Stories by Christopher Breen

  • RIAA expands gold and platinum record awards to streamed music

    In another sign that music listening is expanding beyond the limits of CDs and digital purchases, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced on Thursday that it would recognize music and music videos streamed from on-demand services as part of its Gold & Platinum award program. These services include Mog, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify, and Xbox Music, as well as video streaming services such as MTV.com, Vevo, Yahoo Music, and YouTube. This is the first time that the program has recognized tracks in a non-sales format.

  • Why the iTunes Store succeeded

    The traditional tenth anniversary gifts of tin and aluminum are appropriate for the iTunes Store. Both durable and somewhat flexible, the iTunes Store has become the preeminent place to purchase music.

  • Opinion: iPhone 5 and the case for evolution

    You may have heard grumbles of disappointment after- and in some cases before - the iPhone 5 announcement. Amid those guttural moans, you might also have heard such phrases as "user interface is the same", "same hardware", "safe, reliable, boring".

  • Microsoft offers some details on future of Office for Mac and iOS

    Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer, has unveiled the next versions of Microsoft Office for Windows. Versions? Yes, Microsoft is issuing two flavors of Office--Office 2013 and Office 365. Office 2013 is distributed and used very much like past versions of Microsoft's ubiquitous software suite--you pay once for a single license and install it on your Windows PC. Office 365 is a subscription version, with varying monthly costs depending on the number of licenses purchased and options desired.

  • First look: Amazon Cloud Player app

    In a world dominated by Apple’s media efforts, other means of purchasing and consuming media are sometimes overlooked. One such means is Amazon MP3 and its accompanying Cloud Player.

  • Embracing the educational iOS device

    I recently offered some advice on how to configure an old iPad for a child, and while the subsequent reaction was largely positive, there were the few (and expected) replies that suggested exposing a child to an iPad would lead to a machine-dependent future, devoid of fresh air, firm muscle tone, and true human interaction.

  • Eyes on the next Apple TV

    When Apple calls a press event it’s always fun to speculate about what wonders the company intends to unleash. Next week’s March 7 event is no different. The smart (and obvious) money is on the iPad 3. But much as I’m intrigued by the idea of a new iPad with possibly better performance, a higher resolution screen, and improved camera, that’s not the only potential product that piques my interest. In the Department of Other Shoes, I’m also intrigued by the idea of Apple dropping a new Apple TV.

  • Guide: to buying an iPod

    Choosing the perfect holiday gift can be difficult, particularly when it comes to determining the appropriate Apple portable media player to give to your dearest and nearest. This year, however, it's the tiniest bit easier. And it is because Apple has done us all the favor of leaving last year's iPod lineup in place.

  • Up close with iOS 5: Accessibility features

    iOS 5 introduces a wealth of new features that can be used to aid people with visual, aural, and mobility impairments. You'll find these options on the Accessibility setting screen under Settings -> General -> Accessibility.

  • OPINION: iPods - steady as she goes

    When last we met to discuss the fate of the iPod I suggested that the majority of the iPod line would live on and, in describing the shuffle, summed it up with “There just isn’t a good reason to not sell the shuffle.” If only I’d written “not sell the current iPods just as they are” and stopped, I would have been hailed as The Great Prognosticator.

  • Oh, and about those iPods...

    If you've followed Apple long enough you know that the company invariably holds an autumn "music" event--one where the latest crop of iPods is rolled out along with new iTunes features, yet another performance by John Mayer, and the occasional surprise. This year is different. Instead of a September music event, Apple issued invitations to an <a href="http://www.macworld.com/article/162532/2011/09/apple_to_hold_iphone_special_event_on_oct_4.html">early October event</a> that clearly focuses on the iPhone. What does this mean for the iPod?

  • Easier ways to read files on the go

    When you want to read your documents on the go, it's awfully convenient to do so in the iOS iBooks app. To get a document onto your iPhone or iPad, save it as a PDF file, drag that file to your iTunes library, and then sync it with your iOS device. Unfortunately, when you do this, you can lose something in the translation, including live links and audio and video files. If you’d like to save a more interactive version of your files and web pages to iBooks, there’s an alternative. Create an <em>ePub</em> version of your document.