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Apple posts tools for building TuneKit iTunes LPs and Extras

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
Apple has taken iTunes LP and Extras public, encouraging independent developers to begin work on interactive digital content for distribution in iTunes starting early next year. The new move signals a big move in taking on Adobe Flash, pushing the adoption of web standards, and creating an new business model for content that could impact how the company's forthcoming tablet is sold and used.

Fears that Apple would reserve iTunes LP solely for big music labels were alleviated by the debut of new templates and development guides to help anyone create the new digital interactive material. Apple is publishing the new information on its iTunes website, which notes that "Automatic, electronic submission of your iTunes LP or Extra is scheduled for the first quarter of 2010. Until then, the submission process is manual and limited. Please contact your label or studio rep for details and consideration. An existing iTunes contract is required. Your iTunes LP or iTunes Extras will be reviewed by the iTunes team for appropriateness of content and for technical quality."

Using the supplied templates and how-to guide, anyone can create interactive content that can be played back by iTunes 9 or Apple TV, including links to listen to album songs and view lyrics, liner notes, photos and videos (such as artist interviews). The virtually identical iTunes Extras format is designed to present a movie with interactive menus, bonus content, and chapter navigation, similar to those supplied by DVD or Blu-ray authors.



As AppleInsider was first to report, Apple's new interactive content formats are entirely open and based on web standards. Essentially, they're self contained websites that use special scripts and links within iTunes to present content from the user's library, along with bonus content, animated effects, and visualizations that can play along with the music. Apple refers to its JavaScript package of animations, controllers and other scripts as TuneKit.

The interactive content is linked to iTunes downloads, and is offered through iTunes to sweeten the deal when users buy albums or movies. Once Apple automates the upload process, any artist with an iTunes contract (or represented by a label associated with iTunes) will be able to submit the interactive content to enhance their music or video content. The iTunes LP and Extras formats can also link to other related material available for sale in iTunes.

ITLP and ITE files

The interactive packages are delivered as a folder of content which on Mac OS X appears to be a file (it can be opened up in the Finder by right clicking and choosing "show package contents"). Windows presents the package as a folder, as that platform has no concept of bundles (folders that look and act like a discrete file).

Within the iTunes LP or iTunes Extra bundle are folders of audio, video, and image files, as well as a standard index.html file that serves as its home page. The bundle also includes two files generated by the iTunes store during purchase: a standard jpeg or png file called iTunesArtwork that serves as an icon for the bundle, and iTunesMetadata.plist, which provides a listing of the bundle's description, genre, artist and XID mappings that iTunes uses to associate the interactive content to other media in the user's iTunes library.

A separate bundle file, manifest.xml, lists all the external content the bundle references, and describes its version number and platforms it is compatible with. This indicates that the format was designed to be extended in the future, with provisions to accommodate new types of devices. AppleInsider first predicted a tweak to make the content play on AppleTV, which was delivered within about a month of the format's release as part of Apple TV 3.0. It is also expected that the new format will be adapted to allow playback on a new tablet device released in the first half of next year.

Views, Controllers and CSS: a clean format for interactivity

Also within the package are folders of views, which represent all of the HTML pages that may be presented. Each view has a corresponding controller, which includes all of the action elements of each page as well as the navigation and animated transitions that play between page views. A folder of CSS files define the positioning of elements in each view, including buttons, images, blocks of text, and interactive elements and animations.

The regimented format of the iTunes LP and Extras packages makes it easy to create content that is virtually unlimited creatively, but which is also easy to author (particularly for anyone with even a basic background in web development) and simple to display. The new formats compete directly against convoluted DVD authoring and poorly performing Adobe Flash content. Rather than presenting a similar default structure of folders, the Flash format allows developers to create messy animation files that require lots of processing power.

Flash loads all of the individual content files (graphics and videos) into a single binary file, complicating delivery and de-optimizing performance, and mixes together content, presentation, and code. While minor Flash animations run acceptably on powerful PCs, they don't run well on platforms outside of Windows (the only platform Adobe has optimized its Flash runtime) and are particularly problematic on mobile devices where processor performance and battery life are very limited.

A business model for the web

Apple's new iTunes formats signal an intention to create an entirely new business of selling interactive content, in addition to the music, TV and movie, and iPhone mobile software that the company has incrementally built into a series of online market empires. Rather than just being a way to enhance album and movie sales, Apple's recent talks with newspaper and magazine publishers indicate that the interactive iTunes formats are really designed to allow traditional print publishers to enter the digital age with a business model that is more substantial than the web's current adware/spyware model, where users's preferences are tracked with cookies and relevant ads are shown in an effort to monetize content.

