back to article Apple emasculates the iPhone

Within hours of last week's iPhone debut, hackers were dissecting it. Their goal: unlock capabilities Apple preferred customers not have. As a result, it's now possible to activate the device without entering into a two-year contract, and it's only a matter of time until you can run third-party apps. Alas, one of the iPhone's …

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Anonymous Coward

Uh wha?

I had no issues just dragging and dropping into my iPhone when I had automatic synching turned off. Its once you turn that on, or don't turn it off, that I had the 'grey-wash'.

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Reviewer missed the point...

All of the things listed here are not 'missing features' but are instead unimplemented features. Apple was down to the wire with the iPhone's release, taking people off of the coding for Leopard just to get things finished in time. They released only the things they were confident in from a stability point of view. There are a LOT of features that the iPhone WILL be getting in the near future, probably around the time of Leopard launch if not before. Apple didn't want people's phone crashing by adding a lot of cool features they hadn't had time to do complete bug stomping on. I will bet the iPhone will continue to incite 'buzz' as Apple lets these 'missing features' out a little (or lot) at a time.

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eh?

When I plug my iPod mini into other computers with iTunes, the songs appear 'greyed out'. It never occurred to me that I could play it through a secondary computer as a jukebox. Are you sure about this? Combined with the comment already posted here, it makes me wonder if you're confused with the options, not limited by the device.

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Lol

Lol @ previous post... that would make this article more redundant than your average slashdot dupe post :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Title

The writer needs to learn how to use itunes; just turn syncing off and you can drag/drop as normal.

complete and utter unresearched Fud.

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My Phone is looking better and better

that is almost unbelievable. makes me glad to have a Nokia 6275i. Though only capable of holding a 2 Gig flash card to play music, those tunes continue playing during games like galagga, dig dug and xevious or even the FM radio. ...taking 2 Mp pictures and video (decidely not 2 Mp) and browsing the web - it may not be pretty but this Branson-branded pay as you go phone certainly has it charms.

The thing cost me 179 plus tax CDN and seems like a bargain now.

iPhone 2.0 better be better,

.....

drm madness - is there a cure?

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(Written by Reg staff)

The "Sync music" box on my iPhone is most definitely unchecked

But despite this, I am still unable to drag and drop tunes onto the device. I'd be grateful to hear from one or more of the people claiming this functionality is possible with the iPhone. I've spent lots of time trying to get it to work, and so have plenty of other people (for instance, see: http://forums.ilounge.com/showthread.php?t=199926). Please contact me through the link to my name at the top of this article.

To answer Ian Ferguson's comment: not sure about the iPod mini, but iPod nano and iPod photo models most definitely can play through a secondary computer as long as the box that says "Manually manage music" is checked.

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Ed

I hope the author's Mac friends slap him around a little

None of his points are valid. They're all features he is not using correctly.

-You can surely manage the music manually - and what does that have to do with playing back through someone else's iTunes? see below

-Apple has never encouraged using multiple computers to sync to any iPod type device - stick with one computer to sync

-If you want to be DJ, plug straight in to computer speakers or carry the correct cable or stereo system connection - it's so simple!

Do you have trouble keeping water in your glass?! Try flipping the cup over!

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Simple workaround

I have a playlist which I use for the stuff I specifically want on my iPod. My other playlists are smart playlists which are managed automatically. Unlike most anal-retentive sods who like to complain about iTunes as the synchronization interface to the iPod, I don't feel like manually picking and choosing what music to listen to, and use smart playlists to make my life easier. For those few things that I do want specifically available, I use a single manual playlist, which I can manage by drag-and-drop and even - get this - when my iPod isn't hooked up.

SO DIFFICULT.

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Not a workaround!

"You can surely manage the music manually"

Well, apparently not, that was the complaint he made was that he couldn't.

" - and what does that have to do with playing back through someone else's iTunes? "

Nothing. These were two separate complaints brought up in the article.

"Apple has never encouraged using multiple computers to sync to any iPod type device - stick with one computer to sync"

Umm, I don't want to? And neither does the article writer. I want to move music on and off any computer, not "sync" it. Apple can disapprove all they want.

"If you want to be DJ, plug straight in to computer speakers or carry the correct cable or stereo system connection - it's so simple!"

Not as simple as having the on-computer music and ipod music seamlessly appear in one list, if the computer already has speakers hooked up to it.

