Thursday, September 19, 2013

iTunes Radio is now on the air.

Today was an incredibly exciting day at Apple. We're all elated knowing that today is the day our friends and family can finally experience what we've worked so hard to create.

Suffice it to say, the reaction from just about everyone is tremendously positive. There's nothing more gratifying and revitalizing than seeing the delight people experience after updating to iOS 7.

Personally, what I've found to be most gratifying is seeing the reaction to iTunes Radio. Reading through the #itunesradio tweets on Twitter, it takes no more than 10 seconds to realize the magnitude of joy we've brought into people's lives. The sheer diversity in customers and universal praise for iTunes Radio makes it clear we have a winner. It's very heartwarming and it's made today one that I'll never forget.

I thought I might take a moment to point out some of the most useful features of iTunes Radio, so that you can get the most out of it.

Featured Stations

Our team of passionate music experts have worked tirelessly to serve up a terrific selection of stations for you to enjoy. The stations cover a variety of tastes, so you're guaranteed to find something you'll love. We've also put together a very useful iTunes Radio Station Guide which describes these featured stations—go check it out.

If you find a featured station that you adore which you want to hold on to, tap the "i" button while in Now Playing and then tap "Add to My Stations."

Make Your Own Stations

While I'm certain you'll enjoy the stations we promote, sometimes you'll want to explore on your own. iTunes Radio makes that easy, too. In My Stations, tap the Add Station tile and we'll let you choose from over 250 stations organized neatly into a variety of helpful genres. Tap on a genre to see a list of stations within that genre. Tap on the station and you hear 7 second previews of the songs that will play on that station.

If you're in the mood for something specific, you can also create your own station from your favorite genre, artist, or song. Just type in what you're looking for in Search (above the list of genres) and choose the station you want to create.

Play More Like This

We tirelessly tuned all of the stations on iTunes Radio so that you'll thoroughly enjoy them without having to lift another finger. However, if you're pedantic (like me), you have the option to tilt stations in a variety of ways to satisfy your obsessive/compulsive urges.

To try this, tap that same "i" button in Now Playing, and you can choose to hear more of the Hits, or mix it up with Variety. If you're truly adventurous, switch it to Discovery and hear music you'll love from amazing artists you haven't heard of before.

One of the great things about iTunes Radio is that you can fine tune it as you go. Say you hear a song from one of your favorite artists, you can also ask iTunes Radio to Play More Like This and it'll instantly take note.

Music is often a matter of personal taste. Sometimes iTunes Radio may play music that others love but may not align with your preferences. Thankfully, you can choose to Never Play This Song. Play More Like This and Never Play This Song are available to you by tapping the Star button in Now Playing.

But what if you want iTunes Radio to include music on a particular station that it might not have played on its own? That's easy, too. Just tap "Edit" (next to My Stations), choose your desired station, and then add more of your favorite artists, genres, or songs.

New Stations from Your Own Music

One of the things that I love most about iTunes Radio is how it blurs the lines with my own personal music collection. Say I'm listening to one of my favorite songs that I recently purchased from the iTunes Store. I can simply tap "Create" from Now Playing and choose "New Station from Artist" and iTunes Radio will finish playing my song and then serve up new music from iTunes Radio, making it simple for me to find new music similar to the songs I already own and love.

Buy the Song (Or the Entire Album)

Buying the songs you love from iTunes Radio is effortless. We've added a handy "buy" button while each song is playing, so adding it to your collection is always a tap away. If you didn't get around to buying the song while it was playing, you can always visit the History, which keeps track of the songs you've heard—making it easy to preview and buy it later.

If you're like me, and you typically buy albums, we've made that easy, too. While you're hearing the song you like, first tap the "i" button and then tap the album "list" button (which appears between the song name and song buy button) to reveal the full album from inside the iTunes Store. You can  preview the other songs, read reviews, and buy the complete album—without ever having to leave iTunes Radio.

!#%$* Music

Many of your favorite songs actually come in two flavors — their original version with explicit lyrics, and a clean version that's safe for all ages. iTunes Radio plays it safe by spinning the clean version whenever available. That said, some customers prefer the original explicit version. Fortunately, those customers can switch to the original explicit version by tapping the "i" button from Now Playing and choosing "Allow Explicit Tracks." If you love Hip-Hop—you're welcome.

Hey, Mr. DJ.

