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Beginners' Tips Series!

Let's say that you have been an iPhone user for some time and recently decided to dip your toe into the Windows Phone waters. Chances are that one of the first things you want to do is get all of your music onto your new phone.

As an iPhone user, you either downloaded all of your music directly your device from iTunes, or moved it onto it by using the iTunes desktop application. Now what? You have all these tunes sitting in an application that doesn't know what a Windows phone is.

This situation was bound to happen, so Microsoft put together an easy way to pull your music and playlists from iTunes and onto your Windows phone.

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It will come as no surprise that Microsoft wants Apple to create a Windows 8 app of iTunes, the popular media player that also helps consumers manage iOS hardware and more. A desktop version of iTunes is available and works well in desktop mode on a Windows 8 machine, but what if you're running Windows RT or would like to enjoy a native experience?

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Microsoft has never been shy about supporting Apple users with their software and that is especially true with Windows Phone 8. For instance, Microsoft announced that importing iTunes DRM-free music will be much easier on PC now, not requiring a conversion/import process.

Tonight, Microsoft has released ‘Windows Phone’ for OSX. The software, previously known as ‘Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac’, has undergone a substantial rebranding and has received numerous new features. The naming may seem odd—Windows Phone—but it matches the Windows 8 sync app’s name and it actually makes sense. When you look at your PC or Mac and see the icon, it says Windows Phone because it is your Windows Phone. Microsoft has simplified syncing by making it very minimalist and barebones: just drag and drop whatever media you want...

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Enjoying music collections while on the go is a breeze with Windows Phone. Simply synchronise selected media onto a device and either Zune or the Windows Phone Connector for Mac will do the rest. But what if you wanted to organise music into moods, easy-to-sync lists or to quickly extract favourite music? This is where playlists come in.

Many make use of playlists in media players already. Sorting through 30,000 songs to build a collection of favourites is a task majority of music fans go through when wanting to take their sounds on the move. Most devices and smartphones have a limited capacity for media, so until we have 1TB storage options for Windows Phone, it makes sense to move across said playlists.

How does one go about achieving this?

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Microsoft continues to flesh out their Xbox live app for those of us that have iPads. The latest update brings more of the once exclusive features of the Windows Phone Companion App to iOS users. Unlike Windows Phone, which has a combination of apps to take care of Xbox live business, the iPad rolls all the functions into one. Personally, I like it all integrated into one whole and have been a little confused as to why the Windows Phone has essentially stuck with the Xbox Hub plus the two addition apps called Xbox Companion app and Xbox LIVE Extras App.

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Using the Windows Phone 7 Connector for OS X can prove to be a drag when attempting to transfer a movie from iTunes to your handset. The progress bar gives the false impression that it's stuck and one tends to get frustrated, especially if you're like me and only synchronise your device just before you leave the house.

OS X user Marin got in touch with us to let everyone in on a more efficient way to transfer movies to your WP7 handset and not having to wait 20 or so minutes. Should you have an avi copy of the movie at hand with an mp3 soundtrack, you can use software such as MP4Tools to convert and then import into iTunes. Windows Phone Connect should then pick up the movie and be able to transfer it to your device with much more efficiency.

Unfortunately, Marin noticed a drawback to this method (which I can confirm). The movie wont be playable in iTunes (as well as Xbox 360 consoles) and a stand-alone media player (such as VLC) will have to be used. But this should be no problem if you have a separate m4v copy. Let us know if this guide works for you and how it compares to transferring m4v movies to your device.

Thanks Marin for the tip and guide!

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IHS Screen digest has come out with their yearly report on online movie sell-though and Internet video-on-demand (iVOD) service and while Apple is stil at the top (by a lot, we might add) their dominance in the market appears to be waning.

In 2010, Apple controlled 64.5 percent of the online VOD market, but that's down from 2009's 74.4 percent--that loss of 10 percent seems to be quite a large number. Though to be put into perspective, the market itself grew by over 60%, meaning Apple still took away a nice chunk of change.

Reason for the decline in market share though? According to Arash Amel, IHS digital media research director:

Apple faced serious competition from Microsoft's Zune Video and Sony's PlayStation Store, as well as from Amazon and -- most significantly -- Walmart.

More importantly to our concerns, Zune Video platform increased to 17.9 percent from 2009's 11.6 percent--in large part due to the success of the Xbox 360/Kinect combo. That's actually an impressive gain if might say and shows that Microsoft does seem to have a plan here for getting into consumer video content. Combined with Windows Phone 7 (assuming it gains significant market share), we think Zune has a very bright future--so much so we wonder what Android could offer that is remotely analogous?

Although the conclusion by IHS is that Walmat (and Amazon) may be the biggest competitors against Apple, due to their sheer market size and brand-advantage. That may be true, but we don't see any Walmart video service on our smartphones and so far nothing from Amazon either--and the mobile market is an important one, for sure.

Soruce: IHS ScreenDigest; via: Twice; Thanks, Mark, for the tip!

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In what has to be the first, developer David Tepper has created a free app called simply enough iTunes Search and it's actually quite unique.

The app allows you to search both the iTunes Music and the iOS App Stores from your Windows Phone. Of course, you can't actually download anything from those stores but once found, you can then use it to search the Zune Marketplace for something similar--which is kind of crafty. Actually, this thing handles both stores better than either native app--it looks sharp, loads fairly quickly and overall wins points for an elegant UI.

Combined with the Windows Phone ability to sync with a Mac, control your iTunes and now search the Apple App store, we're wondering what other Apple-task could come next?

Grab it here in the Marketplace.