The free web, supported entirely by advertising, has revolutionized the flow of information but has devastated traditional journalism by giving uninformed bloggers and astroturfing advertising campaigns an equal presence next to legitimate news sources, erasing any sense of journalistic integrity and reputation. It has also enabled widespread content theft, where news and information published by a reputable source at significant cost can be freely plagiarized by anonymous individuals who then get money from their own adjacent ad placements on their "splogs" or spam blogs, something that ad marketers like Google have quietly benefitted from and thus have made little effort to eradicate.

Apple's simple interactive content formats, paired with its very popular iTunes delivery system, is guaranteed to create a real market for web content independent from contextual advertising. This will enable the company to do an end run around Google's ad empire and Microsoft's belated efforts to copy Google, and offer content producers such as newspapers, book publishers, magazine editors, and other vendors of proprietary information a marketplace where they can sell their content directly to consumers, just as Apple provided a functional market to music labels, movie studios, and mobile software developers.

This new strategy appears to be the linchpin that will make Apple's forthcoming tablet a viable product, as consumers will be buying it not just to surf the ad-sponsored web, but also to navigate a new generation of interactive, animated digital content: newspapers and magazines that incorporate video and voice and hyperlinks just like the web, but without ads. Similar to premium TV channels, this will result in a market for premium content as an alternative to the puerile garbage that fills most of the space between commercials on free TV channels and the web.

By selling access to this professionally-created premium content to a large target audience, publishers will be able to charge very little per issue but still make sustainable profits, something that has been completely illusive on the web as traditional print publishers have failed to find web users interested in subscribing to their content, and as the scant revenues from ad placement evaporate as users find out how to block ads or simply ignore them. Additionally, as Google has monopolized the web ad market, the value of online advertising to content producers has plummeted.

Pulling off the futuristic digital newspaper has long remained a pipe dream, as traditional print publishers faced an uphill effort to convince readers to trade paper for far more expensive digital readers. Apple has the unique capacity to pull this off because of its existing iTunes business in selling high volumes of content via micropayments, combined with its unique position as the maker of the top selling iPod and iPhone and the Mac platform. Apple has attracted a loyal audience of customers who actually pay for content, in stark contrast to the torrent music and movie scene supported by adware, the hobbyist mobile software community, and the ad-supported web.

Rival content formats being promoted by Adobe, Amazon, Microsoft, and by groups of traditional publishers themselves all either rely upon ads to sell the content, or lack a hardware reader, or lack an online store to sell content, or lack the technology to deliver colorful, interactive, animated multimedia content.



Daniel Eran Dilger is the author of "Snow Leopard Server (Developer Reference)," a new book from Wiley available now.
post #2 of 47
This sounds great! I´m looking forward to Apple bringing this to the FCP studio and Logic suites. No one makes DVD today for the clients. We all make QuickTimes and mail them off. This could be the nice way of packaging everything like a nice DVD and just email or send thru mobileMe.

Please Apple, bring this to FCP.
/Chribbe
post #3 of 47
Daniel, I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles, but your description of the flash delivery is tainted by opinion instead of fact.

Delivering content as a single binary does NOT complicate delivery. It actually simplifies the process and reduces the risk of missing files - which is always a possibility of HTML delivery and the use of bundles. It also increases the IP protection of the contained artwork.

In addition, delivering content as a single binary does not have to de-optimise performance. Yes, Flash is more efficient and better optimised on windows, but that is not a problem of the SWF file, that is an issue with the Flash Player on Mac.

Finally, this statement "While minor Flash animations run acceptably on powerful PCs, they don't run well on platforms outside of Windows" is gross exaggeration and is something I'd expect from a pitiful, unknowledgable reviewer, not a technology analyst/reporter of your calibre. Major Flash animations run perfectly well on either G3 Macs, or Pentium PCs (let alone computers of the current era). I'm not absolving Adobe for a pitiful effort of creating a Flash Player for platforms other than Windows, but putting a few minor glitches aside, Flash works very well on Mac.
post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chribbe View Post

This sounds great! I´m looking forward to Apple bringing this to the FCP studio and Logic suites. No one makes DVD today for the clients. We all make QuickTimes and mail them off. This could be the nice way of packaging everything like a nice DVD and just email or send thru mobileMe.

