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Apple's tablet announcement: games could be a focus, music unlikely

post #1 of 83
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With Apple expected to introduce the long-awaited tablet next week, the company's content partners will likely play a part in the unveiling. While there is an indication games might play an important role in the presentation, music labels are not expected to be a major presence.

Running down a list of who will and will not likely join Apple co-founder Steve Jobs to unveil the 10-inch touchscreen device next week, Peter Kafka of MediaMemo sent word that big music labels were only recently briefed about the tablet, and only as a "courtesy." It is expected that the iTunes LP format could work with the tablet, but Kafka said not to expect a focus on music with the tablet's introduction.

"One label official told me Apple has expressed an interest in selling higher-quality audio files via iTunes, and I'm sure the labels would be happy to do so, if they could charge a premium for them," he said. "But that discussion didn't seem to be tethered to a tablet."

Kafka also expects The New York Times, "enhanced e-book" providers like HarperCollins, and video providers (likely Disney, where Jobs is the largest individual shareholder) to have a presence at the event.

It's likely that new media content will receive the greatest focus next week, as it is expected that all existing iTunes media, including music and movies, will work with the tablet.

Apple is expected to introduce the hardware next Wednesday, Jan. 27, at an event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. It is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Pacific time.

When invitations for the event went out Monday, among those asked to come was gaming blog Kotaku. Writer Stephen Totilo expressed some surprise over the receipt, as the site's Apple-related coverage is mostly limited to iPhone games.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal called the forthcoming tablet a "multimedia device" that will allow users to do a wide range of activities, including play games. It is also expected that the tablet will be able to run existing iPhone software once it is modified to run in a range of screen resolutions.

If games were a focus of the tablet, it shouldn't be a great surprise. Apple and its App Store developers have found great success in making games for the existing iPhone and iPod touch platforms. Last year, well-known game developers like EA and Konami began to embrace the App Store and bring some of their high-profile franchises.

Of course, aside from the tablet, the gaming related invitation could also be centered around the possible unveiling of iPhone OS 4.0, which would likely play a part on future iPhone models.

With more than 100,000 applications in 20 categories, the App Store has a huge selection of games that have been a major factor in the platform's success. Earlier this month, Apple revealed that more than 3 billion downloads had come from the App Store.
post #2 of 83
Air Hockey!
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post #3 of 83
Compelling about music --- no need to endanger iPod/iPhone sales.
Not so much about gaming --- premium game console without any traces of elaborated controller part? the multitouch display just can't fulfill requirements. ummm...

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post #4 of 83
...a horizontally positioned next generation touch screen 27" iMac (Touch)?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Air Hockey!
post #5 of 83
I'd much rather hear about OS 4.0 than anything else. Tablet? Pass. I don't have any need for one for my daily uses that my phone and laptop can't do.
post #6 of 83
"could be" ?

I think it's more than highly likely that games will feature.
post #7 of 83
I think it can be deduced that there will be a new OS X demo and new SDK. Whether that means iPhone OS SDK, Tablet OS SDK, or both is unknown.

I’m not sure why a game developer is confused by the invitation when every single demo of the iPhone and Touch since the SDK announcement has relied heavily on games to showcase the capabilities of the HW.
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post #8 of 83
Who agrees that at least 50% of iPhone app developers probably did NOT use scalable vector graphics when doing their programming?

For anyone who didn't, it's back to the drawing board, and probably no chance of it being "the same" app.

But then again, why should it be?
post #9 of 83
Quote:
"One label official told me Apple has expressed an interest in selling higher-quality audio files via iTunes, and I'm sure the labels would be happy to do so, if they could charge a premium for them," he said. "But that discussion didn't seem to be tethered to a tablet."

So after all of the money I spent to upgrade my tracks to iTunes Plus, now Apple is going to offer to upgrade my tracks to iTunes Plus Plus? No, thank you.
post #10 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

"could be" ?

I think it's more than highly likely that games will feature.

It's more than highly likely that game demos will be 50% or more of the entire keynote. A crying shame, since Apple should be demoing it's own software during their own events.
post #11 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by eizzumdm View Post

So after all of the money I spent to upgrade my tracks to iTunes Plus, now Apple is going to offer to upgrade my tracks to iTunes Plus Plus? No, thank you.

I agree it sounds like ham-handed scam, but would you honestly not pay another $0.30 per song to get FLAC or WAV or Apple Lossless?

