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Apple’s confusing method of device authorization and association

The iTunes Store was launched 14 years ago today, and has morphed from its initial music-only offering to embrace all forms of digital media. It’s now just another digital purveyor among many, though still the leading seller of digital music in the world.

While music files were protected with digital rights management (DRM) in the early years, it’s now been eight years since this was removed. But other types of content sold on the iTunes Store still have DRM: movies, TV shows, apps, audiobooks, ebooks, and ringtones. For these types of media with DRM, there are restrictions as to how many devices you can use.

It gets complicated, though, because there are two types of restrictions. The first is for computers that are authorized to sync and play content from the iTunes Store, and the second is for devices that are allowed to download and play iTunes Store purchases.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

Here’s What You’d Have if You Broke Up iTunes on the Desktop

The iTunes Store is 14 years old today, and these sorts of anniversaries are always good times to reflect on the state of a service, or an app. I think the iTunes Store is mature, comprehensive, and relatively easy to use. But what crossed my mind this morning is the suggestion I often hear that the iTunes app, on Mac and Windows, should be split into several more focused apps.

People who suggest this point to the iOS model, where there are separate apps. There’s a Music app, an iTunes Store app, an App Store app, and so on. There are a total of seven different apps, in fact.

This approach makes sense on iOS for several reasons. First, iOS is a one-app-one-window operating system. You can switch between apps almost like you switch between windows on the desktop, and these apps only have limited screen space (since they have to work on the iPhone), and having multiple tabs or menus isn’t practical.

But there are a lot of apps; seven in fact.

And there’s one that you would need on the desktop that doesn’t exist on iOS: it would be called Sync, for example.

Remember that iTunes on the desktop is not just for playing and downloading files, but it’s also for file management – such as creating playlists and editing metadata – and for syncing content to iOS devices. So no matter how you split iTunes, you would need a sync app somewhere.

But is it really logical to have eight separate apps on the desktop to do what iTunes does? I see no justification for this, no matter how feature-loaded iTunes is, and no matter how people think it should be trimmed down. Yes, iTunes has problems, but I can’t see that turning it into eight apps would make things any better. It would become an unwieldy suite of apps, instead of a single app, and users would be much more confused than they are now.

How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’ – The Guardian

Here are some things that you can’t do with a Kindle. You can’t turn down a corner, tuck a flap in a chapter, crack a spine (brutal, but sometimes pleasurable) or flick the pages to see how far you have come and how far you have to go. You can’t remember something potent and find it again with reference to where it appeared on a right- or left-hand page. You often can’t remember much at all. You can’t tell whether the end is really the end, or whether the end equals 93% followed by 7% of index and/or questions for book clubs. You can’t pass it on to a friend or post it through your neighbour’s door.

Let’s see… You can bookmark an ebook, search for anything you want, and you can see how far you are from the end of a book, though I agree that in books with lots of notes this percentage is deceptive. You can share books with your family using Kindle Family Library, but it’s true you cannot just give or lend a book to a friend.

Yes, ebook sales are slowing down, because publishers saw them eating away at print book sales and raised the prices of ebooks. But are they? This article, which is talking about the death of ebooks and the resurgence of print, says that, “Digital book sales overall are up 6%.”

Once upon a time, people bought books because they liked reading. Now they buy books because they like books.

No, I doubt it. People are still buying books because they like to read. It’s not like books have become some sort of fetish object.

Ebooks are very practical. If you travel, if you read long books, if you like reading books with a font that’s big enough, and for many other reasons, ebooks and great. I own thousands of books, and I read on my Kindle regularly; probably about one fourth of the books I read are ebooks.

They’re not dead, they’re not going away, but they were more popular when they were cheaper. But publishers decided they’d rather sell print books, so they raised the prices of ebooks to make them less attractive. Duh.

Source: How eBooks lost their shine: ‘Kindles now look clunky and unhip’ | Books | The Guardian

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Writings about Macs, music, and more by Kirk McElhearn