Please Apple, bring this to FCP.
/Chribbe

The problem with that is it requires your client to have iTunes, which many will have but not all... That's if you use the proper ITE zip files anyway.
post #5 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chribbe View Post

This sounds great! I´m looking forward to Apple bringing this to the FCP studio and Logic suites. No one makes DVD today for the clients. We all make QuickTimes and mail them off. This could be the nice way of packaging everything like a nice DVD and just email or send thru mobileMe.

Please Apple, bring this to FCP.
/Chribbe

I wonder... the format (templates, and such) seems more suited for iLife/iWork-- kind of a marriage of iMovie, iDVD and iWeb.

I use both FC Studio and iLife/iWork and don't [yet] see how the template paradigm integrates with the FC workflow.

I am downloading all the files (they really need a single-file SDK) and will play with them over the holidays.

Time will tell!

*
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post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by rgberry View Post

Daniel, I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles, but your description of the flash delivery is tainted by opinion instead of fact.

Delivering content as a single binary does NOT complicate delivery. It actually simplifies the process and reduces the risk of missing files - which is always a possibility of HTML delivery and the use of bundles. It also increases the IP protection of the contained artwork.

In addition, delivering content as a single binary does not have to de-optimise performance. Yes, Flash is more efficient and better optimised on windows, but that is not a problem of the SWF file, that is an issue with the Flash Player on Mac.

Finally, this statement "While minor Flash animations run acceptably on powerful PCs, they don't run well on platforms outside of Windows" is gross exaggeration and is something I'd expect from a pitiful, unknowledgable reviewer, not a technology analyst/reporter of your calibre. Major Flash animations run perfectly well on either G3 Macs, or Pentium PCs (let alone computers of the current era). I'm not absolving Adobe for a pitiful effort of creating a Flash Player for platforms other than Windows, but putting a few minor glitches aside, Flash works very well on Mac.

I can't agree with your assertion that "putting a few minor glitches aside, Flash works very well on Mac".

Here is a display of CPU usage on an iMac 24 2.8GHz C2D 4GB RAM-- notice the second line:

http://web.me.com/dicklacara/Flash%2...PU%20Usage.png


There is no Flash Player active, though a window (now closed) had played a Flash Movie.


I installed ClickToFlash and it eliminated all my Safari hangs and performance problems-- plus it gets rid of that irritating FLAM (FLash spAM). Many web pages these days have 3 or more irritating Flash windows that start playing when you load the page,

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post #7 of 47
This is all great news and a great article (Flash grumblers aside). The problems I see with this however are that the article perhaps paints too rosy of a picture of futuristic magazines and distribution.

For instance just because magazines *can* be produced in this way without advertisements, doesn't mean that they actually won't have advertisements. The practice of business is kind of inherently evil in that it's about self interest for most players.

If Newsweek can sell you a digital version for a price as well as put ads in it, they probably will as long as people are stupid enough to buy it, and no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the consumer. Also fashion magazines and some others are really more "about" the ads, than they are the content. To remove the ads would kind of remove the best content, leaving only puerile reviews by "writers" who can't really write. Overall, I would expect that the new magazines would have ads, but that they might soon be under competition from newcomers who will try to provide ad-free content as a bonus.

The second thing is that how rosey this future is completely depends on the distribution model. If all Apple allows is big name publishers, then there will be no freedom in this market. On the other hand, I don't see Apple becoming a publisher/gatekeeper because of the copyright issues they would have to police.

The real goal here, would be to make it possible for the average Jane Doe to publish their own books or magazines and sell them through iTunes and the (presumed) mobile book store. I don't see Apple doing that at all, although they might. So while this is a shot in the arm for ageing crap publications like Time, Newsweek, Chatelaine, PC Magazine etc., it doesn't seem like a real content revolution to me.
post #8 of 47
I don't know about jane doe book publishers, but from the perspective of Indie artists publishing LPs and music videos this could be a real boon. It all depends on how involved the creation process is.

*
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post #9 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by eAi View Post

The problem with that is it requires your client to have iTunes, which many will have but not all... That's if you use the proper ITE zip files anyway.

That may be how they are starting it, but not how it will be done later on. It is just a combination of HTML, CSS, JS, and various image, audio and video codecs. They may release an open version that will play well in a modern browser.

