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Summary:

I was playing with several phones over the weekend and I’ve come to the realization — later than others, I imagine — that I’ve had it with iTunes. Actually, I was already headed down this path a year or two ago. When Amazon opened up their […]

doubletwist-logoI was playing with several phones over the weekend and I’ve come to the realization — later than others, I imagine — that I’ve had it with iTunes. Actually, I was already headed down this path a year or two ago. When Amazon opened up their MP3 store, I completely ditched iTunes for music purchases. I had only made about two through Apple, anyway. But ever since I started centralizing music on my Windows Home Server, I’ve come to totally want an iTunes divorce. Of course, the iPhones in our house mean that I’ll have to share joint custody of our handsets with iTunes. I’m thinking of petitioning for limited visitation rights — only when there’s a software upgrade for our phones. Meanwhile, DoubleTwist might be the iTunes replacement I’ve been looking for.

If the name DoubleTwist sounds familiar — it should. James pointed it out earlier this year as a way to convert and transfer media files to his BlackBerry Storm. But now DoubleTwist has matured. It’s no longer Mac only, as the Windows beta version is official. Even better — the application now hooks directly in to Amazon’s music store. I hit the store on a daily basis through Amazon’s website, but I’m now going right through DoubleTwist. Why hit the music store every day? Amazon offers a different MP3 album nearly each day for as low as $3.99. I often get full albums for a buck or two, if not free on occasion, with this method. And previewing the songs for the daily album broadens my musical horizons — even if it’s an album that I wouldn’t normally consider buying, I’m getting exposed to various sounds and artists.

On the Mac, DoubleTwist has the same look and feel as iTunes and offers DRM free music. But unlike iTunes, the new DoubleTwist client syncs music on dozens of devices: the Palm Pre, most BlackBerry models, Nokia N- and E-series devices, Windows Mobile 5 & 6 devices (on PC only), the Sony PSP, and even my Amazon Kindle. With DoubleTwist, you can create and manage playlists or you can use the app to listen to music as well. I also see a social or sharing aspect with a friends list, but I haven’t investigated that too much. I never got into those types of features for media, which probably explains why I never embraced Last.FM like many of you have.

Unfortunately, I can’t initiate the divorce papers between my iPhone and iTunes just yet — DoubleTwist currently works with iPhone OS 2 at the moment, although support for version 3.x is in the works. Once support for Apple’s latest iPhone OS arrives in DoubleTwist, I think I’m about through with iTunes and its device lockdown.

 

  1. I’m interested to see how DoubleTwist performs on windows. iTunes 9 is just driving me nuts. On vista 64 it keeps popping to the front every 15 seconds or so in addition to being horribly bloated and very resource heavy. It’s just annoying. Most people probably are stuck though if they have an iPhone. And pulling straight music files out of iTunes is one thing, extracting playlists and ratings is another.

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    1. iTunes has always been awful on Windows but great on Macs.

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      1. My experience as well. I hated itunes as it was not at all available on linux and I had to use Windows XP to run it. I returned my first generation iphone because of the awful user experience, and because of how you can’t even get your own photos off of a device if you lose your original itunes database. Now that I a year later bought a macbook pro and per educational discount got an ipod touch along with it at no extra cost, I actually start liking itunes and feel the grip on content less, also because I have direct file level access to the mp3’s in the itunes database on the macbook. Now my phone is an android G1 and so I was wishing there was itunes support for that… sounds like double twist is just what I need, plus if they in the future support multiple stores it would be awesome…

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  2. Device lockdown? Why would you expect Apple software designed to work with Apple hardware also support other devices? Makes no sense. At all.

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    1. Yes, I would. There’s no logical reason why I shouldn’t be able to use iTunes to move music and videos that I have purchased from my Mac to any device that I might own other than Apple protectionism.

      Should I only be able to use iPhoto with an Apple camera? Must I use an Apple video camera to put data into iMovie? Should I only be able to sync Address Book entries with an iPhone?

      Frankly, the reason Apple only supports syncing with iPods via iTunes is because they can–they own the market for music-players. Before Apple had the iPod, iTunes on the Mac would sync with numerous third-party music players. Apple also licensed the synchronization protocols to another company before they released iTunes for Windows.

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  3. I had some problems with the latest release of iTunes so I thought I’d have a look. In addition to using my 60GB iPod Photo as my primary audio device the concept of being able to mange audio on my Samsung Omnia made me try the latest version of DoubleTwist. Unfortunately this product doesn’t provide the features I can’t live without in iTunes.

