your Mac and stand-alone MP3 players. Like SoundJam MP Plus, iTunes supports variable bit-rate recording for better sound and lets you encode MP3 files at a wide range of bit rates (between 8 and 320 Kbps).

These capabilities alone earn the program our high regard. But we are also impressed by iTunes' integration with Apple's Disc Burner, a utility that lets you create CDs on supported CD-RW burners directly from within iTunes. In addition to allowing you to create CDs on the latest Power Mac G4 and iMac models, iTunes 1.1 supports CD writing on 25 third-party CD-RW drives.

Not Quite SoundJam

Alas, iTunes is also missing some of SoundJam MP Plus's finer features. iTunes has a single, brushed-metal skin; SoundJam MP includes several skins and lets you add more. iTunes' window features swirling patterns that react to a song's dynamic changes, but unlike SoundJam MP, the program includes no additional visual plug-ins. If you want to import audio from a source other than the Mac's CD drive-from an LP or cassette, via the Mac's audio-in port, for example-you'll be disappointed by the lack of anything resembling SoundJam MP's Record From Sound Input command. And unlike SoundJam MP, iTunes won't let you broadcast your audio files to the rest of the world via the Internet. Finally, some extensions installed by iTunes may keep third-party CD-burning applications from functioning properly.

Tune In to iTunes: Besides encoding and playing MP3 files, iTunes lets you listen to Internet radio broadcasts.

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