iTunes Streaming Bitrate

It appears that over wifi iTunes Radio is streamed at 256k AAC, but over cellular networks it drops to 96k.

Some of the posts here lament that, but I’ve been hoping that’s how it’s been all along. iTunes was supposedly going to have some kind of adaptive streaming for these very situations. I don’t want to unwillingly eat up my data plan because of iTunes Radio.

Even at 96k iTunes Radio should sound better than satellite radio.

The Majority Doesn’t Want or Need Upgrade Pricing

Marco Arment on when iOS developers should charge for apps and how he’s struggling with that for his upcoming Podcast software:

This is the real reason why Apple doesn’t care about upgrade pricing: there’s no demand from customers. The market has shown that free apps will be downloaded at least an order of magnitude more than paid-up-front apps, and smart use of in-app purchase in a free app is likely to make more money. Over time, this trend has only become stronger and more clear.

“Apple’s iCloud is no safe haven for some iTunes purchases”

Even if you have iTunes Match, make sure you download purchased tracks. Access is based upon licenses and other deals you have no control over. This is definitely a problem with the streaming services, but with iTunes you can at least have a local copy of your stuff.

“New lease on life or death sentence? iOS 7 on the iPhone 4”

I’m afraid of my dad upgrading his iPhone 4 to iOS7 and then complaining that it’s too slow, and then having to explain that there’s no going back. This is just how it is now.

Ars attributes some of that slowness to animations that are too long, but slow is slow no matter if it’s because of hardware or software.

Inside a (fake) iPhone charger

This is a technical look of iPhone cheapo iPhone charges that explode.

At $20 a charger1 it’s not difficult to see why cheap USB chargers exist, and I do wonder if USB chargers like the ones I’ve written about are safe.

  1. A 5W USB power adapter from Apple is $19.99. Doesn’t include a cable. 

iPhone 5 Button Issues

Khoi Vinh:

Thankfully, my iPhone 5’s home button has been working without a hitch, but sadly the same can’t be said of its power button. That piece recently started losing responsiveness, just like the iPhone 4’s home button used to, often requiring two or three hard presses to turn the unit on or off. For me, just one person, that’s frustrating. But from anecdotal evidence, lots of folks with iPhone 5s of similar vintage have been experiencing the same troubles, which leads me to believe this is a common hardware defect.

Both of these things have happened to me: an unresponsive iPhone 4 home button and, now, a finicky iPhone 5 power button.

If I press the button more on the left it works. If I press it dead center it doesn’t work. If I press it on the right it doesn’t work.

Oftentimes I’m buying new hardware thinking that they probably resolved that other issue. But lately it’s been like whack-a-mole. If I lived near an Apple Store I’d just take it in, but it hasn’t been a big enough deal for me to be without a phone for a 4-5 days.


(Also, this is my THIRD iPhone 5 replaced under warranty. I bought Applecare this time around.)

Reading List Migration

Chris Bowler is moving from Instapaper to Safari’s Reading List.

I thought the writing was on the wall for Instapaper…and maybe it is. Reading List is becoming everything that Instapaper is, minus any favoriting and other social features (that frankly, never really picked up in my usage of Instapaper anyway). But it’s also restricted to iOS devices and Macs, and that’s where Reading List fell short. I found myself saving long articles to Instapaper so I could have them on my Kindle for weekend reading. A lot of other stuff, short things that take maybe a minute to read, end up on Reading List.

Still, I do think it would be worth Apple’s time to make a dedicated reading list app.

“Listener Matched Content”

Hypebot, regarding iTunes Match and iTunes Radio royalties:

Apple will not pay any royalties:

  • during the 120 day beta period
  • “Heat Seeker” promotions approved “at iTunes discretion”
  • “Complete My Albums” plays defined as “a Performance of a sound recording identified for a given Listener or a Remaining Track” and rendered for such Listener in order to promote the relevant CMA offer”.
  • Listener Matched Content – songs that are already in the users collection.

It’s the last category- Listener Matched Content – that will likely reduce payments labels and artists the most. According to the agreement, Apple does not have to pay for for up to two songs per hour of iRadio play if the tracks appear in the users cloud collection.