Hopefully even QuickTime X will be able to access WebKit.framework so you can bypass iTunes altogether. I know I have all my iTunes purchased videos already defaulting to QuickTime over iTunes. I love it for audio but hate it for video.
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post #10 of 47
Very interesting article. I think that all of this will tie in with the mysterious Apple Tablet product. With this new Tunekit software, it could blow the Kindle away. By the way, you said, "...has devastated traditional journalism by giving uniformed bloggers..." Do bloggers wear uniforms? I figured they just dressed like the rest of us, but it would be neat if we had a way to identify them.
post #11 of 47
Is the content protectable?
As much as I hate file protection, if I were to publish a modern video animated textbook, I sure wold like each user to have to buy their own rather than copy their friends...
Anyone know?
post #12 of 47
Shock! It doesn't cost $10,000! ...now, where is that old thread?
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by applestockholder View Post

Is the content protectable?
As much as I hate file protection, if I were to publish a modern video animated textbook, I sure wold like each user to have to buy their own rather than copy their friends...
Anyone know?

So you hate file protection except when it applies to your stuff?

oy...
post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinney57 View Post

So you hate file protection except when it applies to your stuff?

oy...

yup - high quality scientific medical subspecialty content has a very limited audience, thus limited sales, and the resultant education, knowledge and skill transfer translates into income potential, etc. A different beast than a song.

not all content is equal in so many ways...

ANd before any flames, I do pay for my content, even though I know how to use limewire etc...
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonro View Post

Do bloggers wear uniforms?

Jammies with Cheetos stains on the front. It's the law.
post #16 of 47
Based on my reading (so far) and scanning of the docs there is no mention of "DRM", "FairPlay" or any "protection".

*
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post #17 of 47
Serious question (which I couldn't find directly addressed in the article): Will this be open to everyone, and can free content using this framework be passed around outside of the iTunes store (ie. P2P)?

And if so, could one of these bundles be essentially published as is as a regular web page with little modification? It would be interesting to see one live using Safari.
post #18 of 47
"The free web, supported entirely by advertising" like your own "puerile garbage" I must conclude!? Are you writing this from North Korea via a proxy server?
post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Serious question (which I couldn't find directly addressed in the article): Will this be open to everyone, and can free content using this framework be passed around outside of the iTunes store (ie. P2P)?

And if so, could one of these bundles be essentially published as is as a regular web page with little modification? It would be interesting to see one live using Safari.

According to the Apple page: http://www.apple.com/itunes/lp-and-extras/

Quote:
Distributing Your iTunes LP or iTunes Extras
Automatic, electronic submission of your iTunes LP or Extra is scheduled for the first quarter of 2010. Until then, the submission process is manual and limited. Please contact your label or studio rep for details and consideration. An existing iTunes contract is required. Your iTunes LP or iTunes Extras will be reviewed by the iTunes team for appropriateness of content and for technical quality.

As I read the docs, these packages require iTunes 9.0 or AppleTV 3.0 to work-- they invoke "players" within these products to play the audio or video & the rest of the package is standard webkit HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.

I think the other shoe to drop (and effect this distro model) is the Tablet.

Also, these people have been publishing tutorials that work outside of iTunes, AFAIK.

http://ituneslp.net/news/




*
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post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by applestockholder View Post

yup - high quality scientific medical subspecialty content has a very limited audience, thus limited sales, and the resultant education, knowledge and skill transfer translates into income potential, etc. A different beast than a song.
.

Clearly, tablets of purest gold are the only suitable medium of distribution.
post #21 of 47
*

I was hoping for a Tool (or set of Tools) that you could give to an artist or author that would help and inspire him to package his creativity.

This ain't it!

The creator, in addition to his major talent, would need to be conversant in HTML5, CSS, XML, JavaScript, and the idiosyncrasies of iTunes, QuickTime and AppleTV.

Why? We [should] have apps for that!

I was hoping for something like iDVD, iMovie, iWeb, Pages, Keynote. etc. that could assist the creator in building the package at a high level (themes, templates, drag and drop placement/formatting of content, etc.) leaving the Tool to create the necessary glue to make it all work.

Instead, we start by discussing manifests, pLists, schemas... The creator will do all the work at a very low level using a text editor to build and interrelate all the various bits and pieces.

IMO, It was easier to learn Objective-C and iPhone development than it would be to learn to build a iTunesLP with the present approach (I have 10 plus years web development experience and had no XCode experience).

Apple should have built upon their present high-level tools rather than create this low-level morass.

*
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post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

*
I was hoping for something like iDVD, iMovie, iWeb, Pages, Keynote. etc. that could assist the creator in building the package at a high level (themes, templates, drag and drop placement/formatting of content, etc.) leaving the Tool to create the necessary glue to make it all work.

