“iPods, the most popular music players with more than 70 percent of the American market, can play MP3 music files, a popular digital audio compression format. But for the most part, Apple steers its customers to songs in another format, called Advanced Audio Codec (AAC), which most non-Apple devices cannot play,” Sean Captain reports for The New York Times.
“Apple’s iTunes software, which runs on PC’s and Macs, for example, automatically “rips,” or converts, music from CD’s into compressed AAC files for loading onto a computer or portable player. But users who want to convert tracks to MP3 files have to change the settings,” Captain reports. “And downloads from Apple’s iTunes Music Store come exclusively in a version of AAC that includes FairPlay, Apple’s digital rights management technology, to prevent illegal copying and sharing of music. ‘One of the problems I see a lot is that people who are using iTunes-iPods have ripped their entire CD collection to the AAC format because that is the default setting in iTunes,’ said Grahm Skee, who runs the Web site AnythingButiPod.com, in an e-mail interview. ‘Now they are stuck with a format that can only be played on iPods.’
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: And what, pray tell, are the “problems” you see, Grahm Skee? Is it that people who want to switch from iPod to an iRiver (all zero of them) can’t play their AAC files without converting them to MP3 first? Fact is, CDs ripped to AAC by iTunes are playable on Macs, PCs, and burnable to regular audio CDs; hence they’re playable basically anywhere. AAC is not some proprietary Apple-only format. AAC is MPEG-4 Audio. Apple should’ve just called it MP4 to soothe simple minds. AAC is the de facto standard format for legally-purchased online music. Period. The fact that some still try FUD to force people away from using AAC continues to perplex and amaze. And that Captain trots out the old saw that iPod lacks a built-in FM radio and voice recorder as reasons people might want to use some also-ran portable music player is a joke. Obviously the vast majority of people don’t care or add those capabilities to iPod via accessories.
The only people having “problems” are those online music outfits trying to sell music for portable players that nobody wants and hardware makers trying to sell portable music players that won’t work seamlessly with the world’s leading jukebox software and legal online music service – Apple iTunes and iTunes Music Store respectively. Consumers have choice, the only “problem” is that the Microsofts, Napsters, and Creatives of the world just don’t like that consumers haven’t chosen their failed products and DRM schemes.
Want to avoid any so-called “probems?” Most people have already figured out how to do so: buy an iPod, use iTunes to rip your CDs and transfer to your iPod, and buy online music from the iTunes Music Store via your Mac or Windows PC. “Problems” solved.
Music lovers make Apple’s iTunes Music Store AAC format the de facto standard for online music – August 28, 2005
Wall Street Journal blows it: iTunes only imports ‘weird AAC format,’ iPod only plays Apple formats – July 19, 2005
iPod, iTunes, and iTunes Music Store competitors lack Apple’s ‘seamless integration and ease’ – August 28, 2005
Apple’s roadkill whine in unison: ‘incompatibility is slowing growth of digital music’ – August 13, 2005
The New Zealand Herald serves up a steaming pile of iPod FUD – August 11, 2005
FUD campaign against Apple’s iPod+iTunes fails to stick – April 08, 2005
Apple’s iPod and iTunes competitors continue whining about FairPlay – February 07, 2005
The de facto standard for legal digital online music files: Apple’s protected MPEG-4 Audio (.m4p) – December 15, 2004
Apple discusses AAC vs. MP3 codecs; 128 kbps AAC as good or better than 160 kbps MP3 – April 29, 2003