Happy 5th Birthday iTunes

iTunesiTunes is celebrating five years today. In 2003 Apple launched the iTunes Store to work with the iPod. When iTunes launched, Apple was only selling music from the store. In just five short years they have expanded the store to selling Movies, TV Shows, and Games. You can also subscribe to your favorite Podcasts for free from the iTunes store. At the beginning of this year Apple updated their Apple TV to Apple TV Take 2. With this update they introduced movie rentals that can be rented either from your Apple TV or your computer.

Moreover, last year Apple opened the iTunes store to the iPhone and iPod Touch. This is a great feature, because you can shop for you music on your iPhone or iPod Touch. Then the next time you connect your device to your computer it will transfer the downloads to your computer. Now with Apple releasing the iPhone Software 2.0 in a couple of months you will also be able to purchase applications from iTunes right onto your iPhone or iPod Touch.

Apple continues to make the iTunes Store more convenient and innovative with every upgrade. Who knows in five years you might be doing all of you Apple purchases through the iTunes Store.

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Apple TV Take 2

apple-tvI bought my Apple TV last year when it first came out. Yeah I am an early adopter. After seeing what it could do I had to have it. I was tired of connecting my iPod to my TV every time I wanted to watch something from iTunes. At the time Apple called the Apple TV their hobby. I guess because the iPhone was coming out the same year, they were focusing much of their attention and marketing towards the iPhone. Critics had their own take on it. They wanted it to be a TiVo, DVD Player, and purchase content from the iTunes Store directly from the Apple TV. The first two I really could do without, since I have those devices it seemed a bit redundant to me. However, to purchase content from the iTunes Store would be a great feature. I had hoped they would have that ability when they released the very first update to the Apple TV. Consequently, they did not, but they added YouTube videos that could be watched directly on your TV. They were headed in the right direction, slow as it might have been, but it was a start.

Then at Macworld 2008 Steve Jobs introduced Apple TV Take 2. When I first heard it about, I thought to myself I better sell my current Apple TV so that I could get the new one. But, Steve had an ace up his sleeve. All the current owners of the Apple TV were able to download Take 2 as an update, and have the same features and capabilities as the new ones that were going to be sold. Now with Take 2 you could purchase content directly from the iTunes Store, and also rent movies in Hi-Def and Standard Def. This is what most of us have been waiting for. When the update was made available I downloaded it, and I instantly started to rent movies. The Hi-Def movies look great on my LG 47″ 1080P LCD TV, and the 5.1 surround sound is also excellent. I did notice every now and then a small pop in the audio, or glitch in the video. Otherwise this is a great alternative to having to go the video store to rent movies. It’s even better than using NetFlix or Blockbuster Online. Because when you are done watching the movie it deletes itself.

The one thing that I and pretty much everyone would like to see Apple do is increase the viewing time once the movie has started. Currently you have 30 days to watch the movie once it is downloaded; which I think is great. However, once you start the movie you have 24 hours to complete watching it. This is great if you don’t have children or a busy schedule, but if you do it really doesn’t allow enough time for viewing. This really affects the HD rented movies, and not the Standard Def movies. The Standard Def movies can be transferred to you iPod or computer, so that you can continue watching the movie from where you left off.

The iTunes store has been a great resource for my wife and I when our Satellite Receiver decides to glitch and not record our TV shows. Two weeks in a row our Satellite Receiver failed to record Jericho. So, I went to the Apple TV located Jericho under TV Shows, and within 20 seconds my wife and I were watching the TV Show with no commercials or fast forwarding. It was great. What makes it even better is that when I opened iTunes on my iMac it automatically synced the downloaded shows onto my computer. This is why I love Apple products. They work seemlessly with one another. Apple TV Take 2, receives 2 thumbs up from me.