There's nothing to say that such an authoring app can't come later. Remember that the iPhone development platform came a year after the initial 1.0 release. It would be great if everything as you describe were available out the gate, but Apple can't wait around for the full banquet to be prepared before serving the appetizers. Others (Adobe, MS, the Labels, etc.) are probably working on their own versions of this sort of thing as we discuss this.
post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

There's nothing to say that such an authoring app can't come later. Remember that the iPhone development platform came a year after the initial 1.0 release. It would be great if everything as you describe were available out the gate, but Apple can't wait around for the full banquet to be prepared before serving the appetizers. Others (Adobe, MS, the Labels, etc.) are probably working on their own versions of this sort of thing as we discuss this.

It seems likely that an a proper app will be created at some point. There are plenty of drag-n-drop web development apps available, including iWeb. There are some very complex aspects to the iTunes LP/Extras setup but at the same time its also a pretty strict format so I can easily see how an app would be in the works.
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post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

This is all great news and a great article (Flash grumblers aside). The problems I see with this however are that the article perhaps paints too rosy of a picture of futuristic magazines and distribution.

For instance just because magazines *can* be produced in this way without advertisements, doesn't mean that they actually won't have advertisements. The practice of business is kind of inherently evil in that it's about self interest for most players.

If Newsweek can sell you a digital version for a price as well as put ads in it, they probably will as long as people are stupid enough to buy it, and no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the consumer. Also fashion magazines and some others are really more "about" the ads, than they are the content. To remove the ads would kind of remove the best content, leaving only puerile reviews by "writers" who can't really write. Overall, I would expect that the new magazines would have ads, but that they might soon be under competition from newcomers who will try to provide ad-free content as a bonus.

The second thing is that how rosey this future is completely depends on the distribution model. If all Apple allows is big name publishers, then there will be no freedom in this market. On the other hand, I don't see Apple becoming a publisher/gatekeeper because of the copyright issues they would have to police.

The real goal here, would be to make it possible for the average Jane Doe to publish their own books or magazines and sell them through iTunes and the (presumed) mobile book store. I don't see Apple doing that at all, although they might. So while this is a shot in the arm for ageing crap publications like Time, Newsweek, Chatelaine, PC Magazine etc., it doesn't seem like a real content revolution to me.

The point isn't that advertising will go away, but that the content providers will get the advertising dollars (as well as the micropayments) for producing value, instead of Google raking in the advertising dollars just for being a middle man.
post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

*

I was hoping for a Tool (or set of Tools) that you could give to an artist or author that would help and inspire him to package his creativity.

This ain't it!

The creator, in addition to his major talent, would need to be conversant in HTML5, CSS, XML, JavaScript, and the idiosyncrasies of iTunes, QuickTime and AppleTV.

Why? We [should] have apps for that!

I was hoping for something like iDVD, iMovie, iWeb, Pages, Keynote. etc. that could assist the creator in building the package at a high level (themes, templates, drag and drop placement/formatting of content, etc.) leaving the Tool to create the necessary glue to make it all work.

Instead, we start by discussing manifests, pLists, schemas... The creator will do all the work at a very low level using a text editor to build and interrelate all the various bits and pieces.

IMO, It was easier to learn Objective-C and iPhone development than it would be to learn to build a iTunesLP with the present approach (I have 10 plus years web development experience and had no XCode experience).

Apple should have built upon their present high-level tools rather than create this low-level morass.

*

Um, the paint isn't even dry on it, and you're bitching that there isn't a fully finished IDE?
Hope the ice cream trees on your world are blooming well.
post #26 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

There's nothing to say that such an authoring app can't come later. Remember that the iPhone development platform came a year after the initial 1.0 release. It would be great if everything as you describe were available out the gate, but Apple can't wait around for the full banquet to be prepared before serving the appetizers. Others (Adobe, MS, the Labels, etc.) are probably working on their own versions of this sort of thing as we discuss this.

True! See comment below

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It seems likely that an a proper app will be created at some point. There are plenty of drag-n-drop web development apps available, including iWeb. There are some very complex aspects to the iTunes LP/Extras setup but at the same time its also a pretty strict format so I can easily see how an app would be in the works.

Also True. Though, I think Apple, the creatives, and the consumers would be better served with:

1) a high-level tool with [initial] limited-capability: themes, items (songs, chapters, titling, navigation
2) the docs and package as they stand, today.

That way, the creatives (or anyone) could use the high-level tool as an introduction to the process to get something up and running, quickly. Then get down to the underlying detail if they need to go beyond the capabilities of the tool.

