Tag: Apple


Moving From Pandora to Spotify – WOW!

I had a paid subscription to Pandora for years & was generally satisfied with the service.  I was also happy with the $3.99 cost for commercial free streaming music.

I read an article earlier this year comparing several of the online music streaming services.  I was surprised to learn how much I was actually missing by using Pandora.  I had no idea the Pandora catalog was a fraction of what other services offer (1 million songs vs 20 million with Spotify).  I also didn’t realize the other services let you listen to an entire album, repeat songs, and pick exactly what you want to listen to! (Face palm)

Screen-Shot-2014-05-12-at-12.11.15-AM

This is an older chart but you can get the general idea of how the services differ.

So I switched to Spotify.  They had a promotion that gave you 3-months for something like $0.99 so it was a no brainer to try it out.  I wasn’t able to convert my playlists from Pandora but it was easy enough to start typing in my favorite artists and flagging them as favorites.

Then Apple released their new music platform.  Same price as Spotify and same size catalog.  They’re giving away a 90-day free trial and I’ve tried it.  The Apple Music interface isn’t as intuitive as Spotify but it gets the job done.

Now I’m torn.  Do I switch again (to Apple Music) and take advantage of it’s tight integration with IOS? (Hey Siri, play The Church)  The OS X interface uses iTunes which needs to be burned to the ground and rebuilt to from the ground up.  Spotify’s OS X app is pretty user friendly but takes some 3rd parry apps and plug-ins to make it integrate with the OS (and use the play/pause controls on the Apple keyboard.

Is there another streaming service that beats Apple & Spotify?  I’d love to hear your feedback on what you use, what you like, & what you don’t like.

Ever Read The Release Notes?

I have a lot of apps installed on my devices and I always like to see updates.  Before I ever apply an update I always read the notes to see if there are any new features or fixes I’ve been waiting for.

Medium is a site that has some really great written content from everyday people.  It’s always got a few thought-provoking stories every day.  The release notes from the last update cracked me up & I had to share:

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6-hours With an iPhone 6…

…and so far I like it!

apple-iphone-6Quick review now & I’ll probably do a more in-depth one in a few weeks.

It’s larger than the 5s it’s replacing and about as big as I’m willing to go with a phone.  NO WAY was I going to even think about the 6 Plus.  The Apple leather case is a great addition that gives enough grip to keep me from dropping the phone every time I pick it up but not so much that you can’t easily slip it into your pocket.

119The release of iOS8 has caused just about every application I use to issue an update (or two) & that seems like all I’ve done is update apps this afternoon.   I still have a few that are crashing (like DropBox) & I’m hoping the next update will resolve that.

I’m fortunate that my employer pays for me to get the latest and greatest gadgets to help test before we deploy to 300+ engineers who have no patience for things that don’t work (the way they want them to).  If you have an iPhone 4/4s/5 it’s worth considering an upgrade.  If you’re already using a 5s you’re not going to see that much of a difference (yet).  I’m very excited to see how the mobile pay application works once it comes online in October.  And I’ll have to admit the watch look pretty damn interesting too.

iTunes Radio vs. PandoraOne

51zcTEnZ6ZL._SL500_AA300_.pngAs a followup to my iOS7 First Look I thought I’d post my impressions of iTunes radio and how it compares against PandoraOne.   This review will focus on the pay versions of these two products.  Why pay?  No ads to interrupt things, simple as that.

My initial thought was iTunes radio would end up putting Pandora out of business but after a week of comparison I’m starting to change my mind.

I’m a subscriber to the iTunes Match service that, in a nutshell, makes most of your music library available in the cloud and accessible from any iOS device or computer running iTunes.  I say most of your music because if the track is not available on iTunes it’s not going to be available in iTunes Match.  I have several spoken audio tracks that don’t qualify but it’s stuff I would not want to listen to most times anyway.

radio_1xFor $25 a year this is a great way to access your music no matter where you’re at.  An added bonus allows iTunesMatch subscribers to get commercial-free access to iTunes Radio.  Sounds like a win-win, right?

