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  • Apple Music doubling down on artist-first strategy, adding more live music

    That's fine to focus on the artists.   Unfortunately it seems that they focus mostly on the artists that THEY like rather than the ones I like.

    It would be helpful for them to return the artist spotlight feature that they started with so I could keep up with the artists that like.  It would also be helpful if instead "favorites" being limited to individual songs that it could be extended to artists and albums.

    In a lot of ways, I miss the old record stores where I could go in and hear and learn about new music from artists and genres that I like.   (The genre's Apple uses are mostly pretty worthless to me)
    The problem, George, is that, having all the resources you can possibly dream of, Apple never dared to implement a decent relational database to manage the content. That simple. And of course, a decent interface as to render that information useful. They went the easy way of using the flat file information contained in the metadata of records, provided by some third party service (can't remember the name right now). Even worse, the thing is so absurd that I understand that in some circumstances this hired service has to kind of "shazam" the audio file in order to be able to classify it... (that would be like printing and OCRing each piece of text you want to process, even if it is digitally available). And so, if the same artist is named in three different ways in those metadata files, rendering three different searching results (no AI here...), they simply don't matter. Don't even think about cross-relating records or artists: that would be science fiction for this "AI driven" Apple, because the record information - which musicians are playing, what instruments, when it was recorded, etc- doesn't even exist in Apple's database in the first place. . . But wait! Apple humanly "cures" the content (have you ever heard of another snake-oil like that?).

    It's amazing the truly basic things users are still requesting from Music year after year, yet nothing gets fixed and the service still sucks. No decent database, unusable searching tools, terribly confusing navigation, annoying inconsistencies between Mac and iOS, and -completely unforgivable- still no lossless (among hundreds of flaws). While I'm still paying the Music family plan, I switched to Tidal a couple of months ago (and before that, to iDagio for classical music), and never touched Music again, that I used for several hours daily since it started (and long before that, with iTunes match, etc). Can't be happier with the move. Both are much better in every single aspect... and yes, lossless. Those tiny companies could do it, but not the world's largest one... 
  • Editorial: After taking the premium tier, HomePod will expand in markets Amazon and Google...

    No one claimed a HP is stereo. A single HP does channel separation and bounces the separated channels in different directions. For a single-unit, shelf-speaker solution, that's fine. Its use case is not a "listening room" for positional audio. Dur. It's to fill a room for 300 bucks. Mission accomplished. 

    This is exactly what DED wrote, dude:
    "He also makes the bizarre claim that "it's a mono speaker." HomePod is not a mono speaker. A mono speaker is a single speaker that can only deliver a single channel of audio, resulting in its sound clearly appearing to come from one source. Stereophonic sound uses multiple speakers to deliver at least two slightly different sound channels to create a wider soundscape. HomePod is a stereo speaker. It uses a ring of seven tweeters to send out stereo sound that creates a wide, surrounding sense of stereophonic sound reproduction.
    Apple also supports a feature that lets you "stereo pair" two HomePods to deliver even wider sound..."

    Both DED and Apple claim that HoPs ARE stereo speakers. Apple spent large minutes in one presentation specifically in this point. And, btw, if you talk about "high quality sound", this, stereo imaging, is the very first thing you must acomplish. By its very non directional nature, unless software modifies its current behavior (which Apple isn't doing, as it would need to track the user for that), it is not. That is clear as water. But Kirk McElhearn dared to mention it. And so, he is condemned to hell, right?
  • Editorial: After taking the premium tier, HomePod will expand in markets Amazon and Google...

    No, it's not a great article. The problem with Daniel is that each time somebody has the adventurousness to criticize anything about Apple, even when that person Is a known Apple follower like Kirk, DED vomites his diatribes to him. DED: HoPs are not good sounding speakers, they are not even a decent stereo speaker. If you keep sustaining that, we must conclude you don't have a clue of what you are talking about.

    Kirk is absolutely right. HoPs were promoted by Apple as high fidelity alternative to the crap of "smart" speakers out there (And I agree they are crap: precisely the point). But it fell absolutely short in that, in spite of the spectacular possibilities its stellar technological design could have allowed. It is NOT a stereo speaker, it is a boom-box aberration regarding faithful music reproduction. The fact that it has an array of tweeters pointing in all directions, with some software controlling its dispersion patterns, doesn't make it a "stereo speaker" if it is not properly controlled by software, and working in tandem, software that this now fat-Apple is just too lazy to do. The stereo experience requires a precise and controlled projection of sound, to a specific point in space where the listener is located; it requires a control of the phasing of waves between both speakers, in order to project each instrument at a specific virtual point in space. Requires the recreation of depth of the recorded event. The HoPs do exactly the opposite in all those aspects. The only aim of Apple is to fill with sound the room, not to recover the spatial event engraved in the record.

    Among many disappointments I had with Apple in the recent years, the way they've been handling all what's related with music is the biggest one. Music interface is almost unusable; the flaws in the service counts by the hundreds, and I found new ones almost daily; the unbelievable refusal (approaching 2020!), to stream lossless music (at least, as a paid option) is just infuriating: Apple may have exquisite retina displays, transmit 4K video content in high quality, but an't transmit music in the same HQ fashion, when it would demand a tiny fraction of te bandwidth of video?. The promises unfulfilled by HomePod are perplexing. Not to talk about the performance of Siri as the main way to command HoPs: Siri IS bad by nature; a Siri that has to trust in an inexistent relational database of music is simply useless.

    Why doesn't a pair of HoPs make a better acoustic scanning of the room, given they could triangulate every detected response with both working in tandem, for much better adaptive sound patterns? Why that awfully bass-heavy tuning of the units? Why they can't track users position and give a true *stereo* experience (without that, a pair of omnidirectional speakers only make things worse: they just render a mud of sound)? etc.
    The article hopes for the HoP upgrade coming in two weeks. Apple will certainly move exactly in the opposite direction of the initial promise: a Speaker that would disrupt the home audio market, they way Apple used to do. 

    Knowing I had to upgrade my speakers, I waited and waited for the HomePods first to handle a paired stereo, then to finally arrive to my country -literally for years-. And yet, after all this time they are still not available here. When I finally got them, OMG, what a disappointment!. I end up buying a pair of used KEF LS50 (the passive ones) at little more than the price of one HoP, and the quality is order of magnitude better than that boom-box of Apple. THAT is nice stereo, DED, not the HoPs! THAT is, at least if not even better, what Apple was supposed to do with the HoPs! Then I wonder: why the spectacular ten anechoic chambers they built, why the stellar team of world renowned acoustic engineers recruited for the project, why all that: for that piece of sh...?

    In the end, I think Apple at some point in time lost sight of what is the true purpose of this product. I think that low IQ of Iovine had much to do with that, he must have pushed the company to make the boombox HoP finally is, just like his Beats headphones crap. And the result could be -awfully- listened.
    bigtdsgatorguyavon b7