I just can’t stop playing with the cover flow view. It is incredible.
I had been holding out on iTunes, sticking to my tried and tested Winamp all this while. But with iTunes 7, there is no question. Guess I am a bit of an oddball that I find album art an important component of my music. Once they allowed album art with ID3v2, I spent a fair bit of time trying to tag my albums with art. I tried Helium Music Manager, even the earlier iTunes, but it was just too much work.
With iTunes 7 you can a) download original artwork from iTunes itself (as long as you have atleast the Artist and Album name in place, and an iTunes account) , which is sexy. b) You can flip through your albums as if I was browsing through my cassette cabinet – which basically makes all that album art really worth it – and it makes browsing the iTunes library way more convenient – I could never quite get used to the Browse feature.
Apple is great that way. It is a company which believes in giving power to the people – and it does it brilliantly – it has struck a fine balance between what people want, what lawmakers and content creators want and what the economics at Apple dictate. Some things which come to mind,
1) Each generation of iPOD is an innovation in itself. It is not an incremental change but a quantum change. Yet they price their products same as the earlier generation, and even cheaper sometimes. This probably makes iPOD among the classiest and the most affordable MP3 players around.
2) I think the way they store music on the iPOD is also great. It is not easily inaccessible, so it can’t be downloaded the way you would do it from say a USB drive, but accessible nevertheless. Thus deterring most people from any illegal transfers, while letting the fighters tweak their way in.
3) They are innovative beyond redemption, and Jobs is brilliant at identifying gaps in the value chain. In a cluttered MP3 player market, they introduced the iPOD which now has more than 70% market share of mp3 players. Why did it succeed? It succeeded because of iTunes – it gave regular people a way to actually put music on to the player, taking the mp3 player from the geek domain to mainstream. Similarly the new iTV bridges the gap between taking online video to your television.
All I can say is Jai Steve Jobs. Jai Apple.