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Editorial: The $1.29 solution
By David Leishman
The hits just keep on coming for Apple’s iTunes Music Store (ITMS).
In their recent annual awards features, Popular Science magazine proclaimed ITMS the ”
Best of What’s New
” and “the music industry’s first digital success story,” and Time magazine named it the ”
Invention of the Year
” and opined that “the 99¢ solution…just might save [the] free-falling [music] industry.”
Popular Science goes so far as to ask, “Seriously, is there anything Steve Jobs can’t fix?” To which I reply, “I hope not.”
Since my first Plus, I’ve always had a Mac at the center of my music studio. As a musician and a listener, I applauded when Apple was the first major computer manufacturer to put CD players in its systems, and kvetched when it lagged the industry trend to put CD burners on board.
Now I find myself applauding and kvetching at the same time.
Because as cool and handy as ITMS is, it doesn’t offer something that virtually every physical or online music store does — the opportunity to purchase CD audio-or-better quality recordings.
You remember CDs, I’m sure: the real first “digital success story” for both listeners and labels. It’s more than twenty years since they hit the marketplace, and given the nature of technological advancement, I’d have thought higher levels of audio fidelity would be commonplace rather than the exception.
And certainly not missing entirely. The ITMS only offers compressed versions of songs, which while fine, don’t quite measure up to CD sound, and certainly don’t approach the superb sonic quality of the DVD Audio or Super Audio CD (SACD) formats.
There are drawbacks to marketing the latter two formats via ITMS. The large file sizes will likely require a broadband connection, iTunes will have to be configured to serve and play both, and the “VHS -v- Betamax”-style format battle will have to be negotiated. Fortunately, broadband acceptance is at an
and still accelerating rapidly; the new Power Mac G5s already have high-quality, digital audio input and output capabilities; and Steve Jobs is just the person to convince both the format combatants that ITMS is, again, “how to win friends and make money.”
Oh, and about making money. Jobs told Time that “there’s no way to make money on these stores,” and the magazine estimates that Apple now makes only a dime per track, which adds up to “a paltry $50 million profit” annually. But if Apple sells the higher-fidelity tunes at $1.29 each, and Jobs can negotiate a deal whereby Apple can keep two-thirds of any amount more than one dollar…we’ll all enjoy an enhanced sound of music.
Mac OS X 10.3.1 improves FileVault, FireWire 800, more
Apple on Monday released Mac OS X 10.3.1, an update to its recently released “Panther” operating system. The company noted that the 1.3MB update “delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following applications, services and technologies: FileVault, Printing, WebDav, and FireWire 800 drives. This update also includes the latest Security Updates.” Apple continued to recommend that users update the firmware on their FireWire drives.
Time names iTunes Music Store ‘Invention of the Year’
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Bray: G5 ‘pretty on the inside’
Writing for The Boston Globe, Hiawatha Bray asserts that the Power Mac G5 is “ugly” but sports “spectacular performance.” While he is unimpressed with the anodized aluminum case that he compares to “an aluminum ingot,” he says the 2.0GHz dual processor top-end system will leave you wondering “what to do with all the horsepower.”
Toshiba to double 1.8-inch HDD production
Toshiba Corp. plans to double production of its PC Card-size 1.8-inch hard disk drive and is considering entering the market for 1-inch drives, it said Tuesday, citing strong demand for the small drives from makers of portable digital electronics devices. The 1-inch drives would be small enough to be encased in a CompactFlash card form factor.
DoubleSight DS-1500 fuses two 15-inch LCDs in one frame
Sonnet ships Tempo Serial ATA card
WiebeTech ships dual-drive FW 800 enclosure
Trans Intl. ships 1GB memory module for G4 iBook
MyTunes exploits iTunes Windows playlist sharing
Now that Apple is offering iTunes software and access to its music store to Windows users, the company is also going to have to contend with applications like the recently released MyTunes, which allows Windows users to circumvent the intended use of the software by downloading music from an iTunes shared playlist over a network.
BBEdit 7.1 adds SFTP support, Rendezvous, more
Microsoft offers Windows Media Player 9 for OS X
QuickBooks 6.0 gains Windows data exchange, more
Chronopath offers Restore, DomainTracker
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Around the Web
Ars Technica’s Panther review
John Siracusa’s reviews for Ars Technica of Mac OS X’s iterations are articles we look forward to from the moment we install a new version of the OS. He catalogs the high and low points of each release in great detail, wedding a programmer’s eye to a raconteur’s ease of language. His latest opus runs to more than 28,000 words, so we suggest you set aside some time to enjoy the read.
Apple TV ad banned in U.K.
What’s new in Panther
Terra Soft supports G5 with Yellow Dog Linux
Video Card history
Digital Identity World conference: Audio, slides of sessions posted