From the same "i" button, you can also find an option to share your favorite stations with friends using Messages, Mail, Facebook, or Twitter. You even use AirDrop to share it if they're standing near by.

Each friend who tunes into your station gets it added to their My Stations list. What's more, you're now their personal DJ. As you fine tune your station by adding favorites, choosing to never play certain songs, and making other changes, your friends enjoy the benefit of your hard work and experience the music as you intended.

This makes iTunes Radio one of the best ways to share your favorite music with anyone.

Siri, Play My Capital Cities Station

One of the places I frequently enjoy music is in the car. Fumbling around with your iPhone while driving is not only difficult, but very dangerous. Thankfully, you can rely on Siri be your co-pilot.

You can always ask Siri to play one of your stations, play a new station from your favorite genre, skip to the next song, and take care of other common requests without ever taking your eyes of the road.

Now, that's Safe and Sound.

Early and Often

One of the things that's truly great about iTunes Radio is that it gets better with time.

As you play your favorite stations, make new purchases, Play More Like This, or Never Play This Song — iTunes Radio pays close attention to serve up the favorites you know, and new favorites you have yet to discover. And, your stations are constantly getting better because iTunes Radio gets to pick the newest songs from the world's largest and most popular music store on the planet.

iTunes Radio was tremendously fun to create and I hope you find these tips to be useful.

Thanks for reading and happy listening. :)


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My Favorite App

Everyone talks about how great apps are on mobile devices like iPhone and iPad. It's true, those apps are pretty amazing. That said, I think one app that deserves special recognition as being an amazing app, on any platform, is Apple Keynote.

I love Keynote more than any other app I've ever used. I use it almost daily. It's great for presentations, vector based image creation, basic image editing, collecting thoughts, telling stories, doing UI designs, and just about anything else you can think of. It's incredibly versatile and if you know what you're doing, an amazing productivity tool.

If you don't use it, learn it. If you're a marketer, designer, or creative thinker — there's no question that it's the best app out there.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pleasantly surprised.

I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised with the new Yahoo. I haven't used a Yahoo product in years. I hadn't even visited in years, and that's as easy as typing in a few characters in my browser. That's all changing.

Marissa is slowly resuscitating the image of Yahoo from a company that creates products for old people to a company that creates beautifully designed software and services for anyone.

While today's news was dominated by the Tumblr acquisition, I think the change that impressed me most is the dramatic redesign of Flickr along with it's 1TB of free storage. Bold move. 

The only thing that I would have done differently is staggered the announcements to get more air time with the press. Fortunately, Marissa is a smart cookie, she'll figure that out soon enough.

Go Yahoo!


Monday, April 1, 2013

The Walking Dead, Season 4 in October

How the hell are we expected to wait until October to start the next season?!

The concept of a TV "season" seems silly and antiquated.

I really wish that TV producers would just keep these shows going year-round—just a never ending stream of of new episodes, week after week, with no discernible season.

I think this is how soap operas work, maybe the only thing that's good about them.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Game of Thrones, Season 3

I had the good fortune to attend the San Francisco HBO premiere of Game of Thrones, Season 3. It took place at the Palace of Fine Arts and HBO went over the top.

Entering the venue, HBO had hired a dozen or so of actors to entertain guests in dressed in full character. The theater was packed with fans ready to watch the show. Members of the cast were in attendance. The author of the Game of Thrones season and producers of the show made themselves available for a Q&A following the premiere (interviewed by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher). HBO even followed up the premiere with an open bar cocktail hour.

All in all, a pretty cool event.

The actual season premiere was great. My only complaint about the show? Episodes are never long enough. Given all of the characters and story lines, it almost feels like the story progresses in small chunks throughout the hour and it's always over too fast. I wish each episode was two hours long.

Hopefully the producers are taking note ;)


New Podcasts app

Apple released a great update to the Podcasts app today. I'm pretty thrilled with how it turned out. I think my favorite feature is Stations, which makes it super easy to create lists of your favorite podcasts in your desired order, and it updates automatically as new episodes come out.

This feature makes it really easy to just play your favorite shows, back to back, just like a custom radio station.

The new Now Playing screen also offers a clean, and easy to use design that most people will enjoy.

This is definitely a worthwhile upgrade. Go check it out.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Her Special Day

Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday dearest Alin.
Happy birthday to you...
(and many more...)