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iTunes Match - First Thoughts

Itunes match

Now that iTunes Match is available  (the $24.99/yr) digital locker offered to iTunes users, you may be wondering how it all works -- before you spend the cash. Ars has a great article, but here is my experience.

My 8,000 songs just finished matching and uploading, and so far so good. iTunes matched over 6,000 of these, and then uploaded the remainders that it couldn't match to it's iTunes catalog. I let it run overnight and by this evening it was complete. Now I have access via iCloud to all of the music that was on my iMac (my full library) on my Macbook Air, iPhone, Apple TV, and iPad.  Performance is fine on my Macbook Air with the music starting in under 3 seconds. On my iPhone, it typically takes between 5-10 seconds - which I think is much too long. If you start on a playlist, it's almost seamless, but the initial start of the first song is the one that takes the longest - frustratingly long. Petty, but when you get used to instantaneous playing (Spotify, RDIO, etc) you get spoiled.

Ars Technica has a great article worth checking out:

iTunes Match: your questions answered

iPhone Event Confirmed - October 4th

Oct4invite

FINALLY! iPhone event confirmation - October 4th on the Apple Campus. This is actually one invite that can be somewhat deciphered. The calendar shows 'Tuesday - 4' for Oct 4th, the Clock shows '10' for a 10am event (typical of all Apple events), and the '280' on the Google Maps represents the highway next to Cupertino, Apple's HQ. The Phone emblem and the '1' isn't as clear, but it probably refers to the event title - 'Let's Talk iPhone'. Meaning - one iPhone -- not two.

Sadly, I doubt it's going to be a 4G iPhone. We don't even know if it's going to be an iPhone 5. Maybe just a slight upgrade to the iPhone 4.

I do have a feeling that Apple won't offer a 4G phone until at least 2/3 of the US providers can support it. With 4G service still not prevalent everywhere-- Verizon in over 160 markets (mine included), and AT&T in 5, and Sprint in 40.. Well, I think we will be waiting until next year.

Apple has made mention of not making compromises to go to 4G, and that probably involves waiting for a lower power consumption chipset.

Still, this iPhone will be worth the long wait -- and iOS 5 is incredible.

 

 

Restore Data, Pictures, and more from iOS Applications

As iOS 5 approaches,  I would like to start fresh and no longer sync my iPhone & iPad to my iMac as my primary, and use my notebook instead. As I was looking for ways to do this without losing data, as some apps don't sync to the cloud, I need some methods to recover data from applications.

For example, I routinely scan in receipts using 'JotNot Pro', a wonderful scanning utility for the iPhone. I typically scan receipts, upload them to Evernote, and also save a local copy. The local copy is what I want to transfer over after my clean install so I will still have that data inside of the application in case I need to look something up and can't get online.

In fact, JotNot Pro is just one, there are several applications that I want to grab that data from -- Nike +, numerous high scores and saves from games, etc. As I've been working on a way to do this, I think I found a few cool utilities with the help of an easy to follow article from iSource.

Note: Before you start, if you have encrypted backups enabled, you may want to consider creating at least one unencrypted backup to get the full use of the utilities below. Use your own discretion on this, but your mileage may vary if you are working with encrypted backups.

 

Iphonebackupextractor icon

 

iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor - This application lets you extract the data from your backups that are created each time you sync to iTunes. You can extract the data for each application with this app.

Iexplorer icon

 

iExplorer - This little app lets you browse your iOS device as if it was a USB Flash drive. You can scan through all of the files and folders and copy what you need.

Picturescue icon

 

Picturescue - This app scans the backups from all of the iOS devices you have synced to iTunes and lets you extract the photos from them. Perfect for when you have lost your phone or it has been broken. Easy to use interface, and it works as advertised, but it is not FREE.  However, if you want your precious memories back, can you really put a price on that? For $4.99, this app is a steal and worth every penny. Note -- if you do encrypted backups, this is not going to work. That's why you do encrypted backups.. So some nefarious person that has stolen you iPhone can't do this.

I've made all of these 'must have' apps for that 'just in case' scenario. You know -- Just in case I lose my phone, just in case it breaks, or just in case I want to do a clean install. As a suite, they have enabled me to accomplish my main goal -- backup up the data and being able to restore specific pieces of information into a clean install. It's not for the novice, but then again, it's not rocket science...

Checking Data Before iCloud Hits

Before iCloud hits, I decided to check out my data usage for the iPhone 4s in our family. We have two iPhones on AT&T, mine and my wife's.  I'm on Wi-Fi usually, but I do travel a lot and stream a lot of music and podcasts. My wife is on Wi-Fi most of the time too, but, my daughter tends to use the Netflix app way more than we probably should allow. I'm not sure exactly what, but something started spiking our data in August & September. We aren't using iOS 5, so I'm not sure what it could be. Anybody else seeing this trend? If you want to take a look at yours, login to your wireless account and you should be able to get similar graphs.

 

Wife's Data Usage (Top) My Data Usage (Bottom)
Wife's Data

My Data