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'Genius' iTunes 8 Brings HD As iPhone Lays Low

Gordon Kelly


'Genius' iTunes 8 Brings HD As iPhone Lays Low

For an event called 'Let's Rock!' the iPod announcements were more Let's Lullaby so did iTunes or the iPhone get any better treatment? Not really...

iTunes 8 - a seemingly major release - does carry one distinct feature: it finally offers High Definition downloadable content. Naturally this applies primarily to the US and UK or in fact global significance has yet to be established but for the Yanks HD versions of shows will cost an extra $1 over their SD counterparts. And yes, HD movies were off the list, for now. What type of HD? It wasn't expanded upon but 720p seems the obvious choice.

The other major new feature of iTunes 8 is 'Genius' - essentially Pandora - it uses algorithms to work out and suggest music you may like based on the content of your iTunes music library and also the songs/albums/artists you play most. Conveniently its results all link to artists available through the iTunes store with the option to buy. Jobs also admitted library information will be sent to Apple for Genius to work with but it will be anonymous. Privacy and conspiracy theorists on your marks, get set... go!

Lastly, an additional viewing mode - the 'Visual Browsing Interface' (above) - is being integrated into iTunes 8 which lays out album and video covers as well as podcasts, apps and audiobooks if so chosen. It's basically tiled Coverflow. Oh and for an American Audience, NBC is back. That must be nice for you.

As for the iPhone, Jobs confirmed firmware 2.1 will hit it this Friday and only skated over the main points: bugs fixes, less dropped calls, better battery life and improved sync times. No specifics were mentioned. Obviously copy and paste was ignored, ditto push notifications (that must be causing Apple so much trouble), ditto turn-by-turn spoken GPS instructions, ditto MMS and ditto video recording. Anyone given up on some of these yet?

Will these improvements apply to the original iPhone as well? As became typical for the event: it wasn't discussed.

Jobs did then fill in with chat of accessories (apparently we'll at last be getting some decent Apple earphones, but we'll believe it when we hear it) and signed off with the once-interesting-now-endlessly-self-repeating Jack Johnson and he couldn't help but reference John Mayer.

So two Apple stories and that's your lot. No need for a bloggish, self indulgent 10/12 articles here because, quite frankly, not much happened...


iTunes 8

iPhone 3G


September 10, 2008, 12:36 am

this was announced yesturday for zune just saying ya know-

this was my comment on engadget only applies if the zune finally gets a gobal release.

I am not usually negative about either side however as a person who loves zune as a PMP and the iphone as a phone I believe the zune will grow in a few years due to the the intergration possibilities with the xbox 360 having real potential and within a few years that will be realised. The ipod has been reduced to a fashion item (not the iphone), for windows users. Yes the nano is thin but for what it is its pricy, so's a flash zune compared to say a sansa or a zen. The ipod has had a great time being the world's favorite music player however I think the time has come for the range to step aside and for apple to focus on the iphone, and touch in the entertainment department, whilst opening up itunes to all other players as lets face its a supurb system, apart from the music quality. The other major players such as creative, sansa etc will always be their to cater for people with distinct requirements. Zune on the other hand ticks the majority of the requirement boxes bar file support. The software as well as the players are sound with nice UI and fm radio. The zune will flourish in the coming years as a player with unparalleled support for windows live services and xbox ??? intergration. This can only happen however if Microsoft realize the idea of a (essentially) single marketplace and xbox and live intergration. Imagine this chatting with friends on msn, listening to high quality music or finding new music on the radio. Watching TV shows synced from your xbox and seamlessly checking your hotmail on the go and downloading music on the fly. Of course this will take time and can only happen if microsoft realize their potential. The ipod is dead long live the zune and not forgetting the worlds best phone the iphone.


September 10, 2008, 12:41 am

... do you wish to remove itunes?


September 10, 2008, 12:59 am

... yes, i'm a bit bummed out - no apple lossless codec tracks for sale on itunes >.>


September 10, 2008, 2:13 am

Just from my initial observations, the Genius function seems like a great additional to iTunes. I've already added a couple of songs to my shopping cart due to Genius recommendations, so I can see Apple selling a lot more songs because of this feature (which I'm sure is why they incorporated it in 8).

I can also see me using the Genius playlist function a lot. At this minute, I'm listening to a custom Genius playlist based on one of my favourite 80's songs and it's working well.


September 10, 2008, 4:47 am

Am i the only one who's really anticipating the public reaction to when SJ finally says "and this firmware update adds the amazing feature of copy and paste".

Will it be all laughter? Will it be all jeers? I'm not quite sure.


September 10, 2008, 2:25 pm

Andrew - We could all imagine how wonderful it would be to do all that with a Zune..

..Or we could just do it now, with an iPod touch?

True, you'd have to skip the radio, and replace an xbox with iTunes, but still..

Overall though, disappointing announcements. I'm sure people would have been a lot happier if it wasn't for the leaks.

Hamish Campbell

September 10, 2008, 4:21 pm

They still make the zune?

I've seen the grand total of one in my lifetime. I don't expect to see many more.


September 12, 2008, 12:47 am

Apple is certainly making very very safe steps. At least it doesnt want to upset its existing fans. Ipod is way way way expensive, so are all other apple products - typically iphone 1G.

would be interesting to know how 'copy paste' works in iphone. drop down menu? auto-copy? shall we have video recording first?

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