While iTunes Radio has similar functionality and a yearly subscription is half the cost of PandoraOne there are some differences…

iTunes Radioitunes_radio_-600x300

Pros:

  • $25 year (included with iTunes Match)
  • Easy access to purchase the song
  • Seems to have more variety in the playlists
  • Wish list for future purchases
  • Apple TV Integration
  • You can share and email stations to friends

Cons:

  • Multiple clicks to favorite a track
  • Same skip limit as PanrodaOne (6 per hour)
  • Audio Quality is a little muddy (this can be subjective)
  • Clunky interface
  • Does not always play right away (buffer seems smaller than Pandora too)
  • Must run iTunes
  • Stations based on artist very rarely play the artist

Pandora OnePandora1

Pros:

  • Easier to Favorite Songs
  • Audio quality is clearer
  • Lyrics & artist’s biography
  • Stand-alone desktop application

Cons:

  • $48 a year
  • Seems to repeat “liked” songs more (this could be both a Pro & a Con)

In conclusion at this time I still think PandoraOne is a better product.  It does cost more so if that’s an issue iTunes Radio is still a good product (and iTunes Match is worth the cost in my opinion), it’s just not a polished product.  If Apple continues to evolve as they have in the past iTunes radio could truly become a Pandora killer in the not-so-distant future.

Have you done your own comparison between iTunes Radio & your favorite streaming music app?  Tell us about it in the comments section below!

First Impressions – iOS7

It’s been a few days since Apple released their latest mobile operating system and now that the dust has settled I thought I’d post some of my first impressions about iOS7.  This is not a complete review, of which you can find all over the web by better writers than myself, it’s just a summary of my initial thoughts after using it for a few days.

Dynamic-TypeiOS 7 was unveiled at last Septembers World Wide Developers Conference and has been eagerly anticipated ever since.  With this new OS Apple has introduced a new look and feel which gives new life to some of their older devices (iPhone 4 and above is supported).  Visually everything seems somewhat flat and less cartoonish.  The typography used throughout (mostly Helvetica Neue Ultra Light) is clean and easily legible, although I did need to bump up the font size a touch to help with my aging eyes.

We all have our likes/dislikes with various products.  I’m going to focus more on what I don’t like about iOS7 (it’s a pretty short list).

Dislikes:

  • Smaller folder screens
    • You can only have 9 icons on a screen vs 12 in iOS6 (but you CAN have more than one page!)
  • Takes up more storage
    • 3.1GB needed to upgrade and you only get 2.8GB back
  • Parallax Effect
    • Not very smooth on the iPhone 4S or iPad 4th Gen, I ended up turning it off
  • No AirDrop on pre iPhone 5 devices
    • I was really looking forward to this feature but DeskConnect provides an alternative
  • No weather app for iPad
    • Plenty of 3rd party options but it’s odd not to have it on the Notification Screen
  • Spotlight
    • Only searches local data, no more Web or Wikipedia searches

With the negatives out of the way there are PLENTY of things to like about iOS7.

Likes:ios-7

  • Fresh new look
  • Bug fixes
  • Control Center
  • iTunes Radio
  • Slide anywhere to unlock
  • Multi-page folders
  • Safari Improvements
  • Camera improvements
  • Photo Collections
  • App Switching
  • iMessage Timestamps
  • Siri Improvements

Overall iOS7 introduces a lot of new and updated features.  I’m not sure where Apple is going to go from here but I think we have a few years before we’re going to see anything truly unique and revolutionary.  I have an iPhone 5s on order & I’m looking forward to seeing how some of the restricted features work on it (AirDrop, new camera, etc.).  I’ll be sure to post an initial look at the 5s once I get it in my hands & have some time to put it through the paces.

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