Tag Archives: Apple

It’s Time For an iTunes User Portal for Podcasters – PCN Show 015

iTunes logo newiTunes. Love it or hate it, we’re stuck with it as podcasters. Of course, iTunes is great when it works. But what about all of those times that an iTunes listing isn’t updating properly? Or how about when you need to change an RSS feed that controls an iTunes Store listing? Yeah, there are resources out there to help with these kinds of problems. But isn’t it time for a dedicated iTunes user portal for podcasters?

I ask this question and read a little but of listener feedback on this episode of Podcaster News Show.

iTunes Album Art Spec Goes Up Again

iTunes logo newSeems like it wasn’t all that long ago that we were reporting on Apple’s most recent requirement change to the iTunes specifications for album artwork. Last time, iTunes set the spec to 1400x1400px minimum with a maximum of 2048x2048px. Apple has upped their artwork requirements once again, as now the official iTunes Making a Podcast page states:

Create your cover art, which must be in the JPEG or PNG file formats and in the RGB color space with a minimum size of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum size of 3000 x 3000 pixels.

Overall, it’s not a huge change from the previous spec. But it’s been less than a year since Apple increased it the last time, which is one of the shortest periods ever between changes in the iTunes album artwork specification. Is it possible that Apple didn’t like the way the previous spec was looking on Retina Display devices? Or does the technology company have something new in the works that will really take advantage of these extra pixels?

Your guess is as good as mine. In the meantime, be sure to get all of your artwork updated to these new specifications.

Tip of the hat to IAIB who broke this news earlier today.

iTunes Store Experiencing Massive Outage

iTunes Store unavailable status messageIf you’re experiencing trouble today with the iTunes Store, don’t panic. The iTunes Store is experiencing a major outage due to an internal error.

A check of the systems status page for Apple services currently shows that the App Store, iTunes Store and Mac App Store are currently unavailable.

Apple is aware of the outage and is working to correct the problem. In a statement released earlier today, Apple blamed the outage on an internal DNS error:

We apologize to our customers experiencing problems with iTunes and other services this morning. The cause was an internal DNS error at Apple. We’re working to make all of the services available to customers as soon as possible, and we thank everyone for their patience,

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Apple Spring Event a Dud for Podcasting

Apple logoYesterday, Apple held its “Spring Forward” event in San Francisco. Buzz for the event focused on Apple’s new smartwatch. But rumors that had been circulating for a few weeks suggested that there would also be news about Apple’s MacBook line of laptop computers as well as Apple TV, the company’s home media hub.

And while the Spring Forward event held plenty of fanfare tied in with some cool announcements, there wasn’t much to be excited about for new media producers. Here’s a breakdown:

Apple TV: The big announcement here focused on the HBO NOW app coming to Apple TV in April. And while HBO NOW may be a boon to Game of Thrones fans, many in the new media community were hoping Apple would finally announce the opening of an app store for Apple TV, similar to the stores that exist on Macs and iOS devices. No luck there.

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Apple CarPlay Puts Podcasts Up Front

CarPlayTech website macmixing got the opportunity to do a hands-on comparison between Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay during the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show. Android Auto and CarPlay are the two leading “connected car” technologies that promise to bring the functionality of smartphones to automobile dashboards. Many in the podcasting community believe that the connected car will be the next big growth area for the medium, as it’ll make it more convenient for commuters to consume podcasts while driving.

macmixing produced a video that demonstrates the functionality of both Android Auto and CarPlay:

Both systems support podcasting apps. But because Android has no native podcast support, Android Auto users will have to navigate to a page that contains third-party apps. With CarPlay, Apple’s native Podcasts app appears on screen as soon as CarPlay is selected on the in-dash touchscreen.

This is the first demonstration I’ve seen of these competing technologies and they both look promising for making it easier than ever to listen to podcasts on the road. But once again, Apple has put support for podcasts front and center, while Google still relinquishes podcasting support to third-party developers.

