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iTunes 4.9 Already in Action
June 15, 2005
Make magazine's Phillip Torrone is reporting sightings of Apple's iTunes 4.9 in the wild.
According to Torrone, "The next version of iTunes, 4.9 is out grabbing podcasts from site around the web, likely from testers at Apple."
At the recent Apple World Wide Developer Conference, Steve Jobs demo'd the new version of iTunes, which features built-in support for podcasts.
Torrone reports that a new user agent, "Agent: iTunes/4.9 (Macintosh; N; PPC)", will be found in site logs if the application has been used to download a podcast.
I cant wait to see how Itunes Podcasts compete against Adam Curry and Odeo, which I beta-test reviewed today, available on my blog. Ive posted below for people looking for an itunes type solution pre-launch
I'd been waiting for my beta-testing invite to Odeo, the new end-end podcasting solution (Listen-Sync-Create), co-founded by Evan Williams, who also set-up Blogger (the platform this blog is run on) before selling it to Google.
My summary of the Odeo experience : Its a very good start, and should work well for a mainstream Ipod type audience. the product however isn't finished, with the 'Create' functionality (the part I'd been hanging for) not yet available.
LISTEN : Instead of using the Shownotes of popular podcasts, browsing Podcast Alley, Ipodder, Podcast Pickle, Podscope, and Podcasting News, Odeo provides an Ajax like, great consumer interface for finding new podcasts, and listening to and subscribing to featured podcasts. No-one has yet nailed the Top 40 of podcasts (think popular music) and Odeo have taken a stab here, but with only beta-testers its still too early to see if this feature will take-off. I like Odeo here as they dont have as many podcasts as PodcastAlley or Ipodder but they dont have too few. Highlightimg great new podcasts will also be well appreciated. At the moment, Podcast Alley is the leading Ratings service for podcasts, but I hope Odeo give them a challenge with more than monthly ratings.
SYNC : Odeo suggest you download a 9 meg application to Sync the music to your IPOD. I did so, but even after clicking on my settings not to automatically download every podcast subscription every time my PC is on, as soon as I booted up the Sync application (a bright pink Odeo star in my Mac menu) it appeared to automatically download the 20 podcasts I had subscribed to. Using equivalent applications like Ipodder and IpodderX, the user is given total control and a full screen application (even if it is a bit techy) on which podcasts you want to 'schedule', 'check', 'download' etc - I hope with Odeo I will be able to do this. (someone at odeo tell me if I have this feature wrong, but it was my experience)
CREATE : At the moment it requires weeks of research in what is required in terms of software (eg Garage Band, Audacity, soon Adam Currys Cast Blaster) to record podcasts (incl Skype calls, mobile Iriver recordings and direct to PC conversations, then the consequent, mixing, editing and conversion into MP3, then conversion to an RSS feed, promoted through your blog and other sources !) and hardware (what microphone to use on PC and iRiver etc) - If Odeo, could help simplify this on the software side (plus eventual a Google adsense type rev share ad program for podcasts), they would really have a winning formula.
CONCLUSION : The business model and simplified consumer experience for podcasting which Odeo is offering is off to a good start, albeit the Podcast creation feature is not yet available. At a basic level, I will use the service as one of my 4-5 major podcast content sources to find new podcasts.
At the moment however, being a slightly more advanced podcast user than their target market, I will probably take the RSS URL of the podcasts I find on Odeo, and place them into the Ipodder client I use, and while I dont love Ipodder, it gives me enough control to use in the short term. Thankfully Odeo allows me to do this. If Odeo, come up with a better Sync feature, or I better understand it and am able to choose what podcast to download when, then I would also switch for this.
Simplifying the creation of a podcast is a big challenge and if you listen to Adam Curry's continual technical problems (and he is the Podfather, no ?) then it will be interesting to compare Cast Blaster beta to that of Odeo 'Create' - Even with different target markets, in terms of podcasting experience, the key problem which needs to be solved for the podcasting creator is having one easy to use piece of software that can be learnt in 5-15 minutes. The final part (pre-promotion and monestisation) of creating a great podcast is something i'm not sure adam curry or odeo can help with this. We can't all be as funny as Keith + the Girl !
While I can add to podcast feeds within odeo, it would also be cool, similar to how Apple Itunes just did an exclusive deal with Sundance to distribute their podcasts exclusively. I think joint ventures between traditional content owners, and podcasting distributors will become more common. There is only so much shit-casting, couple-casting, bath-casting and god-casting we can all take. And while todays professional podcasting content, as Steve Jobs refers to it, is usually out of date repurposed radio content not suited for the web, I want some more exciting podcasting content, like what happened when The Osbournes launched on MTV (just please no Anna Nicole Smith or Keven Federline)
Overall, it would also be great to have one major podcasting site (or RSS reader ? :) to go to for all my podcasting needs, as both a consumer of podcasts, and potential creator. My 'podcasting' tags in del.icio.us are getting too big, as are my subscriptions in ipodder and ipodderx, and I'm sick of always looking @ podcastalley/news/pickle etc
If Odeo could get 3 things right - I'd say have the best ratings system around (podcast alley is monthly and flawed methodology), source some exclusive exciting content, and give me a podcast creation tool that enables me to turn my blog into a podcasting platform.
So I can annoy people with audio, as well as text !
Posted by: Ben Barren at June 16, 2005 12:37 AM
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