Needs a Tooth, Leads

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-07-15 Print this article Print

a TiVo"> On the plus side, not enough attention has been given to Advanced Audio Codec (AAC), Dolbys rival codec to Windows Media Audio (WMA). While most digital music is still encoded in MP3, which brings advantages especially if you want to stream it around your house or burn an MP3 CD, codecs like WMA and AAC appease record labels by enabling digital rights management. For consumers, the formats offer similar audio quality at smaller file sizes. In effect, the new 10GB iPod can hold twice as many songs as the last 10GB iPod with no loss in playback quality. At the same time, it would have been great to see Apple introduce Bluetooth into the iPod family, further tightening the bond with PowerBooks. The iPod is one the few devices on the market that can take great advantage of Bluetooth even without widespread cell phone support.
Of course, Bluetooth would be a poor choice for transferring the devices gigabytes of music and owners are better served by FireWire or USB 2.0 (a welcome addition for Windows users). But Bluetooth would be a convenient transport for the various types of personal data now stored on an iPod. Bluetooth could also be used for transmitting track information that populates the sidebar lists of bloggers; turning a Bluetooth handset into a wireless remote; or supporting future versions of digital rights management schemes to lend a song wirelessly to a friend for a limited number of playbacks.
I may be a little ahead of the curve here, but how slick would it be to replace those ear buds with Bluetooth headphones or to stream music to the nearest Macintosh like an FM transmitter on steroids? The current state of iTunes streaming is nifty, but the growing ranks of wireless media receivers that bridge the PC and consumer electronics worlds demonstrate the demand for closer ties to the home theater. In previous columns, Ive hailed the iPod as one of the most significant tech products of the past five years, but the new version has helped to convince me that the iPod has had even more of an impact (and higher sales) than TiVo. In time, the two may mate. For now, while TiVo may be a more innovative idea, there are only so many hours per day that most people can watch television. In contrast, the iPod can deliver entertainment almost anytime and anywhere. As it becomes more affordable, its poised to deliver the soundtrack of the digital lifestyle. Has the new iPod reached perfection or do you still have a wish list for your playlists? E-mail me. Wireless Supersite Editor Ross Rubin is a senior analyst at eMarketer. He has researched wireless communications since 1994 and has been covering technology since 1989. More from Ross Rubin:


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