To both ed and fluffy, it is NOT a workaround for the complaints the article brings up to just say "too bad, do it the clunky way anyway" and then justify why it's not a big deal to have to do that. That is simple fanboyism. I'm not going to get an iPhone, but here's hoping Apple fixes these problems anyway!

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Hmm

Well, I will try to replicate my earlier claims about this tomorrow on my work computer.

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Anonymous Coward

You can't say fanboy without saying dick.

>I hope the author's Mac friends slap him around a little

You can't make friends with salad, although apparently someone's watched a little too much television and thinks that you can make friends with a computer named after a fruit.

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Anonymous Coward

PC vs Mac

Well, I remember rumers brewing about microsoft paying people to blog (excluding that india story, which I could never really confirm).

Could apple, who really goes ALL out on advertising and getting their staff out into stores, possibly, you know, pay people to come online?

Just curious I guess...

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It's all part of The Plan

Apple began with hackers - this is Steve's plan to reintroduce hacking to civilised computing, restoring them to their status as demigods.

Bring back Lee Felsenstein!

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Genius Bar

No sarcasm here. Just wanted to inform you that Apple has this service called the Genius Bar in every Apple Store.

I highly recommend you pop over to the Apple Store and check with one of the geniuses. They will be able to get you squared away.

There are quick solutions to all your complaints above.

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Silver badge

Re: Reviewer missed the point...

"All of the things listed here are not 'missing features' but are instead unimplemented features............... "

So what you're saying is, that it's perfectly acceptable to purchase a product that does not work acceptably or as advertised, because "sometime in the near future, the supplier might bother to release an update that resolves this"

Would you buy a car that couldn't go into reverse gear? Would you buy a toothbrush with 5 bristles but hole for a further 400 that could be later attached with an "optional" upgrade?

Accepting that any manufacturer can foist us off with unfinished or faulty tatt is just stupid - it doesn't matter who the manufacturer is.

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So much for alternative

Yeah, great. So you have to use the bug ridden iTunes and you can't play it through another machine.

No thanks, i'll stick to my Symbian OS (Nokia N95 - with all the features of the iPhone plus around 300 more) and then hook it to ANY computer with a USB port and a MP3 player. Even better if it's running Windows and WMP then it will automatically sync. No limitations, no 'missing features' - just works.

Ironic that Nokia on Windows is a more open and less restrictive platform than Apple on Apple! :-)

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Silver badge

If this was a Microsoft product . .

. . you'd have Apple fanboyz crawling out from the woodwork to say that Apple is sooo superior and would NEVER release a half-finished product.

But, because this is Apple, we hear instead of "unimplemented features", perfectly normal, do it the clunky way and shut your whingtrap. Besides, you're just too stupid to find out how to do it right.

With all this objectivity floating around, it's a wonder we still have wars.

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iEunuch? Emasculation?

The only way to emasculate a eununch is to write and release a self-hosting compiler for the platform concerned. Next time, please know your history before writing and/or naming an article.

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AppleTV is just the same

For those who swear that manually managing is possible on iPhone, i don't own one, but I do own an AppleTV and you just get the same fscking behaviour on iTunes.

I have to artificially create a playlist containing, say all the songs with 5 stars and use stars to "manually" manage atv.

So, I believe the article author, as I don't find it weird considering is Apple :) and they chose what is best for you.

Anyways, my atv is happily hacked and I just use iTunes to sync music ;)

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jai
Silver badge

so use your ipod instead at parties

it's not like anyone that bought and iPhone doesn't already own an iPod is it? so if you want to play music on someone else's computer, load it onto your old iPod - shame to see the poor thing become unused and covered in dust

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Missing the Point

LOL that everyone jumps on the bandwagon of the issues, when several people have pointed out that they aren't issues at all!!!

Oh and as for plugging your phone into a DJ Mixer at a party would you really want to do that??? An iPod is just that and if someone nicked it then it's not so bad, i for one certainly wouldn't leave my phone lying about plugged in to a DJ console, i mean god forbid someone might phone you!

I love the anti mac brigade calling people who appreciate Macs and Apple for what they do as fanboys,when they tend to be the ones who immediately have to jump on everything Apple create..... get over it!

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Yes, actually

I haven't really needed a personal music player until I joined the massed ranks of the Home Counties commuters quite recently. I have been putting off buying an iPod nano because I figured the iPhone would be a better option. I assumed it did all the things an iPod does identically to the way an iPod does them. I didn't really care about 3G or third-party applications or any of that nonsense; I wanted a phone (in the traditional sense: for talking to people) and an iPod in a single unit. If what is actually available is a phone and a crippled imitation of an iPod, then there really has been no point to the whole exercise.

