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Xbox 360 offer partial support for iPod

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 "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.

by MacNN Staff





  1. wanderlust

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This is a mistake.

    Apple presently has no direct competition with this component. Embracing even marginal compatibility with the XBox 360 (which will most likely be extremely popular with an important age group) would only serve to propel the ubiquity of the iPod to greater heights. Apple has everything to gain and nothing to lose by making protected AAC files play through this thing. This obsructionist-type decision making from Apple simply makes them appear spiteful. And that's the last thing it needs now during a string of unwelcome litigation.

  1. Gepard

    Joined: Dec 1969


    XBox is for games...

    What the XBox 360 or any other game machines have anything to do with any MP3 players at all? Every device has own purpose. As far as connectivity then you can use your iPod with either Mac or PC (Microsoft OS). Why would you need the Xbox to play your music through? If you are a music lover anyway you would use the iPod with some kind of fancy receiver-amplifier to listen to your music.

    There is no way the iPod and Xbox incompatibility would make the iPod less popular.

  1. benhur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    #$#@ Apple

    I love 'em but they drive me crazy sometimes. Why not support the Xbox? How would it hurt marketshare. The fact that the Xbox team are such huge fans of Apple's iPod (read the article) and would go out of thier way to support the iPod, well Apple will wish they would have later. The Xbox is going to win the next console market because of it's forward thinking and interoperability. Yes, I know it's MS and they're the devil but the Xbox team thinks different, which is how they landed Bungie.

    I suppose Apple could make the iPod compatible with the Pippen :) The only way I think this move makes a bit of sense is if Apple has some deal with Sony and the PS3. However, I would like to see full cooperation between the two and maybe have Apple desing the GUI for the PS3 and have built in iTunes. Not some half assed partnership like Apple Motorola had on the ROKR. But even then it may be too late. The xbox 360 is the future of gaming. Whether you like MS or not. I happen to know a lot of Mac faithful that own Xbox's. Ironic, but it speaks to how the Xbox team differs from the Microsoft team.

  1. Rincewind

    Joined: Dec 1969



    First, "Made for iPod" isn't a royalties initiative, it's a developer support program. It is JUST like Apple Developer Connection in that way, you pay a fee to get support directly from Apple.

    Now, what I don't get is, I can't see any reason for Microsoft to have not gone this route and and put a dock connector on the XBox 360. Maybe it doesn't fit with their plans, but it might have been the "official" route rather than some other way they tried.

    And I don't think Apple will sue. There are a number of more legally ambiguous utilities on the that will actually extract music from the iPod to your computer. The XBox 360 is only going to play music from the iPod. The article seems to imply they are using it more like an external hard drive than an iPod truly. As long as they don't decrypt protected AAC (like Real did) I don't see Apple's legal department pursuing this.

  1. benhur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    too bad

    I hope this doesn't lead to an iPod/Apple backlash.

    Gamers are a wierd breed. A group that Apple has never understood or adopted. Hardcore gamers are trend setters in a way. If Apple's not cool for being so arrogant and closing off their system, then it might have an effect. The gaming industry is bigger than Hollywood and the xbox figures to be the leader in the next wave of players.

    The xbox 360 builds a gamer community very well through xbox live. It just looks like Apple doesn't want to be a part of it.

  1. Stone Soldier

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: XBox is for games..

    Microsoft is marketing the Xbox 360 as a media/communication device, so it is not just for games.

    But besides this the 360 can pay your own music off an iPod during any game you want to play. Xbox owners are also a key demographic in the iPod market. I was considering getting an iPod for my 360 but now I probably wont. Apple comes off as the bad guy, especially if they sue, as MS has extended the Olive branch.

    I agree, this is a mistake..

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