    When I travel my iPod is always with me to allow me to catch up on all the podcasts I listen to. DoubleTwist doesn’t have an integrated podcatcher and lumps all of my podcasts together into a single podcasts folder (no ability to roll up/hide the individual podcasts under a specific show). The ability to manage podcasts as playlists is an absolute requirement (changes Apple made in the way playlists are synced in the latest version of iTunes is one of the problems I had with iTunes). From reading the FAQ it does appear that I will be able to create playlists in the Windows version being released Oct 13.

    I’ve come to rely on iTunes “Radio” to compensate for the poor radio reception in my house. While I could switch to Pandora the concept of a single app to mange my listening experience appeals to me.

    As part of sharing on my blog I recently started to use LiveWriter add-ins to share what I am listening to when I post. At this time no LiveWriter add-in for DoubleTwist exists.

    I’m also not thrilled by the fact that if I’m not connected to the web so that the application can connect to its servers to authenticate me it won’t start. The only reason it needs to authenticate me is to to support the social functions of the app. However it does make me wonder what else the program might be doing that I’m not aware of (I know I’m paranoid, its a requirement for a job in Info Sec).

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    1. All fair criticisms and it underscores how there’s usually not a “one size fits all solution” because all of our needs vary. I’m fine with Pandora in lieu of the iTunes Radio function and I only listen to podcasts on my phones. Since they have connectivity (and podcatcher apps), I can overlook the podcasting issues in DoubleTwist for now. :)

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      1. I completely agree, we all work differently, and I’ll keep my eye on this product. I am intrigued by the ability to manage content on all my mobile devices (including cameras) from one app and I’d like to learn more about what appears to be the ability to import content directly from online resources such as youtube. There is merit to some of the social aspects of the application for use with a “family” sub-set of a social network.

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  4. I’ve been headed down that same road myself. I finally decided to switch permanently to the Google Ion (developer version of the magic), leaving behind my iPhone. I also won a sansa clip at a recent gadgety event (which I really like). Double Twist is great for getting music and videos to those things. Now, I’m looking for a new way to get video podcasts. Double Twist sees the Podcasts category from iTunes, but none of the video ones. I know I can use Miro to grab the videos I want. I think Miro saves into a folder that Double Twist checks. Does anyone have a good set up with Double Twist and podcasts?

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    1. We are working on some pretty cool podcasting features, stay tuned!

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  5. I find it amusing how people complain about iTunes being bloated, etc. then go on to try little hacks like Double Twist and complain that it lacks features. Yes, it’s true that one size doesn’t fit all, but I’ll take the features, thanks…

    If you don’t use an iPod or an iPhone, I would agree that you should look at alternatives. From what I’ve seen, nothing else is an adequate replacement for me. I’d rather use iTunes and have some other program sync the data if necessary than not use iTunes at all. People complain and suggest that Apple should provide sync solutions for third party devices. These people have to realize that iTunes is free because their business model is about selling hardware, not software.

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  6. Use iTunes but buy content from Amazon is my advice.

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  7. I’d like to use DoubleTwist exclusively but strangely it doesn’t offer the option to manage its own library of music. You have to point it to an itunes or windows media player library. I hope they have plans to add the ability to just install it fresh on a computer and have it manage its own library.

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    1. Digging around in their forums I did find that an upcoming version will have the ability to add music directly to the DT library without having to point it at an existing itunes or windows media player library.

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    2. It also uses the Amazon MP3 folder as a music library source. If you haven’t bought music from Amazon, you likely don’t have that folder. Since I purchase all of my digital music from Amazon, I do have it and it appears in DoubleTwist as a source. I don’t know that it needs an iTunes library in order to function, but I haven’t removed iTunes from my MacBook to test it.

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  8. so can you run Apple Store besides Amazon? If not, how are you guys planning to browse the wonderful iPhone applications on this double twist?

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    1. I simply use the App Store on the iPhone. I don’t think I’ve ever browsed the store through iTunes on a computer.

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  9. I’m a little confused.

    Does doubleTwist replace iTunes, or just help sync iTunes to phones? I’m about to buy a Droid, and I’m looking to still use iTunes to manage my media at home – more specifically, my wife likes the ‘Tunes and won’t give it up. Would I have to ditch iTunes and switch over completely to DT?

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