Apple interrupts Real's Harmony

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
An Apple firmware update has disrupted Real's Harmony.



Apple Computer has quietly updated its iPod software so that songs purchased from RealNetworks' online music store will no longer play on some of the Mac maker's popular MP3 players, CNet News.com is reporting. The move could render tunes purchased by many iPod owners unplayable on their music players.



In March of this year, RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser used several avenues to exhort Apple to open up the iPod to additional file formats. Each request was successively denied.



To combat Apple's unfavorable response, Real in July announced its Harmony technology, which lets users play music bought and downloaded from its online music store on the iPod. To create Harmony, Real created a way to translate songs downloaded from Real's store from Real's Helix DRM scheme to an equivalent of Apple's FairPlay when loaded onto an iPod.



Apple immediately responded to the announcement of Harmony in a public statement, claiming that Real "adopted the tactics and ethics of a hacker to break into the iPod."



In this initial effort to block Harmony, Apple reportedly made changes to the iPod's firmware, which is the low-level software that powers consumer electronics such as MP3 players and cellphones. The changes apparently came in an update to the iPod software released by the company in mid-November.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    Apple Computer has quietly updated its iPod software so that songs purchased from RealNetworks' online music store will no longer play on some of the Mac maker's popular MP3 players, CNet News.com is reporting.url][/c]



    Where has journalism gone?



    I've got a gripe with cnet on this one. While I don't doubt that Apple purposefully disabled RealNetwork compatibility, it shouldn't be reported as fact! It would have better stated as 'Apple Computer has quietly updated its iPod software and songs purchased from RealNetworks' online music store will no longer play on some...'
  • Reply 2 of 24
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by AppleInsider

    In March of this year, RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser used several avenues to exhort Apple to open up the iPod to additional file formats. Each request was successively denied.



    um, slight typo there... it should read "...RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser used several avenues to extort..."



    sorry, couldn't resist.



    also, apple made it quite clear that any songs purchased with using harmony in mind to play back on an ipod would probably fail in a future firmware update. now watch as glaser cries foul...
  • Reply 3 of 24
    Harmony no longer works? Pity.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    They don't KNOW whether this is true or not? And whether anything but the Photo model is affected? Just try it!



    It's not hard to find iPod owners... must be hard to find Harmony users
  • Reply 5 of 24
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by dfiler

    Where has journalism gone?



    Well, for starters, we're reading this on AppleInsider and besides, isn't this what the internet is all about? I mean, I've lost count of all the times I've come across shoddy reporting on the web. The line between op-ed and journalism disintegrated online sometime around 1996.



    Funny thing is that I guess that people hadn't noticed this for about a month if these changes really did come out with the iPod photo. If a tree falls in a forest....



    Still, I'm sure Real and Apple are going to go tit-for-tat on this one.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    marzetta7marzetta7 Posts: 1,320member
    Good for Apple! Give Real a nice T-bag to remember them by!
  • Reply 7 of 24
    xoolxool Posts: 2,460member
    We're talking about the 11/15 iPod update, right? I find it funny that it took almost a month before someone noticed that Harmony broke.



    What does that say about the number of Harmony users?
  • Reply 8 of 24
    ebbyebby Posts: 3,110member
    Why is this being reported now? That update was November 15, and nonetheless, we insiders already knew this was going to happen with the next update. There was a huge debate on the topic.



    Am I the only one getting the feeling of Deja Vue here, or did someone elsewhere already report this like months ago?
  • Reply 9 of 24
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    AFAIK, this is the first wave of reports of this actually happening. We all knew it was coming, or at least debated the inevitability of it, but I don't recall anyone saying this update actually did as much until now. I could be wrong though. It could have slipped under my radar, or MacSurfer's.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    If someone with an ipod actually used a differant online music store, that would be a symtom of bad marketing on part of apple, but itunes is the one thing apple has acctualy gotten the word out on, my question is has anyone outside of reals researchers accualy tried real on the ipod?
  • Reply 11 of 24
    Real has all this talk about "Freedom of Choice" and freedom of music, blah blah blah.



    Hey, if Real offered its downloads as MP3s without DRM, their stuff would continue to work on the iPod just fine!



    Freedom from DRM, Real. But if you have to have DRM, Apple's is the least restrictive.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    pbg4 dudepbg4 dude Posts: 1,611member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Xool

    We're talking about the 11/15 iPod update, right? I find it funny that it took almost a month before someone noticed that Harmony broke.



    What does that say about the number of Harmony users?




