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New Classical Box Set: Maria Callas Remastered

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I’m not a fan, but it’s worth highlighting this new box set of Maria Callas’s complete studio recordings, in a remastered edition. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) This is an expensive set: $275 or £211, but it contains 69 CDs, plus a CD-Rom with texts.

You can still buy an older 70-disc set of Callas’s complete studio recordings on EMI at a bargain price (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), but the new set has New, Better Remasterings. (This may be the case; I’ve not heard either.) Warner bought EMI, so they are releasing the new set on the Warner label.

If you are a fan, you’ll probably want this new set. If you’re on the fence, you might want to buy the older set, at least if you’re in the UK, where it’s only £52; it’s $136 in the US, making it less of a bargain.

Apple Shutting Down Beats Music? Of Course; They’ll Roll It into iTunes

Several sources are reporting today that Apple is planning to shut down Beats Music. This is part of Beats that Apple acquired recently for three gazillion dollars. Is this surprising? Of course not. Apple clearly has no interest in diluting their music brand. Beats was purchased to be rolled into iTunes, and we may even see this with the release of iTunes 12, which will be part of OS X 10.10 Yosemite.

I’ve long wanted iTunes to be a streaming service, where you could stream any music that’s sold in the iTunes Store:

What I’m suggesting, in essence, is that the wall between your music library and the entire iTunes Store library be torn down, for a fee.

It would make so much sense for Apple to do this, to no longer make a difference between what’s in your music library and what’s available to stream, and, with iTunes, they could accomplish this; something that others can’t do.

There’s no reason that Beats’ “human-curated” playlists wouldn’t be a part of such a service; there’s no rocket science behind them, they just take good personnel. We’ll see in a month or so when Yosemite and iTunes 12 launch.

Update: Apple has denied these rumors. For now. It still makes more sense for the streaming service to be iTunes branded.

Back in iOS 8: Delete Full Albums (and More) from the Music App

Sometimes, you want to delete some of the music on your iOS device; for example, you may want to delete that U2 album that Apple gifted you.

In iOS 6, you could delete full albums; but iOS 7 removed that ability. iOS 8 restores it, fortunately, allowing you to more quickly free up space on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

2014-09-22 12.56.20.pngTo delete an album, you need to be in the Music app’s Albums view; if you’re in any other view, you can only delete individual songs. Find an album you want to delete, then swipe left and tap Delete.

Note that you can also delete all of an artist’s songs and albums from Artists view, or all music from an entire Genre or Composer in those views. And you can delete Playlists or playlist folders from that view.

Does Your iPhone 6 Get Too Hot to Handle?

I noticed, the first day I had my iPhone 6 (Friday), that it got very warm. Asking on Twitter, two people replied that theirs got too hot to handle: one during setup and syncing, and another while playing a game. The second person was going to take it into a genius bar to have it checked.

I can’t recall the past few iPhones I’ve had getting this hot. Mine wasn’t too hot to hold, but it was warmer than I think an iPhone should be, especially since most of us keep their iPhone in a case for protection, and that prevents the heat from dissipating.

What about you? If you have an iPhone 6, does it get hot? If so, what are you doing when that happens?

Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Reachability Feature Is Illogically Designed

I’m finding that using an iPhone 6 with one hand is pretty much out of the question. Even though I have large hands, I can’t grip the phone well enough, and I can’t reach far enough to be able to do all I want. This is a big deal; I don’t want to always have to use two hands to do things on my phone.

IMG_2296.PNGApple added a feature called Reachability to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, and it’s a clever idea, but its design doesn’t make much sense. Here’s an example. Let’s say I’m in Mail, and I want to access my Unread mailbox. I can’t quite reach it with my thumb, so I double-tap the home button and the screen slides down, as you can see at the left.

But when I tap that mailbox, the screen slides up again. So if I want to tap a message, I need to, once again, double-tap the home button to slide the screen. Each time you tap something, the screen slides up, so you may find yourself going tap, double-tap, tap, double-tap, tap, double-tap. This isn’t very logical. There needs to be a “Reachability lock” mode, similar to caps lock, where the screen slides down and stays down until you perform a certain action.

