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Open Letter to Apple

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It would be really nice if Apple made a few simple tweaks to accommodate audiophiles. It is amazing to me how many people on this site are influenced to buy Macs, Minis and touches because Apple is so close to having a perfect set of products to support music serving. And it is distressing how many people have to work around their short comings. So here is my wish list from Apple. We need a little love here Apple.


1) Support auto detection of bit rate/sample rate in Itunes

2) Upgrade the toslink output to support 24/192 on all apple products

3) Offer hi-res downloads from the Itunes store.

4) Upgrade the sync on Apple TV to allow his res-file transfer


There's a lot more macs, macbooks, minis, ATVs, and hi-res downloads to be sold based on recommendations right here on this site.


Is it possible to harness the power of the CA and influence Apple?








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...and with iPods, & Remote.app - is lack of Word Wrap!! In classical music track titles, artists/conductors, & composers can all be too long to display properly.


There also need to be more ways of browsing the library to improve usability with classical music: e.g. by Genre->Composer->Grouping->Artist->Track (where Grouping is used for a work opus/catalogue number).




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Apart from the excellent points made by other members of this forum, could I ask Apple to reinstate Firewire Port to all MacBooks?


Currently, only the White MacBook and MacBook Pro feature firewire ports.


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because USB has obliterated it. If Apple had it's way, USB would have stayed at v 1.1 for keyboards and mice, sort of like the old ADB standard, and firewire would be used for higher throughput, bandwidth and time sensitive data transfers. Alas, USB 2.0 came out which could do both reasonable well. It costs less, comes standard on all intel boards, game over.




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I would want the Airport Express to be 24/192, but there are loads of consumers out there that are just as happy with its 16.44.1, and I think they may represent the majority.


What would be a perfect addition to Apple's product line would be an Airport Express Extreme, with 24/96 coaxial out capability, instead of optical. Hi-rez for the audiophile minority with a not so much increased added expense to hurt Apple's bottom line. Now THAT would be awesome:)




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I talk to these guys weekly. Most about problems and fixes. You may think all of this is simple stuff but really there is a good reason for all of it.


The sample rate thing has been beaten to death. I imagine there will be some programs supporting this soon either as plugin's to iTunes or an alternative program.


Toslink to 192k... funny it hardly works well at 44.1 at 192k the toslink transmitter is spitting out mostly garbage.


Hey I want Flac and heck I downloaded the latest xCode and there is tons of sample apps for Flac... so why isn't it in iTunes????


High Res downloads... not anytime soon. But as soon as the DRM stuff clears I think full content redbook will be available. I would not expect anything more than that.





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I am using an iMac for both my desktop and music server via optical. I don't think it's possible now (if it is someone PLEASE explain), but it would be great if I could switch between my built-in speakers and the optical out connection. When I insert the toslink cable the built-in speakers are disabled, but to get them working again I have to remove the toslink cable. It would be much nicer if I could just configure iTunes for example to use the inserted toslink cable and everything else my built-in speakers.


I don't think the built-in speakers are electronically disabled when I insert the toslink cable because when I boot up my mac I here the initial mac sound coming from the speakers and then everything else is redirected through the cable.


Anyone else have this issue?


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Try this: With your optical out connection 'connected' and working, open the system preferences panel and select the "Sound" application. When that is open, you will see three tabs near the top: "Sound Effects, Output and Input". Select "Sound Effects". Near the middle of the box now will be the selector "Play alerts and sound effects through:". With your current setup you should see your DAC shown in the selector just to the right there, but you can change that. click on the box and choose "Internal Speakers". That should do it. Your music should come from your external sound card and system alerts, alarms, etc. should come from the internal speakers.


If you mean that you only want to play back music from iTunes and have say DVD player's sound to come from the internal speakers, you will have to change the setting for which sound output you want to use by choosing the "Output" tab in the example above and selecting the internal speakers as the output device. This will have to be done manually at the point that you want watch the DVD (in this example). Then switch the output device back to the external sound device when you want to listen to iTunes again.


Your startup sound comes from your internal speaker during startup because the external sound source drivers have not yet loaded or initialized at the point of system startup, therefore the internal speakers are the only device available to play sound at that point.


Hope this helps



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I will support the cause, but I have a different priority list.


1. Lossless downloads in the iTunes Store, with a plan of offering 24/96 or higher in the future.


2. Native FLAC support. I don't use FLAC, but I would be more likely to, if Apple would support it.


3. Improve meta data and album art. Clean up the "artist" info and make sure album art is a good resolution.


4. Allow me to customize my view and let me REMOVE GENRE, if I want. Genre is the most useless bunch of information, and I have to look at it.


5. Allow automatic sample rate to switch between 16 and 24 bit.


6. Allow the AirPort Express to stream audio through it's USB output.


7. Allow me to have a NAS or Apple Time Capsule with ALL of my music, and then sync that music to a MacBook, like an iPod. This way I can have my music library at home, and take what I want with me when I'm traveling, without loading and reloading the music in the iTunes library on my MacBook.


Over all, I have to say that Apple has done a fantastic job of building a great music hardware and software solution. Keep up the good work!


Thank YOU!


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5. Enhance AirTunes to allow wireless transmission from remote computer via Airport Extreme at 24 / 96 so can be picked up by AppleTV etc and connected by optical cable to DAC in HiFi system.


ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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Pretty much agree with the feature requests mentioned before but also want ...


Support for having files in multiple formats ... I want a lossless format for playback on my main system and iPod classic; but also to have a lossy version sorted for use on iPhone. I know I can have two copies and use playlists, etc but why can't it do like it does with HD video and have two copies under one title and play / sync the best version it can (preferably automatically)


Better networking features ... either the ability to synchronise files between libraries or (even better) having full access to files on remote computers without you realizing it. Just have all the music visible under the Library - maybe give a little icon to show it's on a remote system. That way I can have all my iTunes see the main library file without messing around with manually linking and importing files, etc.


Finally - the whole library structure needs replacing / rewriting to use a proper database rather than XML file which doesn't scale very well. This would definitely help with my second request above too ...


Anyway I'm sure Apple get 100 requests a week and thats just from journalists, etc ... so we're rather in the position of getting what Steve and friends think is right ... which I must say generally works. I really don't think they are that interested in "minority" functionality and requests from nobodies like us.






...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Great Ideas! Multiple formats and better networking would be wonderful. Especially syncing with a "Master Library".


I agree that some of our requests are "petty" for Apple to deal with, but I also think some of these features are going to be in more demand as consumers want to share and access their music (content) in different ways.


I also think that Microsoft's attempt to integrated DLNA into Windows 7 and Windows Media Player 12 will challenge Apple.


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I am aware of how to add/remove columns, but since iTunes 8, the "genre" button is always there for "grid view".


I never (and I mean NEVER) look up music by "genre", and if I were to, the way iTunes (and most other programs) categorize "genre" is a big mess. I wish they would just allow us to completely turn the "genre" option off, like Apple did before iTunes 8.


I realize this is a issue for me, but I know a lot of other people who say they never use "genre" either. Please, "Just Say No" to genre! :)


Now, back to the music....


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Nice catch TimbrePitch! I hadn't noticed that, but I do not use Grid View anyway.... I agree with you totally - Genre is absolutely useless to me as well.


Here HEAR for the music! ....... right after the NBA playoff games tonight....


- markr


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if you add your own genres, because it then allows more rapid access to music in large collections. For example I have added genres: Classical - early, Classical - baroque, Classical - classical, Classical - romantic, Classical - modern, Classical - contemporary (and similarly for jazz) to the standard list. When I rip a CD that defaults to "Classical" I can immediately find it in my 40000 tracks, and edit its genre to the appropriate genre I have created. Similarly when playing tracks it is faster to go straight to one of the genres I have created as there is less 'classical' to search.

When using iPod touch as remote this is not so important because the search facilities are better, but it is still more convenient having the extra genres I have defined.


ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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The best bit for most of us is the way the apple software works in general and has been design by someone who has a sense of ergonomics and usability. It is certainly not perfect but I spend most of my life constantly amazed by the sheer ugliness and ineptness of Windows. In addition the apple hardware is head and shoulders above the PC. My HP work laptop is 6 months old and is almost ready for the scrap heap whereas my first gen Macbook Pro looks and works as well as the day it was bought three years ago.


Gordon - You are a perfectionist I'm not quite sure why you hate optical - it usually sounds fine to me - but you wouldn't want to attach one of your beautiful dacs to a Dell or HP would you...I mean really??


yours, aesthetically pleased, tog


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not only do i customize it like you do, but before you rip a CD you can change the genre, and anything else in the info section for that matter, before you rip so it goes into the library the way you want it. This way you don't have to search and change afterwards.


This applies to iTunes 7 as I haven't jumped to v8 yet. So far, I'm in no hurry.




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I notice that most of the items on the wishlists above have to do with iTunes. IMO, putting too many hopes on iTunes isn't likely to produce the results we want. To put it in context, iTunes does not generate a dime of direct revenue for Apple. iTunes exists to serve as an enabler for Apple's revenue-generating media businesses: iPod, iPhone, iTunes Store, AirTunes, AppleTV. Building the most powerful, flexible music library manager is not the primary focus.


For instance, try to imagine you're the product manager for iTunes, and you're telling Steve Jobs that iTunes should support this new open format (FLAC) that is delivered only from competitive music stores, and won't play back on any Apple media hardware. How long do you think you'll keep your job? 24/96 downloads currently don't generate enough revenue to constitute a rounding error for the iTunes store; if such formats do become significant, Apple can afford to be a follower on that trend due to their dominant presence in the online music market. Apple is locked to Gracenote as the exclusive metadata provider; licensing other metadata providers at the scale of operations of the iTunes store would be very expensive, and will only happen if large segment of their customer base starts to demand it - and they'd have to break the Gracenote contract, too. And remember, again, advanced metadata that is not supported by Apple media hardware is not going to be of interest.


I think a more productive line of attack is to focus on products which exist solely to be excellent music library managers. There are several such in the PC arena, most of which have covered those wishlist items years ago. And fortunately, there is now an alternative to iTunes in the Apple arena - the open-source player Songbird (www.getsongbird.com). Even though it's still quite new, you can see the kind of features you'll only get when the business model is not constrained to one media ecosystem. For instance, broader format support, and the liberal use of online resources from a variety of different content providers. And you can talk directly to the developers on their forums.


BTW, I'm not associated with Songbird in any way, and don't even regularly use it myself (J River is better on PC), I just point it out as a real alternative for Apple fans.


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