Jobs: iTunes is new, free jukebox software

Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced iTunes, music jukebox software that is "how it ought to work," during his keynote at Macworld San Francisco today. He said that iTunes is Apple's second product (following iMovie) designed for the "Age of the Digital Lifestyle."

"iMovie adds tremendous value to the camcorder by letting you convert raw footage into an incredibly emotional piece of communication," he said. "Apple's uniquely suited for a product and experience like this because we're the last company in the industry with all of the necessary components under one roof. After iMovie, we decided our next focus should be on audio. There's a music revolution happening with digital music on computers."

Jobs said that people want to rip (read and write) audio CDs onto computer disks, create playlists of favorite songs, play digital music in the background while working, and burn playlists onto custom audio CDs to play on traditional CD player. Plus, users may want to transfer songs to portable MP3 players and listen to Internet radio stations.

Jobs said that the current solutions are too complex to learn and use. Plus, they offer some or all of the following restrictions: an MP3 encoding limit, a limit to encoding quality, a "throttling" of encoding speed, and a throttling of CD burning speed to 2x.

"We're taking all those restrictions away with iTunes," he said. "We're late to the party, but we're getting ready to leapfrog others. iTunes is clean, simple, and far more powerful than anything else out there."

iTunes lets Mac users import songs from their favorite CDs; compress them into the popular MP3 format and store them on their computer's hard drive; organize their music using powerful searching, browsing and playlist features; watch stunning visualizations on their computer screen; and burn their own audio CDs -- all in one integrated application. Exclusively for Mac users, iTunes is available as a free download from Apple.

"Apple has done what Apple does best -- make complex applications easy, and make them even more powerful in the process," Jobs said. "iTunes is miles ahead of every other jukebox application, and we hope its dramatically simpler user interface will bring even more people into the digital music revolution."

The free app lets you:

  • Import an unlimited number of audio tracks and encode them into the MP3 format;
  • Accelerate the encoding process when working on a G4 with Velocity Engine;
  • Organize a music collection using tools such as a real-time search engine and single-click browsing by artist, album or genre;
  • Listen to MP3s, audio CDs or hundreds of Internet radio stations;
  • Watch a visual representation of the music being played, which is synched to the beat of the music;
  • Create custom music CDs with the G4's new CD-RW and a combination CD-RW/DVD-R SuperDrive that reads and writes both CDs and DVDs in a one-step process with no extra CD-burning software required;
  • Download songs to MP3 players with no extra software or complicated driver installations required.
  • iTunes is immediately available right now for use with Macs introduced since August 1998. Users can burn their own CDs using the Power Mac G4's new CD-RW or combination CD-RW/DVD-R SuperDrive. Mac OS 9.0.4 or Mac OS 9.1 is required for running iTunes, though there will be an OS X version.

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