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That sounds like a good idea

I'd love to leave my phone plugged into the sound-system at a party. That way everyone will know when I get a text message, and they won't mind at all when I stop the music to answer a call.

Regardless of whether the ranty mac-fans agree with you or not on whether these drawbacks exist or are easily surmountable, I can't imagine that they make the device as appallingly bad as you make out. I mean, it still plays music and does phone calls, which (for a device combining mp3 player and phone) sounds pretty well-hung to me.

As for playing music to your friends being perfectly legal, the record labels will get around to fixing that loophole soon enough.

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"Crippled imitation of an iPod?"

How is an iPhone a "crippled imitation of an iPod" because it doesn't do something that I have never wanted to do, nor even knew was possible to do with my last two iPods?

It does seem like a neat feature now I know about it, but trust me, if you are messing about plugging iPods into either a PC or a Mac at a party, it's not much of a party!

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Anonymous Coward

Why can't apple products use standards?

Like the official mass storage interface, which could make the iphone look like a standard external disk. The os is on the 32Mb nor flash chip, not on the 4/8 Gb nand flash storage. This would allow users to synchronize to their iphones with any file management programs without messing its os up. It could even mean that playlists could be created or imported by other applications. Most asian manufacturers do this, some go even so far to put the os on the built in flash too, so users can do whatever they wish with it. (like make backups of the stored radio stations and equalizer settings or even add new codecs)

Instead of doing what most manufacturers do and make a standards compilant device, they make one that locks users into using their own products, preferably with their own hardware. Currently the only company that could provide a true trusted platform for microsoft windows vista to run it's drm module is apple, because they are the only company who designs pc-s that places an active and non disablable tpm chip into every system they make. Actually microsoft is trying hard to copy their hardware and os strategy.

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USB mass-storage would be nicer.

Isn't the real problem that we're forced to use iTunes in the first place?

Some music players let you copy files over as a standard USB mass-storage device, using the operating system and music manager, or file manager, of your choice rather than forcing you to use one particular program. This works much better. Personally I do not like iTunes, at least the Windows port of it, and my file manager (Directory Opus) is far more powerful and convenient. There's no way in hell I would use the Windows port of iTunes for managing playing my music so it's rather annoying to be forced to use an additional application on top of the ones that I want to use. Especially one that kinda sucks like the WIndows iTunes does. Don't get me wrong, iTunes works well enough to get the job done, to be fair to it, but I don't like it and I wish I was not forced to use it.

I used the Rockbox alternative firmware for the iPod for a while (before the official firmware was finally fixed to play albums properly, i.e. gapless playback) and the one thing I miss from Rockbox is being able to copy music files over directly.

It wasn't worth the battery-life hit to stay with Rockbox (which may be better now; I've lost touch with the project) and the time spent copying files over to a music player is insignificant compared to the time spent listening to them (unless we're talking about Sony's SonicStage where the file-copying software may make you homicidal or suicidal, or both) but if we're talking about How Things Should Be then USB mass-storage support for music files is definitely on the checklist.

Rio, whose technology is now with SigmaTel who make chipsets and firmware for various MP3 players, managed to make players which you could copy files over to via USB mass-storage (i.e. as a simple removable drive) while still allowing you to, on the player, view your files by tags. They did this by making the player, not the PC-side software, read the music file's tags and build the database. Given the CPU power of players these days, and the fact they can get firmware updates to handle new/broken tag formats just like the PC-side software, this seems like the ideal solution to me.

Of course, Apple will probably never give us this ideal solution because they have an agenda: They want the tempting iTunes Music Store to be one click away from the user at all times. If they user had a choice about using something else to copy their files then that temptation is gone. Surely this, given Apple's 80% share of the DAP business, is an abuse of a "monopoly" position in one market to gain position in another, as much as it was for Microsoft to tie Internet Explorer into Windows?

Note: I am well aware of third party apps that allow you to copy files to the iPod. The problem with these is that they rely on people reverse-engineering the iTunes/iPod database file format, which Apple have a nasty (and legitimate) habit of changing. (It's less legitimate that the database isn't in an open format, such as XML.) Having to worry about your chosen software not working after an iPod firmware update isn't ideal and nor is worrying about whether your software will support new features when they get added, or co-exist with iTunes.

