Pandora is growing up, and it smells like teen spirit

Pandora turned 13 this year. An identity crisis would be right on time.

But the operator of the Internet's biggest radio service seems to know exactly what it wants to be when it grows up. Its dream: become an advertising-powered heavyweight, holding its own against any of the radio giants that, for now, gorge on the lion's share of the estimated $14 billion radio-ad market. Yes, that also means leaving Apple and its nascent iTunes Radio music service in the dust.

Pandora appears on the path to get there ahead of its third-quarter earnings report Thursday, with a … Read more

Review: iPod.iTunes for Mac keeps your iPod and Mac synchronized

iPod.iTunes for Mac helps you detect and transfer missing songs, videos, podcasts, or playlists from your iPod to your Mac or the other way around, without deleting existing files on the target device/computer or creating duplicates. It comes with a convenient wizard that makes file transfer easy and a couple of other nice features. If you want file transfer capabilities that iTunes doesn't offer, this app is for you.

Once launched, iPod.iTunes quickly populates a list of missing items in the main section of the application interface, displaying basic information such as name, artist, album, size, … Read more

Apple releases iOS update to fix FaceTime woes

Almost a month after Apple released iOS 7, the company on Thursday put out an update that promises to fix a bug that has caused FaceTime to fail with some users. The minor update also says it will add other nondescript improvements.

This comes the same day the company introduced new versions of the iBooks and iTunes U software their look and feel in line with the rest of iOS 7. Notably, iBooks has lost its oft-criticized wooden shelf motif, the kind of real-world software design flourish championed by former head of iOS Scott Forstall.

Pandora: iTunes Radio? Pshaw. We're doing just fine.

Defying the odds of being battered by tech behemoth Apple, Pandora claims to be holding its ground.

In fact, the Internet radio service managed to increase its market share after iTunes Radio was released in September, Michael Herring, Pandora's chief financial officer, said Monday at an investors conference in San Francisco.

Listeners tuned into Pandora for a total of 1.47 billion hours overall last month, up a notable 18 percent from a year ago, according to The Associated Press. What's more, users' listening hours grew 9 percent after iTunes Radio debuted, Herring said.

Pandora is still the … Read more

New Pandora app woos Android tablets as Apple radio grows

Pandora is getting friendlier with Android tablet users on the heels of now-rival Apple touting the traction of iTunes Radio.

Pandora, the Internet's biggest radio service, on Wednesday rolled out a new version of its Android app designed specifically for tablets. The interface takes advantage of bigger screens and has upgraded functions, like the ability to add variety to a station and view more details about the artist and album.

Many of the features mimic what the company's dedicated iPad app can do. When it launched the iPad version, Pandora said it was planning an Android tablet app … Read more

As iPods fade out, Apple's iTunes turns up the volume

Apple's iPod business has shrunk to the point where the company no longer even mentions it among its main product list at quarterly earnings. And while unveiling this year's latest iPhones last month, Apple rolled out a new iPod color without little fanfare.

Some way to treat a product that sold 26.4 million units in the past 12 months and helped pave the way to the company's current riches.

But as time goes by there's simply no arguing that the iPod has become a less important Apple product, especially because it generates less and less … Read more

Engineer predicts Apple's iTunes Radio will put an end to overly loud recordings

I caught up with my old friend, mastering and recording engineer Bob Katz at the Audio Engineering Society convention held last week in NYC. He was there to proclaim an end to the "Loudness Wars," which refers to the overuse of dynamic range compression to flatten the soft-to-loud volume changes that naturally occur in music. Katz was way ahead of the pack in decrying the overzealous use of compression in mastering recordings, he has been in the trenches, fighting the good fight for more than 20 years.

Katz is thrilled that Apple's new streaming music service, iTunes Radio, … Read more

Apple releases iTunes 11.1.2 to support OS X Mavericks

Apple rolled out a new version of iTunes designed to handle OS X Mavericks.

Released late Tuesday, iTunes 11.1.2 lists its major feature as support for Mavericks. Unveiled by Apple at its iPad launch event, Mavericks offers a host of new and improved features and apps and is free for all Mac OS X users.

iTunes 11.1.2 also adds support for those speaking Arabic and Hebrew languages and offers unspecified improvements in performance and stability.

Mac and Windows users can install the latest Apple music service by checking for updates directly in iTunes or downloading it … Read more

Apple iTunes Radio notches 20M listeners, 1 billion songs

Apple has revealed that iTunes Radio has reached 20 million users listening in to a billion songs since it launched in September.

Chief Executive Tim Cook made the update at an event in San Francisco on Tuesday.

After Apple said it had collected more than 11 million unique listeners in iTunes Radio's first five days of life, it took about 5 weeks to come within range of doubling the initial figure.

That indicates that many of those initial users were tire kickers, checking out Apple's long-awaited online radio service right after it launched with the rollout of iOS … Read more

What's up with Neil Young's Pono high-resolution music system?

The Gigaom Web site reported on December 20 that Pono announced it won't be showing at the CES show in Las Vegas in January.

I first heard about Neil Young's Pono music system more than a couple of years ago, and it was supposed to roll out a few months later. Rumors continued to circulate about an imminent debut, then fade away. Young showed a Pono music player prototype on the David Letterman show in September 2012, and it seemed like the launch was within reach.

Like everybody else I'm still unsure about how the Pono music … Read more