Since the heaviest users will likely pick iRadio streams that match their tastes, Apple may have effectively cut royalty payments by 10 – 14%.

I don’t understand the outrage here. Matched content means a sale was already made, whether it was a CD sale long ago or an MP3 sale at Amazon or elsewhere.

I know this doesn’t apply all the time. Illegal downloads get matched and people seemingly believe that iTunes match legalizes those downloads when it doesn’t.

But if I legitimately buy a CD and rip it to my iTunes collection, why should the record label get paid again?

“iOS 7 is a fucking mess”

Garrett Murray:

There are probably a handful of people who have spent as much time as I have in the past 6 years with this UI and this environment, and to say that I don’t get why it’s necessary for Apple to throw it all out only to introduce a worse version for “the future” is like someone taking a scalpel away from a doctor mid-surgery and saying, “Hey, we have a robot that does this now and he’s crazy and ends up cutting a lot of limbs off but shut up you don’t understand the future of medicine.”

“Top Apps” Isn’t the problem

Marco Arment suggests getting rid of Top apps list on the iTunes Store:

The race to the bottom. Deceptive low-now, high-later pricing. Scam and clone apps. Shallow apps with little craftsmanship that succeed, but many high-quality apps unable to command a sustainable price. The “top” list encourages all of these — we’d still have them without the list, but to a substantially lesser degree.

Why not get rid of top apps across all stores? Music, iBooks, Ring Tones? In all of Apple’s stores they have editorial selection and a what the market buys Top-app list. The top selling list is a great discovery tool…granted, at least with music, ring tones, and iBooks you can get a sample before you buy.

The “rich get richer” problem exists across all stores:

…everyone who downloads an app by browsing the “top” list reinforces or increases the rank of the apps already on it, entrenching their positions and reducing the visibility of anything below the first few pages.

What’s wrong with that?

I love to see what the market leaders are across books, music, movies, TV shows, and apps. In many instances those selections are on the list because they deserve to be on the list. If you want to see editorial lists you have that on the store and elsewhere. You are free to ignore the Top lists. I want to see both.

Scam and clone apps, race-to-the-bottom, and shallow apps isn’t really a top apps list problem. It’s a dysfunction of Apple’s rules and the way they enforce them. $99 for an in-app purchase of coins is certainly deceptive, but it exists because Apple allows it to exist.1

  1. I can think of another thing that exists because it’s allowed to exist. 

Why Pandora Will be Dead by 2018…

Does anyone think Pandora or other internet radio businesses will be around in five years? They’re already struggling and with iTunes Radio on the horizon things won’t be getting any better.

Apple can foot the bill, they can afford to overpay if it drives more iPad sales. They can even afford to share low-rent advertising revenues and make this a break-even iTunes feature. Sort of like the iTunes Store.

Pandora, on the other hand, remains committed to living on advertising and a small amount of subscription revenue. This isn’t a loss leader for anything else, it’s all about monetizing internet radio directly. And that’s difficult, especially for a company that remains heavily-resistant to a paid subscription model, or anything else that lowers their massive audience numbers.

Which means, the entire Pandora model is dependent on some government handout to survive.

Apple’s imperfect video about perfection

On the grammar in Apple’s perfection video.

Whether you consult the Oxford English Dictionary, The Chicago Manual of Style, or, you’ll find the acceptable plural forms of “no” to be “noes” or “nos.” Apple’s unnecessary use of punctuation proves to be a rather ironic answer to the company’s own rhetorical challenge: “How can anyone perfect anything?”

While we’re on the subject, what do the style manuals say about years? For instance, was I born in the 1980’s or the 1980s? I think I was born in the 80s, and the music I listened to during that time was 80’s music.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game

Tell me a politician who is up here and doesn’t try to minimize his taxes… Tell me what Apple has done is illegal. I am offended by a government… that convenes a hearing to bully one of America’s greatest success stories… If anyone should be on trial here, it should be Congress. I frankly think the committee should apologize to Apple.
Rand Paul

OOOOH. Snap!

Senator Paul, you can apologize if you wish but that isn’t what this hearing is about.

OOOh – another snap! Politicians are so catty and passive aggressive.