For example, many of the third-party solutions don't support syncing video files. Will they make a video file that you put there with iTunes disappear by overwriting the database? I don't know to be honest, but I wouldn't want to worry about that kind of thing.

As another example, I have written to the people who make Anapod Explorer twice to ask if their software supports the exact-length tags in the database which are required for gapless playback and both times they have ignored my question. Not even a "we don't know". I've seen other people post on the web saying they asked the same question and also got no response. The trial version of Anapod appears to be too crippled to test out (I think it only lets you transfer a single track, from memory, which isn't any use for testing gapless). They say on their site that Anapod works with he new database format but that doesn't tell me whether it supports all features of it, such as those new tags.

Going back to itunes, Apple are not alone in this, of course. MS force you to use Media Player (or rather a slightly modified version of it) with their sub-standard Zune. Sony force you to use their terrible software which completely ruins their fairly nice hardware. It's all crap.

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I _heart_ Apple

..........Insert sycophantic drivel here..........

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Proven definition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanboy

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Using the iPhone with Windows Media Player.

I just wondered - has anyone tried using Dopsip from Mgtek (http://www.mgtek.com/dopisp/) to sync their iPhone with Windows Media Player?

I use this all the time with my iPod because copying music to/from my iPod using WMP 11 is so much better than using the pile of crud that is iTunes.

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Anonymous Coward

Geez...

Geez...You have two iPods and you didn't know of those features? How do you manage to load it up with music? You know, those two little nubs go in your ears!

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Mat

Did anyone check the facts?

How come this article is still up and available to be read when it is full of inaccuracies? Reading through that article had the effect of making me feel embarrassed by proxy, I'd hate to have allowed something like that get onto my site.

Well, not unless the only point of the article is to stir up the diatribes again of course?

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So bizarre!

I know I was able to drag music to this thing when I first got it. I wanted to try out the speakers on it, so I dropped his copy of (mob)Scene right into the phone. However, once I took the phone home and actually synched it with my mac, I can no longer drag and drop, even when I turn synching off. Perhaps try it on the computer of someone with a fresh install of iTunes that has no information about your iPhone on it. Just don't let it even think about synching :P

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Re: Why can't apple products use standards?

Mass storage is nice, but not for music, because the iPod/iPhone relies on a database so you can browse through music without worrying about a directory structure.

I think if the winamp iPod support plugin was extended to the iPhone it would pretty much kick ass.

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All the haters are gay liberals and Microsoft PR lackeys

And apple is great because [Not Microsoft/I Say so/Jobs' pullover/Woz/Garage/Industrial Design/Theft from Xerox PARC] delete as approriate.

Another fanboy meltdown fest. These are SO much fun to watch.

:-)

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Okay

So it looks like if you let this thing synch, even once, on your macintosh/PC/toaster, thats it, game over on the drag and drop ability. Now I'm a bit peeved as I really didn't want to make playlists for all my artists D:

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In reply to anonymous

"Geez...You have two iPods and you didn't know of those features? How do you manage to load it up with music? You know, those two little nubs go in your ears!"

How did I load it up with music? By using one of the great features of the iPod/iTunes combo: I imported all of my CDs into iTunes, about 15gb worth, and then plugged in the 30gb iPod and as if by magic, it was all on the iPod. No messing about.

Admittedly if I had a Nano or smaller iPod I would no doubt have tried this before because I'd have less space than I do music.

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Bloody PC idiots...

Why is it every time there's a mac post... you windows morons have to flout your anti-mac-isms like complete morons?

I mean... try to have someone constructive in your hatered for once!

As for the article... I think the key point here has already been made.. turn off auto sync..and use playlists.... DUH

everyone knows that!

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Anonymous Coward

Playlist not required to sync albums or songs

The reviewer was incorrect. You do not need a playlist to sync to the iPhone. The albums will go over their just fine if you sync the iPhone.

I'm pretty sure the iPhone had security reasons for being locked down - it is first and foremost a phone. I'm not so sure I want someone putting a "bug" on my phone and then I can't make phone calls! The iPhone works as it was designed - the music, the videos, email, etc... work flawlessly for me.

Do people have nothing better to do than complain? If you don't like then don't buy - no one is forcing anyone to buy the iPhone.

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Sounds like a bug...

