updated 07:25 pm EST, Thu December 13, 2007
PC users, Apple gadgets
Thousands of consumers hoping to enjoy music, photos, and movies with Apple gadgets they receive this holiday season may need to learn some basic skills before diving right into the devices. Dave Taylor, a SupportSpace Committee member specializing in Mac as well as handheld technologies says the jump is even more difficult for most PC users. "Apple's iPhone and the latest generation of iPods have delivered enormous power and simplicity to the average consumer, but the technology is still complicated and usability is not 100% intuitive, especially for Windows users," he said.
"The key for holiday shoppers who want to avoid holiday frustration is to gain key bits of knowledge so they can enjoy their fabulous new tech toys."
SupportSpace CEO Yair Grindlinger says consumers need to quickly get the right answers to their questions, and that speedy aid is especially important during the holiday season when people would rather enjoy the technology than becoming frustrated by it.
The company is offering a list of tips for Windows users hoping to receive an Apple iPhone or iPod to help soften the learning curve, focusing specifically on the unseen obstacles most users will face:
- Audio files are in different formats: Apple iPods prefer MP3 formatted music, but Windows systems default to Windows Media Audio (WMA) format. Windows users who have a library of music will need to convert the files from WMA to MP3.
- Windows Media Player and Apple's iTunes compete for digital files: Users manage all content through Apple's Windows software application iTunes. Without it, copying music on to an iPod or iPhone is not possible, and if iTunes and Windows Media player "compete" for the data, users are in for hours of frustration. Once users learn to use iTunes, which they must install on their computer to get the iPod or iPhone to work properly, they can then manage audio and video content on their computer and have it automatically sync with their handheld device.
- Adding movie files is complicated by digital rights management and different formats: The constraining digital rights management policy of iTunes software and different video file formats can be difficult to work around and understand.
- Loading photos is not Plug and Play: For Windows users, managing photos can be difficult because there is no default photo application for Windows that is tightly integrated into iTunes. For Mac OS X users, iPhoto and iMovie functionality is seamlessly integrated into iTunes.
SupportSpace is also offering general tips for iPhone and iPod Windows users:
- Be sure to download the latest iTunes software from Apple: Particularly for Windows Vista users, it is critical to install the latest version of iTunes (Version 7.2 or later).
- Rip audio CDs in the proper format: Use iTunes to burn audio CD's, or if users want to use Windows Media Player, they must change its settings to create MP3 files, not WMA files.
- Understand issues about copying DVD movies to iPods and iPhones: Going to the iTunes Store to repurchase and download movies already owned on DVD is the legal way of getting the content onto iPods and iPhones. Copying DVD movies onto the iPod or iPhone is not legal, but can be done easily by purchasing third-party software that circumvents DVD encoding systems. Users should understand the associated copyright issues and proceed thoughtfully.
- Carefully manage content between multiple computers: iPods and iPhones "pair" to a single computer and will not allow users to copy digital content purchased at the iTunes store between multiple computers. It is important users carefully think through which of their computers should be paired with the device and "de-authorize" computers that won't be used any longer.