By comparison: With a few minutes of experimentation, using basic Apple tools, a non-techie can create a movie; a DVD; a Web site. When you think of it, it is amazing what they can do with these tools...

I don't understand why a [desktop website] Widget (that uses an iTunes/QuickTime AV player) is more difficult than any of the above.

Sadly, as I write this, I do begin to understand-- ease of use (creating iTunesLP / iTunesExtra) is not the motivation.

*
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post #27 of 47
You people must be blind to the fairly large writing on the wall.

Apple is poised yet again to create another veritable revolution in the publishing industry with the introduction of its tablet and content delivery system.

But this one is going to have a far greater impact than even that of the "desktop publishing" phenomenon of the late '80s and '90s.

Once again, Apple will be far ahead of anyone with its well-thought-out, smoothly-functioning, system which will create a huge new market for multi-media content.

And talk about "halo effect"! The tablet stands to bring far more people into the Apple fold for all of their information needs.

Daniel Swanson

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Daniel Swanson

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post #28 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post

You people must be blind to the fairly large writing on the wall.

Apple is poised yet again to create another veritable revolution in the publishing industry with the introduction of its tablet and content delivery system.

But this one is going to have a far greater impact than even that of the "desktop publishing" phenomenon of the late '80s and '90s.

Once again, Apple will be far ahead of anyone with its well-thought-out, smoothly-functioning, system which will create a huge new market for multi-media content.

And talk about "halo effect"! The tablet stands to bring far more people into the Apple fold for all of their information needs.

What is interesting about the iTunes LP and Extra format (and presumably the Apple tablet subscription service coming next year) is that Apple is using open standards to deliver it. Surely any video and possibly even certain audio can be locked down with FairPlay, but the interactive packaging is completely open source. I see no reason why others wont be able to use TuneKit for their own version of these.

Admittedly, I am having trouble seeing how certain aspects of this can play out but its obvious that is just the top of the iceberg for this format and that Apple is confident enough in what they will be offering to make the code completely open source.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

What is interesting about the iTunes LP and Extra format (and presumably the Apple tablet subscription service coming next year) is that Apple is using open standards to deliver it. Surely any video and possibly even certain audio can be locked down with FairPlay, but the interactive packaging is completely open source. I see no reason why others wont be able to use TuneKit for their own version of these.

Admittedly, I am having trouble seeing how certain aspects of this can play out but its obvious that is just the top of the iceberg for this format and that Apple is confident enough in what they will be offering to make the code completely open source.

Yes, it is interesting that the packaging is open source-- the only apparent tie-in to Apple is using iTunes/Quicktime as the AV player... but competitors could certainly modify the package (or package creation tools) to use a different AV player (Flash, SilverLight, etc.) and associated DRM.

Why would Apple do that?

Maybe the wizard behind the curtain is the iTunes [music/app and whatever else] store that offers broad selection and convenience.

As you mentioned, Apple could offer certain digital content (books, magazines, specialty newsletters. etc.) with a subscription (gasp) option.

This could close the loop and make the iTunes store the "go-to hub" of all digital-content shopping.

If successful, a subscription option could be extended to more traditional iTunes media (music, video, apps, games).

A while back, Apple applied for patents for online shopping that goes beyond digital content.

http://www.macnn.com/blogs/2008/04/1...cond-life.html

Could a more robust interactive shopping experience be part of their plan?

And just how does the Tablet fit into the picture?

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post #30 of 47
The thing that is great here is that we're going to see designers get put to work and not put out of work.

A WYSYWYG app would only create garbage templates and make everything look the same. If you don't know HTML5, java, Css, or jquery then you shouldn't be doing this kind of work. Why give a stethoscope to a plumber? Seriously, if you have a book that needs to be published; you would do it yourself?

This news is another reason and sign that the tablet is going to be a smash and Apple is going to dominate yet another device segment. Makes me wonder what the ATV V2 device or maybe V4 of the software will do? Web browsing and apps seems like an imminent step to integrate everything, (ex. itunes extras currently can link to the web but you have to be on a computer to use them) web surfing to a movie, music or magazine publishers site would be a great selling point for the Devs and it would make the ATV a real stand out device over ROKU or slingbox; apps even more so.

If you haven't already seen it first hand, the best thing about itunes extras really is the coming of the DVD experience (in a much better way) to the ATV and not the extras themselves. I was very impressed with the Angels and Demons menu. Utilizing the ATV remote app on my iphone made it clear the tablet will also work in conjunction with ATV. The gesture pad on the remote made it so much fun and very easy to surf the menu; especially over a traditional remote.

