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Of all the places you would expect the iPhone to shine, it would be with its ability to play music and video. For what it is worth, Apple’s interface to its "iPod" application is nice — assuming you are a big purchaser of commercial RIAA-sanctioned music. If you personally despise such draconian oversight, then the nice way the screen shifts from text list to graphical album cover (i.e. Cover Flow) when your switch the iPhone to landscape position is pretty useless. Since I only listen to music well outside of the RIAA's reach, all of my Cover Flow icons are nothing but a simple music note in the middle of a square. Um…thanks for nothing Apple. In addition, the only way you can get music onto the device is via iTunes — a DRM loaded and bloated piece of malware (yes, this is an opinion). OK, so maybe I am being a bit harsh, but in my world I want my music free of restrictions and that is not the iPhone way. On a Windows Mobile device, you have the option of using another DRM-laden program (Windows Media Player). Using this program you can keep your music/videos synced via an interface similar to iTunes. However, you can also manually copy files directly to the Windows Mobile device or a media card and play that media file through any number of alternative programs. Oh, and did I mention you can download music directly from the Internet right to the Windows Mobile device? Thanks to this feature, if I happen to be out and about and someone lets me listen to a song, I can immediately locate that song at a DRM-free store and download it. You can’t download anything directly to the iPhone.

Figure 11

Figure 11: iPhone iPod Playlist Screen

Figure 12

Figure 12: iPhone Cover Flow

In addition to the iPhone not being able to handle downloads, it also refuses to play streaming audio from the Internet. One of the most common things I do with my Windows Mobile device is listen to NPR via my EDGE connection through my Bluetooth headset. Let’s see the iPhone do that — NOT! Not only are sites like BBC, NPR, di.fm, Shoutcast, and more prevented from playing audio on the iPhone, but there is no audio link between the Bluetooth capabilities and audio playback. Come on Apple! Get with the program! These features have been available for years on Microsoft devices.

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