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New WinAmp targeted at iTunes?

updated 02:25 pm EDT, Thu September 13, 2007

Winamp 5.5 Beta

AOL's next version of WinAmp is built to draw users away from iTunes, according to advance information supplied to Wired. Version 5.5 beta (link active by 4PM Eastern) will reportedly feature a look much closer to the Apple player to ease newcomers into the software while still allowing the skins and other customizable visual elements that have defined WinAmp since its release in the 1990s. It should also sync and manage music for iPods without requiring a plug-in, though like any non-Apple software the AOL jukebox won't play or transfer protected FairPlay songs due to Apple's access limits.

Some of iTunes' minor features will also be shared but with important enhancements, the WinAmp team noted. Similar to Orb, users will have access to their music or video catalogs through a web-based interface through an Internet connection, bypassing the local network restriction of Apple's Bonjour networking. A playlist sharing function should also allow users to send an e-mail or SMS text message that produces a customized stream. Other WinAmp-specific features will include automatic "scraping" of MP3 blogs to download linked songs and hotlinks to concert ticket purchases or videos aggregated through AOL's services.

AOL is commemorating the tenth anniversary of WinAmp with the release and notes that the program is frequently more popular than iTunes outside of the US, where the iPod and Apple are less influential. AOL intends to launch a completed version 5.5 by October 10th at 10:10AM, when it should be available for free to users of most recent versions of Windows.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. Feynman

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2006

    -1

    I had no idea...

    ...WinAmp even existed anymore!

  1. jpellino

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999

    -1

    Here we go again...

    ... get in line behind Real. After they sell to the dozen remaining hard core AOL users, what then? They want to lure away iTunes users who will then have no access to their iTMS music? There's no mention of a store, so it looks like the time honored AOL business model of wrapping their own glossy cover around something someone else is already doing and making it sound different and important. They need to have an R&D department that's more than a couple of chimps, a handful of darts and a wall covered with WIRED articles from the mid 1990s.

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006

    0

    earth to slow peple

    Feature: "features a look much closer to the Apple player"

    Ok, copycats, it's not just about the looks. A good part of Apple's success is due to how well Apple product works. Appearently they did not do their homework at all if they think a difference between their player and Apple iTunes is the "looks."

    Another sign of bad product developers is that they think more features = better!? Actually, it's not about how many features that's available. It's about what features people want and how useable the features work.

    Their rational is to: attempt to copy the features using a broken copier, AND ADD MORE features, then wonder why no one would use their frankenstein suit with 20 shirt sleeves (20 is better than 2, isn't it...)

    If you cannot understand the usability issue, have a Mac guru or professional to show you how well iTunes and Apple products work, in blatant contrast to competiting products. Try it out for a month (not for 2 minutes or 10 minutes) and then decide what works better.

    Style without substance will not suceed. Apple's style is built on top of their very usable products that people actually ENJOY using.

    By the way, "Other WinAmp-specific features will include automatic "scraping" of MP3 blogs to download linked songs and hotlinks to concert ticket purchases or videos aggregated through AOL's services." Sounds like Adware to me.

  1. mgpalma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000

    -1

    yawn...

    Give it up, no one cares. I work with someone who was a diehard WinAmp user and finally turned to iTunes because of simplicity. He has never regretted the decision.

  1. exca1ibur

    Mac Elite

    Joined: Oct 2000

    -1

    iTunes Store

    As long as their customers aren't people with iPods they are good to go. As long as there is this thing called the iTunes Store and if you have this thing called an iPod and you want to keep it updated and syncing your media to it, Winamp isn't an option.

  1. bigmig

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004

    -1

    wow...

    The manufacturers of major media player apps are AOL, Microsoft, and Real. With design experts like that, no wonder Apple dominates the music scene.

  1. Herod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2007

    -1

    AOL?

    people still use this?

  1. Will C

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jan 2001

    -1

    Not tha unpopular

    There are quite a few user I know with iPods who prefer to use Winamp over iTunes saying it is faster and more to their liking - of course they tend to have both installed.....

  1. jarod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2005

    0

    AOL is DEAD

    You have to be living in a cave to still use AOL. LOLLLLL (let alone winamp).

  1. JackWebb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

    -1

    More irony

    I run an mp3 stream. Somehow just about everyone doing mp3 streaming insists on using shoutcast servers instead of icecast. I know WinAMP pretty much pioneered streaming mp3 with shoutcast so here's the funny part of it all since I have to use shoutcast b/c my upstream provider does. I know someone who doesn't want to listen to my station only because they don't want to install iTunes.

    Anyway, I wish that iTunes would adopt AAC-HC aka AAC+ so we could get that standard going. Would be nice to stream higher quality at lower bit rates for a change. Save money, conserve bandwidth, etc. Even though shoutcast has been pushing that format for years, we need iTunes to do it to get critical mass. I wish Apple would take the full responsibility of their dominant position and advance some standards even if they don't directly profit from it. Can't see why they don't do this one.

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