updated 03:00 pm EST, Fri November 4, 2005
Xbox 360, iPod support
Microsoft's Xbox 360 offers partial support for Apple's iPod digital music player, but because Apple is not officially backing the interoperability of the devices, songs downloaded from Apple's iTunes Music Store . Jeff Henshaw, Xbox digital-entertainment executive producer said Microsoft tried to "engage" Apple in a partnership that would have enabled the Xbox to officially support the iPod, but Apple rejected the offer, according to a report from News.com. "So we went in and built all of the support we could," Henshaw said. The Xbox can stream any standard MP3 or AAC file from an iPod, but not protected songs purchased through the iTunes Music Store, which will appear grayed out, according to the report. One analyst, Richard Doherty, president of Envisioneering, predicts that Apple will fight Microsoft once the new Xbox launches on November 22nd.
"We expect Apple will have some retaliation ready within days or hours of the Xbox 360 shipping. If you have iTunes prior to last May, it may work with the Xbox 360 forever, but if you accept updates (from Apple), it may work differently," Doherty said.
Apple is attempting to collect royalties from makers of any accessory device that interfaces with the iPod through the dock connector, via its "Made for iPod" program. Henshaw said that the Xbox is working around Apple's dock connector by using a standard USB port for connectivity. Neil Benson, the creator of iPodcopy, said making a connection to the iPod is more complicated than Microsoft is making it out to be.
"The trick is finding the right files," Benson said, noting that iPods scatter music files across random directories and renames them. "It would be unfortunate to see Apple inhibit people's ability to enjoy their own music," Henshaw said.