As badpauly correctly points out, there are serious caveats about the Genius feature in the new iTunes 8 and iPods. Submitting information about your whole library to Apple? Okaaaaaay. Yes Google does that and everyone’s running around like their Large Hardon Collider is on fire. Apple does it with shiny shiny colours and a big press launch and everyone’s like ‘do the shuffle shake? ooh how high?’ (hmm how soon is it before someone gets beaten up for ‘shuffling’ their new iPod – I give it about a week. Yes that gesture means something very different here…).
I have another thought – iTunes is increasingly becoming a record company, especially now the Apple Corps suit is now sorted. Telling what songs your iPod should play or recommends in your library gives Apple quite a lot of power – a power of suggestion; it’s one thing playing that new album, another if it keeps coming up in Genius or Shuffle mode…forcing it into your conciousness. That could make them a lot of money – it’s one thing having your album there, but to have it coming up regularly in Genius mode, that’s pure power.
And call me paranoid but I’ve wondered about the Shuffle algorhythms and suchlike in iPods – notice that some songs come around more frequently than others – and the 2nd song is usually a new one? There’s more than pure randomness there, for sure.
Also an addendum – today (Saturday) I fancied one of the new 16GB iPod Nanos, not sure I can afford it, I probably can’t but it doesn’t matter – the ‘available immediately’ last Tuesday was bullshit, the Apple stores don’t have any until next week. Well at least I avoided spending any money…