Rob Walch of podcast411 and LibSyn has said many times that, if you’re a podcaster, Google is not your friend. And when it comes to the connected car, that statement is proven correct once more.

Make Sure Your Podcast Is Ready For iOS 8

iOS 8 LogoiOS 8, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, the software that powers all iPod Touches, iPhones and iPads will be released today. Apple’s proprietary Podcasts app will be automatically bundled with iOS 8. (Previously, users had to manually add the Podcasts app to their devices.) This means a whole new crop of users will be exposed to the app, and potentially exposed to podcasting for the first time. Make sure your show is easy to find and subscribe to within Apple’s podcasting ecosystem with these tips.

Ensure your podcast is discoverable in the iTunes directory: In order for your podcast to be listed in the iTunes Store (and in turn the Podcasts app), the iTunes-specific tags in your RSS feed must be properly configured. It’s likely that they were correct when you first submitted your show to iTunes. But sometimes, moving web hosts, changing publishing platforms or just random, unexplainable things can alter your RSS feed. And while your feed is still technically working with iTunes, details such as keywords or episode descriptions may have been lost. If your show is currently listed in the iTunes Store, take a look at its listing. Is the show album art up to date (current recommended spec is 1400×1400 pixels)? Is your show’s description still accurate? Are your show titles displaying correctly? If anything looks incorrect, check the iTunes tags in your RSS feed and make the necessary fixes.

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Apple Set To Acquire Swell For $30 Million

Swell LogoThe Internet is buzzing with news that Apple is about to buy podcast/streaming-media service Swell for about $30 million. Swell has been billed as a “Pandora for spoken-word content,” the service provides a personalized listening experience based on a listener’s individual preferences. Swell is different from most other podcast apps in that it focuses solely on news and talk content. In fact, it’s not even possible to use Swell as a traditional podcatcher. Any content not currently carried by Swell has to be approved and added to the service by Swell staff.

Most of Swell’s current staff are expected to be asked to join Apple. And apparently, the team was working on an Android version of Swell. But that will likely be abandoned.

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WWDC 2014: Nothing New For Media Producers

WWDC LogoApple’s latest Worldwide Developer Conference is happening this week in San Francisco. During Monday’s keynote address, presenters from Apple as well as third-party companies covered new and upcoming developments in the world of Apple software. And the key word here is software. The focus being on new versions of Mac OS X and iOS. And while these updates look like they’ll provide some cool new features for most users, I saw very little that would be of interest to new media producers.

In fact, the only thing that really grabbed my attention is included in the new Continuity feature. The idea behind Continuity is that it allows a seamless experience between iOS devices and Apple computers. One thing Continuity will allow users to do is to take iPhone calls thru their Macs. If Continuity uses Core Audio, it could be possible to record those calls on the Mac, which would be handy for interviews. Not that there aren’t plenty of solutions for doing that already…

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MLB Case Proves Cautionary Tale For Fan ‘Casts

MLB LogoLast week, many fan-created podcasts that focus on Major League Baseball teams disappeared from the iTunes Store. It was assumed by many that the removal of these fan ‘casts was prompted by takedown requests from Major League Baseball. Outrage ensued in the podcasting and journalism communities. Most (if not all) of the shows that were removed from iTunes have since been reinstated. And while there haven’t been any official explanations on behalf of Apple or Major League Baseball, the reason the initial takedowns occurred has proven to be a cautionary tale for anyone producing an “unofficial fan podcast.”

While it’s hard to say exactly what happened during last week’s takedowns, it looks like they happened thru a combination of miscommunications and standard operating procedures; MLB sent a bunch of requests to Apple because MLB felt those ‘casts were infringing on its intellectual property. Apple responded in standard fashion by hiding those shows from search results within the iTunes Store. MLB wasn’t necessarily asking Apple to remove the offending shows, just to alert those shows that they need to change their names or artwork to conform with MLB’s rules. The Internet got mad, causing a wave of negative criticism to land on MLB. MLB attempted to clarify its position with Apple, causing Apple to return the previously hidden shows to the iTunes Store.

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