I have a feeling that once the tablet is out all of the ATV neigh sayers will be eating their words as the two might just end up working very closely together.
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post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post

The thing that is great here is that we're going to see designers get put to work and not put out of work.

A WYSYWYG app would only create garbage templates and make everything look the same. If you don't know HTML5, java, Css, or jquery then you shouldn't be doing this kind of work. Why give a stethoscope to a plumber? Seriously, if you have a book that needs to be published; you would do it yourself?


WYSIWYG: Wizzy-Wig -- What You See Is What You Get

WYGIWYW: Wiggy-Woo -- What You Get Isn't What You Want


There are several ways to look at this:

The creatives already hire services beyond their areas of expertise (studios, backup bands, videographers, photographers, etc) to put together a CD, DVD or a book/magazine.

Why shouldn't they be willing to hire the widget expertise (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, XML, web design, navigation, etc).

I agree, to an extent.


However, Steve Jobs said he was going to provide tools to the creatives to allow them to build the packages, themselves.


In either case, a WYSIWG tool could be a useful productivity aid. The use of such a tool need not limit the user to a few standard, off the shelf, (as you say "garbage") templates. Rather, the WYSIWYG tool could be used to design an unique, custom template specifically tailored to the package being created and the artists desires.

In prior posts I used iWeb, iDVD, etc to represent high-level tools... that's because they are relatively known entities. They have a limited number of themes and templates (though that can be expanded).


Apple does have one very high-level GUI (WYSIWYG) Tool that is virtually unlimited and deals rather nicely with the XML that binds the the resulting package together.

That tool is InterfaceBuilder (IB) and it is currently used to create the GUI for most Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch apps (and presumably Tablet apps).

IB allows you to put together a virtually unlimited combination of standard and custom components to create unique app interfaces. The iTunes LP and Extras interfaces represent a small subset of IB's capabilities. IB is a stand-alone app with drag and drop, allows WYSIWYG, and creates a XML file as output,

Currently, IB interfaces app code written in Objective-C using Cocoa or Cocoa Touch. I see no reason that IB couldn't be extended to interface HTML5, CSS, JavaScript.



Quote:

This news is another reason and sign that the tablet is going to be a smash and Apple is going to dominate yet another device segment. Makes me wonder what the ATV V2 device or maybe V4 of the software will do? Web browsing and apps seems like an imminent step to integrate everything, (ex. itunes extras currently can link to the web but you have to be on a computer to use them) web surfing to a movie, music or magazine publishers site would be a great selling point for the Devs and it would make the ATV a real stand out device over ROKU or slingbox; apps even more so.

If you haven't already seen it first hand, the best thing about itunes extras really is the coming of the DVD experience (in a much better way) to the ATV and not the extras themselves. I was very impressed with the Angels and Demons menu. Utilizing the ATV remote app on my iphone made it clear the tablet will also work in conjunction with ATV. The gesture pad on the remote made it so much fun and very easy to surf the menu; especially over a traditional remote.

I have a feeling that once the tablet is out all of the ATV neigh sayers will be eating their words as the two might just end up working very closely together.

+++ These are excellent points

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"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Jammies with Cheetos stains on the front. It's the law.

post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Serious question (which I couldn't find directly addressed in the article): Will this be open to everyone, and can free content using this framework be passed around outside of the iTunes store (ie. P2P)?

And if so, could one of these bundles be essentially published as is as a regular web page with little modification? It would be interesting to see one live using Safari.

My question, too.

Anyone here know?

I'd like to create one of these for med students and residents that I teach and have them review it at their leisure on any HTML 5 compliant browser (ie. IE need not apply!)
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

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I was hoping for a Tool (or set of Tools) that you could give to an artist or author that would help and inspire him to package his creativity.

This ain't it!

The creator, in addition to his major talent, would need to be conversant in HTML5, CSS, XML, JavaScript, and the idiosyncrasies of iTunes, QuickTime and AppleTV.

Why? We [should] have apps for that!

I was hoping for something like iDVD, iMovie, iWeb, Pages, Keynote. etc. that could assist the creator in building the package at a high level (themes, templates, drag and drop placement/formatting of content, etc.) leaving the Tool to create the necessary glue to make it all work.

Instead, we start by discussing manifests, pLists, schemas... The creator will do all the work at a very low level using a text editor to build and interrelate all the various bits and pieces.