I sure as would. Currently I consider it to be a travesty that I have hundreds of dollars worth of sh*t lossy audio that I had no choice but to purchase (work related).
post #12 of 83
It looks as if this thing is aimed at radically changing the whole idea of what a book is. The pieces are there already -- hyperlinks, movies, color, customization of fonts, reading the text out loud, music, perhaps 3d, internet access. Kindle has some of these, but no one has put them together in a compelling way. Or at least in a way that really changes the fundamental nature of a "book." I suspect the tablet will try to do this. Already we see the pieces in place: the app store, iTunes, iPhoto, iPhone, iWork, social networking, games. Apple is the only company with the infrastructure to pull this off. And, of course, the clout. If they execute at the level they have with iPhone, they'll change everything. I suspect the introduction of the "tablet" will strike people as a bit mystifying. "Just what exactly is this thing really good for? What's the big deal?" The same reaction as to the original iPod. But the seeds for fundamentally changing everything will be sown.
post #13 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by eizzumdm View Post

So after all of the money I spent to upgrade my tracks to iTunes Plus, now Apple is going to offer to upgrade my tracks to iTunes Plus Plus? No, thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

I agree it sounds like ham-handed scam, but would you honestly not pay another $0.30 per song to get FLAC or WAV or Apple Lossless?

I sure as would. Currently I consider it to be a travesty that I have hundreds of dollars worth of sh*t lossy audio that I had no choice but to purchase (work related).

The bottom line is if the cost is at least 10 to 20% less than a hard CD and I can still burn a CD then the cost for the higher bandwidth tracks is worth it. If not then I'll pass.
post #14 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Who agrees that at least 50% of iPhone app developers probably did NOT use scalable vector graphics when doing their programming?

For anyone who didn't, it's back to the drawing board, and probably no chance of it being "the same" app.

But then again, why should it be?

Isn’t also more than using SVG, but also not tying elements to pixel space. I think that will be the biggest problem for devs unless the iPhone OS was designed to avoid that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by eizzumdm View Post

So after all of the money I spent to upgrade my tracks to iTunes Plus, now Apple is going to offer to upgrade my tracks to iTunes Plus Plus? No, thank you.

Then don’t upgrade your audio. 256kbps AAC has been good enough and it’s unlikely you have both the eardrums and equipment to get a better experience from higher-bitrate audio. They’d have to go to ALAC, which is only playable on Apple’s devices, if they go any higher. The only other option is to add other codecs to all Apple devices and actually pull from a real master so the quality is actually good, not just a lossless file from a CD.

Regardless, there is no need to be nonplussed. (See what I did there? )


Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

It's more than highly likely that game demos will be 50% or more of the entire keynote. A crying shame, since Apple should be demoing it's own software during their own events.

I think that gives a good baseline, especially when the game is compared to the previous generation’s hardware and OS.
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post #15 of 83
Games.

I think between this 'tablet' and the other 'touch' products Apple has...

...Apple have finally conquered the gaming world. By accident or by design? A bit of both?

App store. Better distribution model. Easy to download. No packing. It's Direct to the User. Access.

Price. Cheaper game prices not seen since the C64 days! Affordability.

SDK. Easy to develop for. Floodgates open. No barrier to entry bar Apple's quality threshold policy.

Back to Basics. Games that focus on playability, simplicity. ie Fun.

Mainstream. Apple have taken the 'mainstream' music audience they have (iTunes users) and transferred that 'trust' to their 'games' store. (and they'll probably do the same with 'ebooks' in time...)

Honking mid-towers with cooling systems with 'so serious' FPS games...eclipsed by the iPhone/iPod and the pending iTab.

Good luck Nintendo and Sony. You're going to need it.

My only question is whether Apple will use Nvidia's Tiger GPU or Power VR? I'm guessing the latter...

Apple are dismantling the old ways. From phone monopolies to games monopolies.

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post #16 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Isn’t also more than using SVG, but also not tying elements to pixel space. I think that will be the biggest problem for devs unless the iPhone OS was designed to avoid that.

Re: game demos..
I think that gives a good baseline, especially when the game is compared to the previous generation’s hardware and OS.


If you used a lot of the built in graphics you should be OK, ie: a ToDo or Notes app using all iPhone UI items.

