In what could be described as an extremely fitting venue for an education announcement, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Apple announced today a range of tools designed to help people in education with their studies, namely an updated version of iBooks, iBooks 2, which is designed to integrate more closely with textbooks, iBooks Author, allowing users to create their own textbooks for the iPad and a new iTunes U app for the iPhone and iPad, allowing professors to communicate more easily with their students in the classroom.
Its products are ubiquitous around the world and each announcement from the company generates huge press attention, frantic tweeting and unparalleled excitement. But up till now, hardly anything is known about what actually goes on inside Apple’s core and how the company functions. The company is known for being one of the most secretive on the planet and even employes an internal security service – or Worldwide Loyalty Team (dubbed the Apple Gestapo by some employees) to investigate internal leaks.
This week at AppStorm we’ve looked at not one, but two interesting iTunes companion apps. Notice that I used the term “companion” and not “replacement.” This is because these apps are meant to supplement your iTunes use, not get rid of it.
iTunes is a powerhouse of functionality and serves as the go-to hub for your syncing music, movies, books and apps to various iOS devices. But as great as iTunes is, the increasing popularity of apps like Ecoute and Sonora bring to mind interesting questions about whether or not iTunes has become bloated over the years. In iTunes you’ll find everything from half-baked social networks to ringtones, which is admittedly a lot of extra functionality when you just want to listen to your favorite tunes without all the distractions.
On the other hand, maybe the features aren’t the problem. Perhaps Apple just needs to rethink the interface entirely. The final possibility is of course that we’re all over thinking this. iTunes is exactly what we need and requires very few, if any changes.
What do you think? If you could change one thing about iTunes, what would it be? Vote in our poll and then leave a comment below with your thoughts. Have you tried Sonora or Ecoute yet? Do you think there’s a legitimate market for these types of apps? We want to hear your thoughts.
I love iTunes. As Apple’s native music player and iOS powerhouse command station, it is unlikely that anything will ever wholly replace iTunes for me. It’s an integrated hub for surfing the iTunes music store, buying iOS apps, making playlists, the Ping network (even though it’s somewhat barren), managing the media and content on my iPhone and iPad, and more. But in spite of my love for iTunes, I will be the first to admit that with a music library the size of mine, it can be a bit slow, unwieldy, and bloated when all I want to do is play some tunes.
When I began reading up on Sonora, a beta-phase app coded by Indragie Karunaratne and designed by Tyler Murphy, I was impressed with the obvious target niche that Sonora was appealing to. At the risk of sounding “scoff-y”, independently developed music players rarely appeal to me because they so often claim to be an iTunes replacement–which, for the reasons listed in the above paragraph, is unlikely for me. Sonora, on the other hand, markets itself as a companion player, humbly leaving the heavy lifting of music purchases and iOS management to iTunes and providing a lightweight player for the express purpose of playing music. Hit the jump to read more about Sonora.
To celebrate the New Year at iPad.AppStorm, we’re going to be giving one lucky reader a brand new iPad 2! It’s been vastly successful over the past year, and today you have the chance to get your hands on one completely free!
This iPad 2 Needs a Loving Home
We’re going to be giving away a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2, usually priced at $499. Black or white – you can choose!
This fantastic upgrade to the original iPad is thinner, lighter, contains two FaceTime cameras, a faster processor, more memory, and the ability to snap on one of Apple’s awesome Smart Covers.
It’s a marvel of technology, and the perfect way to browse AppStorm! Head over to iPad.AppStorm to find out how to enter…
In a surprise turn of events, Apple has revealed its list of 156 suppliers along with its annual 2012 Supplier Responsibility report, an annual report compiled from internal audits of all of Apple’s suppliers. Alongside Foxconn, which manufacturers products such as the iPhone, iPad and Mac-range of computers under contract, the list also included well-known companies such as Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba (the full list can be viewed here). The suppliers listed account for around 97 percent of Apple’s external procurement measurements.
Our featured sponsor this week is Artboard, a truly impressive vector drawing application that’s simple enough for everyone to use.
Artboard has all the features you need in an advanced vector editing app: over 20 tools for drawing and navigation, custom shapes, clip art, boolean operations, layers, advanced style creation and a lot more. And it’s only getting better!
There’s a new Format Bar that simplifies the interface for creating simple styles without needing to open any palettes. Also, advanced “stacked” styles can now be created with the Style Inspector.
If you’re new to vector editing or just need to learn your way around Artboard, the developers include a helpful orientation video to help you get started. There are also some free tutorials available on the Artboard Website.
Go Get It!
Ecoute, created by PixiApps, has been a moderately popular alternative to iTunes for over a year now. With version 3, developer Louka Desroziers and interface designer Julien Sagot hope to catapult their audio player’s status from semi-popular indie app to major-league success. So is the latest version of Ecoute ready for the big time?
One area that hasn’t really been exploited in the app market is that of apps for musicians. And by that, I don’t mean apps for recording and producing, I’m referring to apps for songwriters.
Maybe there’s a reason for that? You could use a simple text editor to write songs, but what if you could also have an app that helped you make the songwriting process more organized, and gave you a few tools to make songwriting easier? That’s what Songwriter’s Pad claims to do. Let’s take a look and see how it fares.