IMO, It was easier to learn Objective-C and iPhone development than it would be to learn to build a iTunesLP with the present approach (I have 10 plus years web development experience and had no XCode experience).

Apple should have built upon their present high-level tools rather than create this low-level morass.

*


Have you downloaded it and worked with it?

Just curious.
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Serious question (which I couldn't find directly addressed in the article): Will this be open to everyone, and can free content using this framework be passed around outside of the iTunes store (ie. P2P)?

And if so, could one of these bundles be essentially published as is as a regular web page with little modification? It would be interesting to see one live using Safari.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

My question, too.

Anyone here know?

It’s HTML, CSS and JS, plus whatever audio, video and document files you put into it. There is nothing stopping you from adapting this format for a typical web browser. either to be accessed from a server or to be downloaded and accessed locally by a web browser.

If you access the package info it will already open up in Safari just as it does in iTunes. I’d like to do also same in QuickTime. I‘d also like them to be accessible by the .ITE and .iTLP extensions.

Quote:
I'd like to create one of these for med students and residents that I teach and have them review it at their leisure on any HTML 5 compliant browser (ie. IE need not apply!)

Go for it, though I’d image that there will eventually be a Firefox plug in to make these work without iTunes or Safari, as well as a open project to make this format even more open and universal than it is. Create an interactive, DVD menu-like experience without DVD authoring software. Just DLed the file and have it run in any browser.

PS: IE9 is going to have plenty of HTML5 support from MS.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

Have you downloaded it and worked with it?

Just curious.

Yes!

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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dlux View Post

Serious question (which I couldn't find directly addressed in the article): Will this be open to everyone, and can free content using this framework be passed around outside of the iTunes store (ie. P2P)?

And if so, could one of these bundles be essentially published as is as a regular web page with little modification? It would be interesting to see one live using Safari.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubert View Post

My question, too.

Anyone here know?

I'd like to create one of these for med students and residents that I teach and have them review it at their leisure on any HTML 5 compliant browser (ie. IE need not apply!)


The HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and XML are standard. The TuneKit frame work uses iTunes as the AV player on the desktop and the QuickTime built into AppleTV as the AV player on AppleTV.


At present, without modification, you could not run it in a browser (as there is no iTunes plugin).


That said, someone could reverse engineer the TuneKit framework and substitute browser plugins.

This would likely be acceptable if you had no need for the user to venture outside your package.


But, one of the great potentials of Apple's packages is that they can extend beyond the bounds of the package, itself, and integrate content from the iTunes store(s) as well as any web site. You can browse and shop within the package... kinda' like a Music Video, Song Album, Movie or eBook with in-app [in-content] shopping/purchasing.

If the reverse-engineered package wanted to duplicate the extended function, it would require it to invoke iTunes function through special (behind-the-scenes) web calls to iTunes, and then approximate iTunes UI within its own framework... or just invoke iTunes on the desktop. At that point, the reverse engineered framework is redundant.


The more I think about this, I am beginning to tell myself that it's not about the content...

...It's the shopping, stupid!

*
"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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"Swift generally gets you to the right way much quicker." - auxio -

"The perfect [birth]day -- A little playtime, a good poop, and a long nap." - Tomato Greeting Cards -
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post #38 of 47
I've been searching for hours, and I've been trying to create an iTunes LP using the templates provided, and there is no way to assign an XID tag to the music!!! Any ideas?
post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmwinand View Post

I've been searching for hours, and I've been trying to create an iTunes LP using the templates provided, and there is no way to assign an XID tag to the music!!! Any ideas?

edit 2: I think brain fart is common term for my initial posting.

These links contain work arounds to supplying an XID.

http://ituneslp.net/tutorials/itunescontrol
http://blog.ortatherox.com/post/1880...unes-lp-format
http://www.sexybiggetje.nl/articles/...pples-tunekit/
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
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post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

WYSIWYG: Wizzy-Wig -- What You See Is What You Get

WYGIWYW: Wiggy-Woo -- What You Get Isn't What You Want

LOL yeah I need to get my acronyms corrected. Better get to the doctor on monday.

but nice variation of your own as well

I was thinking you meant idvd, iweb type of program, which to me have been a disappointment even for the consumer. As far as free software goes it can't be beat, but the templates "kill" me; perhaps there are sources for better and more templates. None of the casual users I know ever seems to use the apps. strange. IB is a great piece of software, I agree. Thanks for the clarification on your thoughts.
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