Games and such are different. Major developers who have used the SVG directly from other versions of those games will have no problem.

The simple dev who built everything from scratch...who knows. I'm sure its case by case, and undoubtedly there will be a 6month to a year crossover period, before even "Most" App store apps are available on the Tablet, or on the Mac as widgets for that matter.

re: game demo, if they are truly impressive and signify a new level of portable (Apple) gaming, then sure maybe 2 demos would be reasonable, along with a few other title announcements (not demos) that get people's imaginations immediately going.

My point, Apple has filled space with demos before, because they had nothing else to show. ie: 3GS introduction. I hope the tablet has enough Apple-developed features/software that they need a lot of time to show it off. If that's not the case, then the Tablet probably won't be what I was hoping it would be.
post #17 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think it can be deduced that there will be a new OS X demo and new SDK. Whether that means iPhone OS SDK, Tablet OS SDK, or both is unknown.

Now this idea intrigues me. Considering that both OS X and Windows 7 are pretty much on par now as far as mainstream operating systems go, the next versions are going to have to be something really damn cool to get people to say anything other than "Oh. A new OS version". This may very very well be a tablet OS...

Even if this tablet comes to be true, the OS will have to really wow people in order to gain any real attention. It can't be just a big iPhone or a small iMac. It's the software that's going to grab people. Look at the iPhone... if the underlying software was utter crap, no one would have given it a second glance.

While I'm rather blase about the tablet rumors (I'll believe it when I see it) if Apple does have one ready to go, I hope against hope that they have come up with something that no one else has even thought of when it comes to a tablet form factor.
post #18 of 83
why does everyone keep thinking developers aren't excited about this? they can respin existing ip and charge the same if not more. if they sold 500,000 downloads on the iphone, they're guaranteed to sell at least half of that (re-purchasing + new customers) on a tablet platform without having to develop the app from scratch.

but if apple was smart, they would create some kind of automated coupon system that automatically gives you 50% off the purchase of any upscaled tablet app that you already purchased for the iphone.
post #19 of 83
No, no. Nothing still suggests games will be a focus on the new platform. They may just announce some more gaming support as part of iPhone OS 4.0. Just gaming-focused blog host may not necessarily be anyone in the gaming industry.

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post #20 of 83
multitasking...that's it! please
post #21 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by wigby View Post

why does everyone keep thinking developers aren't excited about this? they can respin existing ip and charge the same if not more. if they sold 500,000 downloads on the iphone, they're guaranteed to sell at least half of that (re-purchasing + new customers) on a tablet platform without having to develop the app from scratch.

but if apple was smart, they would create some kind of automated coupon system that automatically gives you 50% off the purchase of any upscaled tablet app that you already purchased for the iphone.

Um, pretty much everyone reasonably expects that any Apps they currently own will not be re-purchased for the Tablet in any way.

This isn't the case if go buy myself 3 more iPod Touch, and it's not going to be the case with the Tablet.

If it were, then iFail would be the only appropriate name Apple could give it.
post #22 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by sticknick View Post

Now this idea intrigues me. Considering that both OS X and Windows 7 are pretty much on par now as far as mainstream operating systems go...

I used OS X as a general umbrella term, Im note referring to Mac OS X. A demo for that wont come next week, more likely at WWDC this year. I used OS X instead of specifically stating iPhone OS X 4.0 and Tablet OS X 1.0, of which I think one or both could be demoed next week.
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post #23 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Compelling about music --- no need to endanger iPod/iPhone sales.
Not so much about gaming --- premium game console without any traces of elaborated controller part? the multitouch display just can't fulfill requirements. ummm...

iPhone games seem to be doing just fine. You don't need a dedicated controller, just write games that lend themselves to being touch-driven.
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post #24 of 83
Every web site should be designed to navigate like an itunes LP.. okay maybe not all, but most - how else could we successfully bring the web to these devices... can't wait to see 4.0
post #25 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivan.rnn01 View Post

Compelling about music --- no need to endanger iPod/iPhone sales.
Not so much about gaming --- premium game console without any traces of elaborated controller part? the multitouch display just can't fulfill requirements. ummm...

Well, it's called being creative. The basic controller scheme for console games has not changed in 2 decades and no other other style has become even a little popul.......oh, wait......the iPhone/iPod touch changed all of that. Ok, so what's the next step in multi-touch gaming?

