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iPod touch displaying iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store  (Source: Apple)
Apple launches iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store; Microsoft execs shout "DOH!"

Today is Apple's big day and it has released a new version of iTunes to accommodate the new iPods and the iPhone.

iPhone customers can now purchase ringtones from iTunes. Customers must first pay $0.99 for a song from iTunes, then another $0.99 for the privilege of using that song as a ringtone. Apple is including a utility within iTunes to create ringtones based on any 30-second segment from a song complete with fade-in and fade-out.

Apple says that over 500,000 songs will be available to make the conversion to ringtones and the feature will be enabled in iTunes software sometime next week.

Apple also today announced the new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. iPod touch owners will be able to use their WiFi connection to logon to iTunes from any wireless hotspot. From the interface, users can browse "New Releases," "What's Hot," and "Games" from the top tab on the screen. Users can also search the entire iTunes music library, purchase individual songs or buy complete albums.

Songs bought from the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store are downloaded directly to the iPod touch. Docking the iPod touch to your desktop PC or Mac will then sync the songs with iTunes library.

Apple announced that the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store will also be extended to the iPhone.

Interestingly enough, Apple also announced Starbucks integration with the new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. Customers who surf on a Starbucks hotspot will be greeted with a Starbucks icon in their iPhone/iPod touch UI. Customers will then be able to buy the songs playing over the Starbucks speaker system through iTunes.

The biggest thing to take away from this announcement is how much Microsoft dropped the ball with the Zune. Microsoft had all of the building blocks in place to offer a wireless music store with the Zune. Microsoft gave customers WiFi with the Zune, but the company chose to seriously cripple the feature and limit its effectiveness.

Apple has now taken WiFi with the iPhone and iPod touch and expanded its overwhelming online music dominance with the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store. Microsoft is going to need a lot more than a $199 Zune to combat this latest salvo from Apple.

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Really? This is the biggest thing?!
By tdawg on 9/5/2007 3:02:27 PM , Rating: 1
The biggest thing to take away from this announcement is how much Microsoft dropped the ball with the Zune.

Are you serious that in the announcement of the new iPods and iTunes features, the biggest news is that the Zune doesn't offer a wireless music store?!

By tdawg on 9/5/2007 4:01:40 PM , Rating: 2
I just want to also point out that in order to utilize the wi-fi iTunes store from an iPod device, the starting price point is $299. The Zune is $249, which has a pretty useless wi-fi implementation--basically no implementation. The iPod classic also starts at $249, but you can't use the nice new wi-fi iTunes store with the classic since there's no wi-fi in the classic. Yes, for a higher point of entry, you'd expect better features; however, for $50 less, you get either device with effectively the same wi-fi capabilities (useless to none).

I just can't believe that the lack of effective Wi-Fi on MS's first generation product is the biggest news item in all of this today.

By Brandon Hill on 9/5/2007 4:09:31 PM , Rating: 3
I never said that it was the biggest news item out of everything released today. I said that it was the biggest thing that stood out in relation to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store which my article covered.

To put it bluntly, there's nothing all that innovative about the wireless store. Yes, it's a nice addition, but I don't think it surprised anyone.

However, to those of us who stay in tune with all things tech, we knew that the Zune had WiFi capabilities from day one, but Microsoft for some reason decided to hold back.

So in effect, Apple has swooped in and accomplished in one day what Microsoft could have been touting since November 2006. Instead, the gimped WiFi on the Zune has failed to make it a star whereas WiFi on the iPod and iPhone will no doubt broaden their appeal.

What could have been Microsoft's "gotcha" is now Apple's "pwned ya"

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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