And, why does the screen slide down so much (less than half-way)? This should be adjustable in the iOS Settings app. Some people may need only a bit of a slide on an iPhone 6, or more of a slide on a 6 Plus (the 6 Plus slides down a bit more).

An article on Quartz by Scott Hurff looks at how people use phones. In one study, 49% of people use their phones one-handed, 36% cradled (which I assume means with the phone resting on one hand, without gripping it), and 15% two-handed. They also include a very interesting graphical representation of which parts of our phones we can reach with our thumbs:

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I have large enough hands that there are now “ow” spots on the 5s, and, on the 6, my “ow” zone is a bit smaller. But the point is clear: larger phones require that we use them differently, and a lot of people may not find that advantageous, and prefer a more compact, more usable device.

Apple tried to get around the problem of the size of these new phones, but they could improve on this feature easily. As it is, it makes using the phone one-handed too complicated. Together with the difficulty I have in holding it one-handed, I’m seriously considering returning it and sticking with my iPhone 5s.

If There’s One Thing Apple Needs to Fix in iOS It’s This

Trying to add more music to my 128 GB iPhone 6; there’s about 50 GB free space, but iTunes sees this:

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I’ve had this happen so many times when a sync goes bad; the only solution is to restore the device. And that takes a long time.

Apple, you really, seriously need to fix this.

Update: A day later, it’s happening again. All the music is lost, and shows as other. Sigh.

Further Thoughts About the iPhone 6

So I’ve had the iPhone 6 for a day and a half. I wrote about my first impressions, posted about the interesting zoom mode, and did a test to see how fast the iPhone 6 syncs.

But now, after using the iPhone 6 for a while, it’s time for some further thoughts.

First, the size. It’s big; it’s a lot bigger than the 5s, and, since I’m used to using the 5s with one hand, it’s almost annoying that I can’t do as much one handedly as I could before. Part of the problem may be the case I have: I bought an inexpensive plastic Spigen case, which is thin and light, but which is a bit slippery. (Amazon.com, Amazon UK) I may try a silicone case, which may be more grippable. But I’m having second thoughts; do I really want to use a phone that’s not very comfortable, with which I can’t work the way I want and the way I’m used to? I’m going to give it more time and decide. I would actually prefer using it without a case; the metal feels easier to hold onto than the case, but with the cost of this device, I wouldn’t dare.

The iPhone 6 seems to get warm after a while, if I’m doing a lot, switching apps, or watching a video. I have never had an iPhone that felt warm, so this is something to keep an eye on. On Twitter, I heard several people mention this, so it seems to be common. But it doesn’t seem normal.

I like having 128 GB for my music; I’ve currently got 35 GB free, as I haven’t yet created playlists for more music (I sync by adding music to a variety of playlists; I don’t play them, but use them for organizing music by artist, genre, composer, etc.) I like having the free space if I want to put a movie on it, even though I rarely watch movies or TV shows on such a small display. But given the quality of the display, I could see myself doing so, with reading glasses.

It’s hard to tell how good the battery life is. Since I’m fiddling with it a lot, I’m using more battery than I would in normal use. It certainly doesn’t seem worse than the 5s, but I’ve had to charge it during the day today.

All in all, it’s a fine phone, but I’m a bit destabilized by the size, and by not being able to use it one-handed. It’ll take a bit more time to see if I can adjust.

The iTunes Guy Looks at Deleting Apps and Music, and More

itunesguy-thum-100004188-gallery.jpgRecent news is dominated by the iPhone 6 and iOS 8, but not everything in the Apple universe revolves around its latest releases. I have three burning questions in this week’s column that may interest iTunes users regardless of which devices they use. I look at a question about deleting all the apps in an iTunes library, discuss setting up iTunes Match and then deleting all your locally stored music, and look at a way to catch up on old episodes of podcasts.

Read this week’s Ask the iTunes Guy at Macworld.

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