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On the off chance you are a WP7 user who loves iTunes, you can now have your cake and eat it too...kinda.  "Remote," an aptly-named new app by Komodex Systems, let's you browse your computer's iTunes Library and let's you play, pause and control the volume via WiFi.  You can also use your phone's keyboard to search for albums and artists. 

"Remote" recently popped up in the Marketplace for $1.99 and requires WiFi and the installation of a desktop client on the computer you want to control.  It works with both Macs and PCs. Of course we have to wonder what kind of commie you would be to run iTunes over Zune, but hey...we're accepting around here. Kinda.

Source: Zat's Not Funny; via: Engadget

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While we don't know just how many Mac users out there have a Windows Phone, for those brave enough (we salute you) there is some good news as Microsoft has published an update to the Connector app. To refresh, Connector allows Mac users to sync certain amounts of information and media to Windows Phone 7. While not a full Zune client, it's a step in the right direction for many who don't want to be tethered to Apple's ecosystem.

The latest version (0.6 beta) released on December 16th addresses some ongoing issues:

  • Fixes playback for the AAC files synced from iTunes that wouldn't play
  • Reverse sync MP3s bought from the WP7 phone
  • Properly sync from remote iTunes installs
  • Transfers bookmarks, ratings, release dates that were previously left out

Probably one of the biggest additions is the ability to support firmware updates via Connector, something which we believe all Windows Phone users will need in two months time. Finally, to round it out:

Direct device browsing has been given much more control and lets owners not only manually import individual items from the phone but delete them or preview them.

Other media forms also get improvements. Connector now better handles iPhoto '11 libraries and will organize iPhoto collections by event first and by album only if necessary. The video preparation process has been improved, Microsoft said. Remaining changes bring early support for updating a phone's firmware, faster overall syncing, a new device setup experience and a more graceful handling of when the phone needs to be unlocked with a PIN code.

Sounds like quite the update and not just some minor bug fixes. You can grab the new version right here.

Source: Electronista


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It's been longed rumored that Microsoft was going to make the Zune software compatibile with Apple's desktop OS, but the question still remains when? While we still don't know the answer to the latter question, we now know officially that Microsoft is making the Zune software Mac friendly syncing possible between Windows Phone 7 and a Mac (see Update 2, below).

In a Tweet that was posted (and quickly deleted), Oded Ran, Head of Consumer Marketing, Windows Phone, UK, basically announced that Mac users will be able to use Zune on their computers with "more details soon" as a tease.

Offering such compatibility between Macs and Windows Phone 7 is important to take the fight to Apple, we suppose, though it's unclear how many Apple fans will really ditch their iTunes/iPhone mini-closed empire for the "enemy's offerings". In that sense, this move is probably more symbolic than strategic in the long run, but it's one of those things that is very symbolic. Plus we know there has to be a few Apple fans who want Windows Phone 7, right?

Update: Evidently Microsoft decided to reveal a little bit more stating "Later in 2010 Microsoft will make a public beta available of a tool that allows Windows Phone 7 to sync select content with Mac computers."

Update 2: And it's not Zune software, according to Thurrott, but a way for Mac users to sync content to their devices. Ah, the finer differences in life.

[via & Engadget]

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On my computer, you will find nary a sign of any Apple software as iTunes stopped being a "neat" app about, I dunno, 4 years ago.

But for those of you who still load that behemoth and want to sync with your trusty Kinoma Play on WinMo (see update), looks like your dream is now a reality due to some third-party freeware by Salling Software.

According to Kinoma, which is officially supporting this method, Salling Media Sync "...automatically identifies phones running Kinoma Play and syncs all the audio formats that Kinoma Play supports." 

The app is "free" for basic use but will cost ya' $22 beans for you heavy sync'ers and those wanting faster sync times (I'd imagine that would be everyone?).  Hey, if the Pre can do it, so can WinMo.  Hmph!

Update: Looks like Kinoma has rolled out a small update from previous v5.1.46 to v5.1.48.

Mostly looks like a "cleaning up" update after the big one just recently, as this tidies up some naming conventions, UI interaction, G-sensor adjustments and just general patches.  It also seems to be a bit speedier, though I still have to wait 2-4 seconds to go back to the launcher on my Treo Pro.  Hmm.

Other changes include:

  • More Home shortcuts — The last released introduced a super-convenient shortcut that lets you go Home just by holding the Center key on your 5-way. Now, you can press-and-hold the Back button as well.
  • Live365 — The “More” now works correctly for stations listings and presets, and we fixed an issue where audio scrobbling didn’t work for everyone.
  • Facebook Media — We updated the terminology to match the current Facebook style (i.e. “What are you thinking?”).
  • Get Apps — We improved the way screen shots appear on screen to make your eyes happier.
  • Improved press-and-hold feedback — Now when you press-and-hold on lists and grids to bring up the menu pod, a nifty icon appears to show when you’ve pressed long enough. Didn’t mean to do that? Just drag the screen to continue doing what you were doing.

Get the update now via

Menu --> Player --> Check for Updates!

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Looks like EMI is the first record label to respond to Steve Jobs' Open Letter calling on labels to let Apple sell DRM-free music. And how! The music will cost an extra 30 cents per song, but you'll be able to upgrade your current purchases. The better news is Jobs anticipates more labels coming onboard soon. The new DRM-less songs will be 256kb AAC, which means they'll play on basically any modern music player - including, drum roll, Windows Mobile devices.

8:24 Announcing premium downloads. Free from DRM, and higher sound quality.
- 8:25 Upgrade ability as well.
- From press release: $1.29 for premium tracks (DRM-less), $.99 for standard (DRM), and $.30 for upgrade

Read: Mac Rumors: Apple/EMI Press Conference Coverage [Live Updates]

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