    I read that only iPod Photo players cannot play Real's files. I downloaded the 11/15 update and my 20GB 2G iPod was not updated, i.e. no firmware update was released for older iPods.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    While it is certainly interesting to note the Harmony userbase is so infinetesimal that no one actually noticed this between Nov 15th and today, it is dissapointing that Apple is disabling capabilities in the ipod because of the lame shift in tone that it represents.



    I mean, come on, all this talk about open source unixy goodness and then Apple goes and get in a hissy fit about some other company getting something to run on their product? Is Harmony gonna sell less iPods or something? One good reason to be a hardware company (making your money on the hardware) is so that you can avoid this type of pig headedness. When Sony got into their own record labels and into their own stupid file formats (atrac anyone?) and building walls around their crippled hardware, that was the point at which they stumbled to the extent that it opened up the consumer space the iPod now dominates.



    If no one is using Harmony (and why would anyone? Real Sux!) then why not let it die by itself rather than look like a bastard and shift mindsets from the bold optimism of "lets compete with free" to "lets break our user's iPods to makee them buy music from us?" One has to admit there is a world of difference here.



    Steve, I love you buddy, but don't go all funny on us again .. . .
  • Reply 14 of 24
    I am not sure Apple did this out of spite. If they did, wouldn't they go back and change the firmware of *every* single last iPod to prevent it from working with the competition?

    They did build a new product with new features that doesn't work with a program that reverse engineered a way into the old product.



    My version of freedom of choice is that Real ought to support all of its services on the Mac (thereby giving Mac users the choice to use them) before complaining about Apple.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Curufinwe

    I mean, come on, all this talk about open source unixy goodness and then Apple goes and get in a hissy fit about some other company getting something to run on their product?



    well, let us not forget that glaser was the one to throw the FIRST hissy fit. i don't think steve went immediately to the online news sites when he told rob "no." he just said "no." and then rob asked again, and steve said "no." then rob decided that he'd try to pressure steve by asking again, VIA the online news sites, while simultaneously saying that if steve didn't, he wanted all the toys for himself and screwing his customers out of freedom of choice. steve, as you might expect, took a bit of umbrage to having his name not dragged through the mud, but certainly skipped across a muddy pond, and just flat-out didn't respond. then rob declared a friggin' jihad against apple and their ipod with their "freedom of choice" website, online petition (which, let us recall went down in FLAMES the first time for all the people telling rob he could lose some weight by releasing some of that sh!t he was full of), etc., etc,. etc.



    i mean, you have to admit, you must be pretty barking mad to make STEVEN P. JOBS look like the model of decorum.
  • Reply 16 of 24
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    by the way, i wonder if the people who took up real on their promise of "your songs will work on the ipod via harmony" now have a right to sue REAL for false or misleading promises. i mean, real told its customers DIRECTLY that this solution would allow them to play music on their ipods, and apple said "um, maybe now, but not for long". unless real actually wants to devote resources to always reverse-engineering apple's ipod with each new firmware update.



    of course, then again, this is the same company that took a huge LOSS in a fire sale to increase "market-share" which has since evaporated, so...
  • Reply 17 of 24
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rok

    . . .unless real actually wants to devote resources to always reverse-engineering apple's ipod with each new firmware update.





    Yeah, that type of cycle of manifest maturity would be wonderful for both companies. . .



    Do we have confirmation that non photo ipods still play Harmony?
  • Reply 18 of 24
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by rok

    ...unless real actually wants to devote resources to always reverse-engineering apple's ipod with each new firmware update.



    Software vendors do it for the .dwg format and others all the time. While firmware might be trickier, there's a precedent for this cat and mouse game.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    From the real music store faq section:



    Here are the simple steps to make your ipod work with real music store. Wow you might as well kill yourself, before going through all this. Or just buy from iTunes.



    -----------------------



    To set up your Apple iPod to be fully compatible with RealPlayer, you will need to do the following:





    - Install the iPod software and iTunes

    - Update iTunes

    - Update your iPod software

    - Activate your iPod

    - Enable disk use option in iTunes

    - Turn off automatic synchronization in iTunes

    - Install the iPod plugin for RealPlayer 10

    Step 1: Install the iPod 2.1 software and iTunes.



    BEFORE YOU BEGIN: DO NOT connect your iPod until requested to do so by your iPod installation software.



    Note: The installation experience may vary depending on your version of the iPod and iPod software. If you encounter any problems during the first six sections, please contact Apple Technical Support.





    1. Ensure that your iPod is not attached to your computer.

    2. To see if the iPod software has been installed yet, click Start and go to Programs.

    - If you see an item called iPod, you have already installed your iPod software. Stop here and go to the next section, Ensure you have the latest version of iTunes.

