The Internet is changing the way we listen to music. Apple Computers is addressing the brave new world of online music with its new iTunes system, downloadable for free at www.apple.com/itunes. Version 1.1 is a Mac-only application that requires Mac OS 9.1 for full functionality. (A new version will be available soon for OS X.)
ITunes is designed to be a one-stop shop for all your digital-music needs. Start with that chaotic stack of music CDs you've been collecting. Slip one into your CD-ROM drive, and iTunes will rip your favorite tracks onto your hard disk as small high-quality MP3 files. It then provides access to the astonishingly comprehensive online Gracenote database (www.gracenote.com) and stores the album name and artist for the track. Then you can create and organize a searchable Library of your preferred songs for instant and easy playback.
The Library can function as though it were your own private radio station running in the background and playing only the songs you want to hear. You can also use iTunes to tune into any of hundreds of Internet radio stations, create a list of songs you want to listen to and burn them to CD-R, or load tracks into your Rio MP3 player to liven up your daily commute. Otherwise, just use the Music Visualizer to kick back and zone out to a trippy light show that changes to the beat of the music.
The simple Aqua-style drag-and-drop interface allows you to do all those things and more. The software is optimized and accelerated for dual-processor G4s and supports a range of MP3 players and USB/FireWire CD-RW drives.