If you love live music, do yourself a favor and grab the iTunes Festival App now. In case you’re not familiar, the iTunes Festival is a concert series sponsored by Apple in London beginning in 2007. The 2012 lineup inclues acts like Usher, Band of Horses, Norah Jones, The Killers, Mumford & Sons, and many more. You can stream the concerts live or watch them after they have completed. You can view the shows in iTunes, via an iOS App, or via the iTunes Festival icon on the Apple TV. The shows are absolutely free to view!
For years, Starbucks has offered a free song from iTunes as part of their “Pick of the Week” program. A little in-store display has cards, like the above, with a promo code on the back that you redeem just like you would a iTunes gift card. Last fall, Starbucks expanded the program beyond songs to include “Apps, Books, TV, and More”. I still haven’t figured out what “More” means, but moving on.
As you can see in the picture above, the App Pick of the Week can include some killer apps. Snapseed is a very popular photo editing app that works on both iPhone and iPad. This weeks App Pick of the Week is also a great app, Instapaper. Instapaper is likely the most used app on my iPad. If you own an iPad and don’t have Instapaper, head to your local Starbucks, grab an Americano, and pick up your App Pick of the Week card for your free copy of Instapaper.
I realize this isn’t exactly new information to some, but I just wanted to point out some of the great apps that you can get for free with this program. If you already grab a coffee in the morning, it can be worth it to make your coffee run at Starbucks.
One of my biggest gripes with the iPhone is rearranging apps. It is such a hassle to drag apps in a different order or on different pages. iTunes 9 has made things far easier.
App rearrangement is a simple process. First, upgrade to iTunes 9.0 and iPhone OS 3.1. Connect your iPhone OS device to the computer and select it in iTunes. Choose the “Applications” tab and iTunes now displays your app pages as they appear on your iPhone or iPod touch. Apps can be moved around or deleted however you please. Pages can also be rearranged. Sync when you are happy with the order.
The “Applications” tab also lists apps by category and entrance into the App Store. Originally, it was sorted by name only. They will not automatically sync in this order though.
There are a few other limitations. Web apps or apps that came with your device cannot be deleted. Web apps must still be deleted on the device. Both these types of apps can still be moved around within iTunes.
Though far from perfect, being able to rearrange icons in iTunes 9 is a great feature and makes my life easier.
There was plenty announced at today’s event. Nothing was earth-shattering, but there were definitely some interesting news. Here are the highlights.
Finally we see the return of Steve Jobs, who was greeted to a standing ovation. It is great to see him back. No offense to Phil Schiller, but an Apple event isn’t complete without an appearance from Jobs.
iTunes 9 receives quite a few changes. The application overall has a cleaner and more modern appearance. The iTunes Store’s new look was designed to make content navigation easier. There is too much content on each screen though and it is hard to explore. iTunes 9 also brings app management for iPhone and iPod touch. Perhaps most importantly for families with multiple copies of iTunes, Apple has finally made it easier to share and sync your songs with something called “Home Sharing”.
One major complaint of buying music online is that it is missing things that CDs have, such as artwork and liner notes. iTunes LP changes that. LPs will have artwork, liner notes, videos, photos, and more. There is a meager selection of LPs currently, but hopefully they will gain traction.
iPhone OS 3.1 is out now and boast a few interesting features. Genius recommendations suggest apps that you may enjoy. This is a blessing since it is a chore to navigate all of the apps in the App Store. MobileMe users now can remotely lock their iPhones.
The iPod nano received the most additions of the entire iPod lineup. The nano has its own video camera in a bid to compete with Flip camcorders. The screen is bumped up to 2.2 inches. The nano’s also have a new polished anodized aluminum finish. Surprisingly, Apple has finally added a built-in FM tuner which can also pause live radio. There is also a pedometer. The price remains the same for the 8 GB model ($149), but is reduced for the 16 GB version ($179).