"So it looks like if you let this thing synch, even once, on your macintosh/PC/toaster, thats it, game over on the drag and drop ability. Now I'm a bit peeved as I really didn't want to make playlists for all my artists"

Hmmm. It works on iPod. It works on iPhone prior to the sync. It doesn't work after a sync. This sounds like a bug and not a feature. Watch it get fixed in the next revision of the code...

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Silver badge

Simple solution

It's clear what the problem is, regardless of whether it's with MS or Apple: they implement the features they want to implement, leaving us lusers to whine and moan about what we want. We complain and complain, but we'll defend the OS we chose to the death, because they've given us 51% of what we want when their competiton only gave us 49%.

We shouldn't have to settle. That's why everyone should switch to OSS -- if there's a feature you want, write it! If you can't write it, learn to. If you don't want to learn, that's your problem. That way we can boil down all "missing" features to user indifference.

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gaz

shuffle

sounds like my iPod shuffle

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You have to send it back to the manufacturer to have the batteries replaced.

When they fail, you have to send the iPhone back to the manufacturer to have the batteries replaced.

Why would you buy a battery operated device where you can't replace the batteries yourself? It is a fundamental basic minimum user interface requirement.

This is the main failing of the iPod. I would have thought consumers would have learned by now.

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Title

"Mass storage is nice, but not for music, because the iPod/iPhone relies on a database so you can browse through music without worrying about a directory structure."

You can have both.

Copy files over using mass storage and have the device itself build the database.

Rio/SigmaTel have made players which do this and it works very well. One reason Apple will probably never do this is they want to tempt you with iTMS which they can't do if you aren't forced to use their software.

See my longer comment/rant above for more detail.

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@Tony Chandler

"How is an iPhone a "crippled imitation of an iPod" because it doesn't do something that I have never wanted to do, nor even knew was possible to do with my last two iPods?"

Brace yourself: despite your impressive refinement of solipsism to the level of psychosis, you are not the metric for whether consumer electronics are feature-complete or not.

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Blue Box for iPhone

Once they roll out a hacking toolkit, they should call it "Blue Box for iPhone" in honor of the Woz's payphone hacking hardware pimped by Jobs back in the day. Very 'circle of life'...

PS, Please flame me on my speling; and, puctuation,

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(Written by Reg staff)

Our thanks to Christopher for confirming drag and drop does NOT exist

But we're pretty sure there is no way to use D&D. We tried restoring the iPhone. No go. We tried plugging it in to a completely new Mac. Failed.

Several commentators here have claimed there is incorrect information or misreported facts but so far none of these brave souls have bothered to actually say what they are. We'd be happy to be proved wrong and would readily admit it.

In response to the anonymous commentator who wrote:

>The reviewer was incorrect. You do not need a playlist to sync to the iPhone. The >albums will go over their just fine if you sync the iPhone.

If you're iTunes library is larger than 8 GB (and whose isn't) you'll have to use playlists. If your library is less than 8GB you can simply sync your entire music collection, but that doesn't seem very appealing now, does it?

And in response to Ed, who wrote:

>If you want to be DJ, plug straight in to computer speakers or carry the correct >cable or stereo system connection - it's so simple!

Remember, you're going to need a special adapter that will work with the recessed port Apple wisely decided to design into the iPhone. Sounds like a hassle to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Is this just what has always happened with iPod and iTunes?

Surely this "locking" is actually a standard feature of all iPods and iTunes and has existed since it first came out? An iPod is locked to the first machine you sync with in order to stop swapping/copying of music with other computers (a sort of DRM-lite to stop the majority of CD-ripping users) but as with most things Apple they can be bent to do other things and Apple does not try to stop you too much, i.e. it just makes it inconvenient.

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Aye

It is a real shame too, because like everyone, I have more than 8 gigs of music, and playlists chafe me something awful :(

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DJ at a party

FYI - if you're doing mixing on a deck at a party you probably would use a PC, MP3 player, USB pen or a phone plugged into the decks (I used my N95 a month ago at one). It's probably 50/50 aginst MP3 vs. CD's.

I put it on offline mode so I wouldn't get calls and text's. The reason? Because if you are mixing at a party as a DJ, you wouldn't be answering bloody calls anyway - because you're mixing!!!

Thought the hip, modern, fashionable Apple lovers would know that rather than spout it's a reason why you wouldn't use it to store music.

Anyway, thought "i'm a PC, i'm a Mac" tought us that Mac's do everything?

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