My first answer would be, MORE screen real estate. A 10" sounds like it blow that request out of teh water.

What's next? More input methods? Something more substantial than the accelerometer?
post #26 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Who agrees that at least 50% of iPhone app developers probably did NOT use scalable vector graphics when doing their programming?

For anyone who didn't, it's back to the drawing board, and probably no chance of it being "the same" app.

But then again, why should it be?

There are a lot of developers who use Adobe Illustrator to create graphics and illustrations (character designs, 2-D environments, UI elements, etc.), but the graphics format that is used by iPhone OS is PNG, not SVG.

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post #27 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

There are a lot of developers who use Adobe Illustrator to create graphics and illustrations (character designs, 2-D environments, UI elements, etc.), but the graphics format that is used by iPhone OS is PNG, not SVG.

I'm aware. SVG would not be part of the App itself. They are the source material for the PNG.

Whether or not developers had the foresight to produce original graphics that could be easily scaled and PNG'd at a higher resolution, is entirely up in the air.
post #28 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

Well, it's called being creative. The basic controller scheme for console games has not changed in 2 decades and no other other style has become even a little popul.......oh, wait......the iPhone/iPod touch changed all of that. Ok, so what's the next step in multi-touch gaming?

My first answer would be, MORE screen real estate. A 10" sounds like it blow that request out of teh water.

What's next? More input methods? Something more substantial than the accelerometer?

While gaming on an iPhone is fine, it'll be a little difficult to hold up a 10" 2lb device while playing an FPS or driving game.
post #29 of 83
Games? I think Pop Cap will be pretty quick onto that one with Bejeweled, Peggle, Chuzzle etc. Oh and counting down to the first driving game with tilt steering control...

And I think a big touch screen would be a good format, better than the iPhone, for the old Lucas Arts type stuff like Monkey Island, Full Throttle, Sam & Max... Some of these were HD updated for Xbox Live and Playstation Network as well as the iPhone, so the graphics quality shouldn't be a problem.
post #30 of 83
Inviting Kotaku made me think. Although nog going to happen; wouldn't it be so much fun if Apple never intended to release a tablet but was working on a high-end gaming console for all these years?

That would be a total surprise. Since I love my XBOX so much, I would buy it. OS / hardware makers aren't bad at building gaming consoles. If it is an Apple branded gaming console, it would be expensive, high-end and super cool .. I guess.

Just a random thought .. super excited.
post #31 of 83
I am dead curious how the new device will work with an external keyboard and mouse, if at all. If through Apple or 3rd party add ons the device can be packaged efficiently and used as a laptop, it will become irresistible. I know this is counter to the essence of the tablet, and that it could cannibalize laptop MB sales but if you could park it on an angle and use a bluetooth super slimline keyboard in conjunction with mail / iWorks it will broaden the appeal to business users. Pure lust justified with business rational... how can it fail?
post #32 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

It's more than highly likely that game demos will be 50% or more of the entire keynote. A crying shame, since Apple should be demoing it's own software during their own events.

You should hope that games *don't* make up anything close to 50% of the show.

The tablet is Apples attempt to broaden the platform away from being just a gimmicky phone. They are trying to get very serious here. If the tablet is percieved as just a large game device it will certainly fail.

Recent history has shown that games will show up regardless of whether Apple promotes them or not. I would expect some demos of games running on the larger screen and that they will look good, but the larger screen is obviously for reading, writing, and drawing, not games. Monkey ball works the same on the small screen as it will on the bigger one. Most other games are the same.

Finally, someone has already said it, but if the demo of the tablet and OS itself doesn't take up the majority of the time, then the tablet is also likely a fail. iPhone 4.0 should be (by the numbers), a *major* revision with lots of changes. If that also doesn't take up a very large part of the time the whole event could be similarly fail-ish.
post #33 of 83
In the last few weeks we've seen:

1. This story's suggestion that games will be a focus.

2. The Wall Street Journal story several weeks ago saying Apple was in talks with Disney and CBS about subscription-based access to TV shows.

3. The Wall Street Journal story yesterday saying Apple is in talks with HarperCollins and other publishers about making books available for the tablet.

4. The New York Magazine and Wall Street Journal stories yesterday that the New York Times is expected to make an announcement in the next week about a pay wall to begin a couple of months from now, plus the NYT editor's comments a few months ago about "the impending tablet."

