This is the 1000th post to Capn Design. That's a crapload of posts. In honor of this I will do something, but I'm not sure what yet. In the meantime, I'm going to talk about Apple's announcements.
For the unaware, today Apple announced new iPods, iTunes 4 and the new Apple Music Service, which is built into iTunes. Before I make any observations, I would like to say two things. First, I am impressed. B, There is a chance I lost my iPod this weekend and that is horrible/interesting.
The new iPods - They are at the same prices as before but they are up to 10, 15 and 30 gigs with new enclosures and a docking station. Also, the Windows iPods now support USB2. Thirty gigs is a lot of room and it is very tempting. The buttons are now backlit, but I don't think that matters as it is easy to remember the location of 4 buttons. The screen is new, but no biggie. What's nice, is they are incredibly skinny which is great. Size and speed are two of my major buying factors. So I give these a thumbs up.
iTunes 4 - They turned aliasing off? All of the text looks really weird. This was the most noticeable thing, by far. After that, I realized that they added AAC encoding and converting (from MP3 or whatever else is supported by iTunes). I converted an MP3 and it took as long, if not longer, than it would take to rip it. So, I guess I may be ripping all of my albums again at some point. Good thing I stopped when I heard the rumors. One annoying thing is that when I search and I'm using the browser it doesn't narrow down the albums as I'm searching. Also, they've added the ability to have album art for your music. Unfortunately, you have to find all of the album art yourself. Boo. Finally, the look of the program is much flatter. There is little depth to the buttons and there is something of a cel-shaded feel (a la The Wind Waker). It looks a little weird but nothing I can't get over. Aside from the music service, which I'll talk about now, iTunes 4 seems to be a bit of a dud. Big features yes, but they skimped out on the little stuff. Very anti-Apple.
Apple Music Store - Alright, here we go. 200,000 songs at 99 cents a song. All of the songs are encoded at 128 kbps in AAC format. It is not my perfect set up, but it is an amazing start. You can buy a song with one click and an album only costs $9.99. There are a lot of albums I would buy at that price that I wouldn't even consider at $16-19. The navigation and searching seems good enough, but their servers have been hit hard to day so it's difficult to be sure. I'll try to buy some stuff tomorrow to check things out for real. My only real complaint is that lack of independent music. I want to be able to get my Les Savy Fav albums from this service. See, these are the things I can't find in the store and the convenience of this music service provides the perfect opportunity. Hopefully they'll open things up to indie labels soon.
To restate what I told you from the get go, I think this was a great day for Apple. They are once again leading the field and I am excited about everything that's happening. I'm also excited that I can actually start ripping my entire music collection now.
Note: I have spent a bunch more time with the Apple Music Store and I have noticed some inconsistencies and a number of confusing pricing schemes. I'll post more late tonight.