    - If you do not see this item, continue with these instructions.

    3. Insert the iPod CD that came with your device.

    4. The Installation CD automatically begins to run. If it does not, open My Computer and double-click the CD drive that holds the installation CD.

    5. Select your preferred language and click OK. Setup will begin configuring the Windows InstallShield Wizard. When it is finished, a picture of your iPod will appear.

    6. Click Install.

    7. Follow the on-screen instructions to register your product.

    8. When the registration portion is completed, you will be asked if you want to configure your iPod. Follow the on-screen instructions to properly configure your iPod.

    9. When this is finished, you will be asked to install iTunes. Follow the on-screen instructions to properly install iTunes.

    10. When the iTunes installer has finished, the screen will disappear for a few moments and then pop back up, asking you to restart your machine. Select Yes, I want to restart my computer now.

    11. Click Finish. Your computer will restart.

    Step 2. Ensure you have the latest version of iTunes.



    1. Click Start, and go to Programs > iTunes > iTunes.

    2. When iTunes has started, click the Help menu and select Check for iTunes Updates.

    3. If a new version of iTunes is available, you will be asked if you want to download it. Click Yes. This redirects you to Apple's iTunes download site.

    4. Follow the instructions on the screen to download the iTunes installer.

    5. When the download of the iTunes installer is complete, start the file to install the latest version of iTunes. Restart your computer when prompted to do so.

    Step 3. Ensure you have the latest iPod software.



    1. Click Start, and go to Programs > iPod > System Software > Updater.

    2. Allow the updater to load. If the iPod software is lower than 2.1, please visit www.apple.com/ipod/download to download the latest version available for your specific iPod.

    Step 4. Activate your iPod.



    Note: You will only need to do this the very first time you open iTunes with your iPod attached.





    1. Open iTunes. Your iPod should be detected automatically by iTunes. If it does not, turn off your computer, unplug your iPod when your iPod says it is safe to do so, and restart your computer. When the computer has completely restarted, plug the iPod back in and then open iTunes.

    2. The iPod Setup Assistant starts.

    3. Name your iPod and click Finish.

    Step 5. Check if disk use is disabled in iTunes.



    RealPlayer will not be able to detect your iPod if disk use is disabled in iTunes. To resolve this issue, enable disk use in iTunes:





    1. Open iTunes on your desktop computer.

    2. In iTunes, right-click the iPod image.

    3. Left-click iPod Options.

    4. Select the Enable Disk Use check box.

    5. When a warning box appears, stating that you will need to manually eject the device, click OK.

    - Note: This message means that before unplugging your iPod from the computer, you will need to use the Eject Device feature of iTunes or RealPlayer, or the Microsoft utility called Unplug or Eject Hardware or Safely remove hardware. On Windows 2000 and Windows XP, all FireWire and USB devices must be disabled before you can unplug them.

    6. Click OK.

    7. Close iTunes.





    RealPlayer should now be able to detect your device.

    Step 6: Turn off automatic synchronization in iTunes.



    1. From within iTunes, right-click your iPod and left-click on iPod Options.

    2. Place the dot next to Manually manage songs and playlists.

    - Note: This change is essential because the default setting of iTunes 4.2 automatically synchronizes your iPod library with the iTunes library. If you leave it at the default setting, every time you open iTunes with your iPod attached, all songs placed on the device by a program other than iTunes will be erased from the iPod.

    3. Click OK twice and close iTunes.

    Step 7. Install the iPod plugin for RealPlayer 10.



    1. Ensure that your iPod is connected to your computer.

    2. Open RealPlayer.

    3. Click the Tools menu and select Add A New Device.

    4. A Portable Devices window opens. In the Apple iPod section, click the Install the device for RealPlayer 10 link.

    5. Follow the on-screen instructions, choosing all defaults. When the installation is complete you will be asked to restart the RealPlayer.

    6. Click OK to restart RealPlayer 10.

    7. When the player opens you will be redirected to the Burn/Transfer section of RealPlayer 10. Click the drop-down arrow next to Current Burner/Device and select your iPod.





    Your iPod is now properly configured for use with RealPlayer 10.
  • Reply 20 of 24
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Holy crap! You'd have to be pretty f'en cheap, studid, and persistant to make use of those directions. (There are some people who can use Real without needing exact and laborious instructions.)



    Those directions seem to be only good for covering Real's ass. Either that or someone at Real still "doesn't get it". The iPod/iTunes/iTMS are successful entirely because no lengthy list of directions are required. Real's directions are far too lengthy to be useful to anyone who actually needs directions.
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