5. The Fox News story yesterday that the announcement next week will include iLife 10 and iPhone 4.

6. Multiple stories the last few weeks about touch-driven, interactive textbooks.

7. Demos in December of touch-driven, interactive versions of Wired and Sports Illustrated.

8. Stories in the last several weeks indicating an SDK for developers to modify iPhone apps to run on the tablet in time for launch in March/April.

9. Apple's purchase of Lala and rumored development today of a web-based version of iTunes/iTunes Store.

Depending on how much of that is true, it points to tons of content to drive tablet sales and accessibility of the content from other Apple devices and browsers and could have the same halo effect that the iPod and iPhone have had for Apple products.
post #34 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I think it can be deduced that there will be a new OS X demo and new SDK. Whether that means iPhone OS SDK, Tablet OS SDK, or both is unknown.

Im not sure why a game developer is confused by the invitation when every single demo of the iPhone and Touch since the SDK announcement has relied heavily on games to showcase the capabilities of the HW.

Agreed, I think a new version of the OS for the tablet and associated SDK is inevitable. I suspect the current iPhone OS will run 'as is' within a special window (supporting cut/copy/paste) so all that is available on the apps store is useable and all in your iTunes library/apps will sync onto the tablet immediately. This gives the tablet 100,000 apps from day one with the release of full screen dedicated apps following asap along with whatever Apple has all ready, iLife 2010 etc. including a new MacPaint hopefully . I can imagine upgrade specials pricing from iPhone to Tablet versions of many apps being offered by the apps store.
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post #35 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiRAGe View Post

Inviting Kotaku made me think. Although nog going to happen; wouldn't it be so much fun if Apple never intended to release a tablet but was working on a high-end gaming console for all these years?

That would be a total surprise. Since I love my XBOX so much, I would buy it. OS / hardware makers aren't bad at building gaming consoles. If it is an Apple branded gaming console, it would be expensive, high-end and super cool .. I guess.

Just a random thought .. super excited.

Assuming the tablet will support games at least as well as the iPhone does, how is it not a high-end gaming console? Because it won't be marketed as something you hook up to your TV?
post #36 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

While gaming on an iPhone is fine, it'll be a little difficult to hold up a 10" 2lb device while playing an FPS or driving game.

That is the beauty of the product range, use the iPhone / iPodTouch when appropriate and the tablet when it is ... and the MacBook/iMac /MacPro when they are. All synced, all simple to use. Plus I suspect there will be technologically game altering (no pun intended) possibilities offered by the tablet to make it unique (until the usual suspects copy it) and a 'must have' for many.
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post #37 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by MiRAGe View Post

Inviting Kotaku made me think. Although nog going to happen; wouldn't it be so much fun if Apple never intended to release a tablet but was working on a high-end gaming console for all these years?

That would be a total surprise. Since I love my XBOX so much, I would buy it. OS / hardware makers aren't bad at building gaming consoles. If it is an Apple branded gaming console, it would be expensive, high-end and super cool .. I guess.

Just a random thought .. super excited.

If Apple ever releases a gaming console, it will be in the form of an updated Apple TV with apps. They wouldn't make a dedicated console, and thus the games probably wouldn't be quite as good as what Sony and Microsoft would have at that time.
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post #38 of 83
posted in the wrong thread... apologies.
post #39 of 83
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

I agree it sounds like ham-handed scam, but would you honestly not pay another $0.30 per song to get FLAC or WAV or Apple Lossless?

I sure as would. Currently I consider it to be a travesty that I have hundreds of dollars worth of sh*t lossy audio that I had no choice but to purchase (work related).

I don't mean to sound hard-assed, but why complain? You KNEW you were buying low-resolution music files. You get what you pay for.

Personally, I haven't spent ONE CENT on those lo-res things. To me, it makes no sense to spend $10 on a digital album that's ripped at low-resolution, when for a few bucks more, I get a CD and can rip it at whatever rate I choose. When I first got an iPod, a ripped some music at 256k, when I didn't like the results with some music (Mahler, Shostakovich, Messiaen, etc.), I re-ripped in Lossless. Now, I just rip everything in Lossless.

Eventually all music files on the iTunes Store should be Apple Lossless. It's long overdue.
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post #40 of 83
Quote:
Porchland;1552076]In the last few weeks we've seen:

Great job tracking and summarizing. All signs point to....... something!

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