Apple Archive

How Apple Could Extend Music Sharing to Your iPod and Your Stereo

- 2006.02.10

This past week I finally discovered a use for the music sharing feature in iTunes. The idea came to me while I was working on a friend's computer.

His roommates happened to have the music sharing option turned on, so their libraries were available on his computer. I didn't think much about this until I realized that the other roommates were all using Windows PCs.

This gave me the idea to share the music on my PC so I could listen to it on my Mac.

It wasn't that I didn't know you could do this - I did know - it was just that I'd never thought to use the feature in this way. I'd imported a bunch of CDs on my PC while I was still using my blue G3. The CD-ROM drive in that G3 frequently had trouble reading audio CDs.

Even though the G5 I'm currently using can import a CD in just a couple of minutes, why use the hard drive space if I don't have to?

Not only does iTunes music sharing put another link in the bridge between Mac and PC, it also gives others on your network an excellent way to learn about some new music that they wouldn't have otherwise discovered. This especially works well in a roommate situation.

iTunes Music SharingIt also raises the question: What will come next for music sharing?

There are two possibilities that I'd like to see. Everyone seems to be carrying an iPod these days, and it would be nice to be able to listen to what a friend's listening to, perhaps while traveling together. This could most likely be accomplished using Bluetooth. giving your friend have access to your music library while someone sitting across the plane from you wouldn't have access.

Sure, this could be an add-on to the existing iPod line, but putting Bluetooth music sharing on the next generation iPod would provide an incentive for people to buy new iPods.

An iTunes Stereo Component

It would also be nice if Apple offered some kind of stereo component to complement the music sharing technology. While my new computer speakers are certainly not bad, my stereo system sounds far better.

Components like this are already out there, but they are largely expensive. For example, the Olive Symphony retails for US$899. It has a built-in hard drive to store imported CDs, a nice display so you can view what's playing, connects to your wireless network to get CD track names, and lets you view the music library that's on your computer, among other things. However, it won't play iTunes Music Store tracks, which might be a problem for those who have purchased downloads from Apple.

The other problem is that $899 is a bit much to ask consumers to spend, and the Symphony offers a lot of features that many will never use (such as being able to directly copy CDs to it's hard drive).

It would be interesting if Apple came out with a roughly $300 device that allowed you to play the music that's on your computer through 802.11g while displaying the track name and artist. This goes way beyond Apple's US$129 AirPort Express, which has no screen and has iTunes control the process.

This device should also be able to dock with the iPod, playing music stored on the iPod and charging it in the process.

This unit wouldn't need its own hard drive, and it would be interesting if it offered the option to record from tapes and LPs directly into MP3 or AAC format and store the songs on your iPod - or maybe in your Mac's iTunes library. There should be no legal problems, as you would have to have the tape or LP in order to rip the music. (Sure, you might borrow it from a friend, but you can also borrow a CD from a friend and import it into iTunes on your computer.)

A relatively inexpensive device like this should be able to connect to a standard component stereo system as well as an all-in-one sound system (bookshelf stereo, boom box, etc.) via the auxiliary connections. And it would be nice if it was able to fit within a standard stereo cabinet without requiring the top shelf or that it be placed on the top of the cabinet.

The idea of being able to access your music from different computers is great, and it's about time for Apple to extend the idea to iPods and stereo systems.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Today's Links

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac

Low End Mac's store


Open Link