The other iPod models had very few changes. The classic is 160 GB (so long 120 GB) and is $249. The iPod touch drops the 16 GB but adds 64 GB ($399). 8 ($199) and 32 GB ($299) models are still available. The iPod shuffle now has a 2 GB version for $59, 4 GB for $79, and limited edition stainless 4 GB model for $99. All iPods are shipping from Apple’s online store and will be available in retail soon.
Many rumored announcements did not come to fruition, including an all-you-can-eat subscription plan, DVD ripping, Blu-ray support, the mythical iTablet, and The Beatles finally coming to iTunes (which seems like it will never happen).
We will have more in-depth coverage of these announcements in future articles, so stay tuned.
Apple is set to rollout Top 100 lists for each category in the App Store, according to the developer of the iPhone App Save Benjis (iTunes link). There are separate lists for the Top 100 paid and free applications. You can see a screen shot of the lists in action above. The screen shot is of the Top 100 free apps in the utilities category (iTunes link).
This is a welcomed addition to the App Store. There has been a lot of chatter lately about App Store pricing. While this is great, I’m still waiting for app demos! I think the ability to demo apps are holding back sales. The lack of app demos has been the main reason I’ve only bought one application from the App Store.
I’ve had the opportunity over the past day to test out a pretty cool new Mac application. TuneUp is a iTunes companion application that can “clean” up your music collection. It can find lost cover art and all the information within the ID3 tags (album, track info, etc). To get a sense of what TuenUp can do and how it works, watch the short video below.
Video no longer available online.
I’ve played around with the application and it’s something that I could definitely see myself using. I was able to easily update the ID3 information and cover art on a number of my tracks. What I like about the application is that once you’ve cleaned your tracks, the application is still useful. “The Now Playing” and “Concerts” tabs along the top provide valuable information about the contents of your iTunes library.
The “Now Playing” tabs take the currently playing track and shows matching YouTube videos, upcoming shows, Amazon album recommendations, recent news via Google, and eBay auctions. Playing a Black Keys song showed news headlines, including information about the lead singers upcoming solo album; cool!
The “Concerts” tab shows concert matches from artists within your iTunes library. There are links to purchase tickets right from the application. When you sign into the application, you input your city/state/country so it knows what concert venues to list in the Concerts tab.
While the application is certainly useful, it just doesn’t quite feel like a “true” Mac application. When you open the application, it “sticks” to the right side of iTunes. You can’t move it away from iTunes. When you reopen iTunes, TuneUp also starts up. I’ve tried to close TuneUp first and then iTunes, but TuneUp still starts up when reopening iTunes. In fact, I haven’t yet found a way to open iTunes without TuneUp opening too. TuneUp also shifts upwards when I move iTunes from my MBP monitor to my external monitor. This is likely a side affect of the “sticking” feature. I also had a beachball when accessing some of the menus but this has been reported as a known issue and should be fixed by the release date. I hope some of the other issues are fixed too.
TuneUp has been available for Windows since earlier this year. The Mac release is scheduled for release sometime today. You need Leopard and an Intel Mac to run TuneUp. Tiger support is scheduled to be added “shortly after launch”. TuneUp is free, with TuneUp Gold costing $11.95 a year or a one time fee of $19.95.
Update 12/11/08: A contact for the TuneUp folks notifed me that you can set the TuneUp start up preference. Do a Ctrl click on the TuneUp interface and choose Preferences. It looks like they are also going to make the preference pane more visible too (hopefully as a menu bar option). Glad to see the company behind TuneUp is listening to feedback!
If your into Singer-Songwriter type music, you might like the free Sheryl Crow video iTunes is offering. The video for Out Of Our Heads (iTunes link) is currently available for free. I’m not sure how much longer it’s going to be free, so get it while you can. I’ve been a big Sheryl Crow fan for over 10 years so it’s nice to see such a popular artists giving away some content. Enjoy!