iTunes Update Blocks Some P2P

Apple Computer Tuesday released the latest version of its digital jukebox iTunes.

While the software has been instrumental in the success of the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer maker’s new iTunes Music Store, version 4.0.1 is rubbing some users the wrong way.

The software and store offers 30-second demos and lets users burn songs onto an unlimited number of CDs for personal use, listen to songs on an unlimited number of iPods, play songs on up to three registered Macintosh computers, and use songs in other applications on the Mac, including iPhoto, iMovie and iDVD.

But the trouble some say is that the upgrade only allows the ability to share music streams among Macs with similar versions of the software on a local network. Version 4.0 allowed users to post songs anywhere on the Web such as file sharing sites like KaZaA or Morpheus.

Apple said it was “disappointed” that people were trying to beat the system using its wireless Rendezvous and iTunes software “to stream music over the Internet to people they do not even know.”

The Mac user sites showed a mixed bag of responses to the changes.

One of Apple’s faithful didn’t like the idea of “things popping up in my software update.”

Others felt Apple did themselves justice by adopting the Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format instead of succumbing to the popular, but often pilfered MP3 one.

“Any music bought from the iTMS [iTunes Music Store] can’t be streamed over the Internet anyway, so I would think Apple and RIAA would be better served by pushing the iTMS and getting people to have DRM [digital rights management] music,” one user commented.

As far as improving the software, the iTunes 4.0.1 update does fix the “auto-limiter” bug, so the volume of your music doesn’t swing wildly when going from soft to loud passages, or vice versa.

Currently, the iTunes phenomenon is restricted to Apple computers in the United States. Analysts are saying that the real test of the music download platform will come when Apple launches its service for Windows users. That is expected to happen later this year.

iTunes Music Store features songs from the five major music companies: BMG, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal, and Warner.

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