When you combine Twitter, email, forums, and all the other channels, Rene gets sent dozens and dozens of questions a day. Since it's not even inhumanly possible to answer, let alone research, them all, we're starting a new column where he can post answers for everyone. So, if you want to share your questions and concerns, hopes and gripes, send them to email@example.com or tweet them to @reneritchie with #askrene.
Burning Apple Music to CD
Is there/will there be a way to burn a playlist created with tracks from Apple music to disc? I know what you're thinking, this guy wants to burn as much music as possible during the 3-month trial and then upload it with iTunes Match. I'm really just curious since I have one vehicle with just a CD player, no aux input or Bluetooth. I don't like driving around with earbuds in. — JF
Apple Music is $9.99 a month for a reason: it's ephemeral. Sure, you can download some amount of it for offline playback, but that's a concession rather than an invitation. In other words, the record labels would never allow direct CD burning. (Apple hasn't even added support for Apple Music on the new iPods nano and shuffle, so that should give you some idea of where CD burning is on the list.)
If the CD player in your car has an FM radio attached, you can try an FM transmitter. It's an old school solution, and less than ideal for a number of reasons. I used one for years—an older version of the Belkin TuneCast—while commuting to work so I could listen to podcasts and most of the time it worked.
4 inch iPhone
Is the new iPod Touch a sign that Apple has figured out how to get the Apple A8 into a smaller form factor and will be releasing a new iPhone with a 4-inch screen this fall? I'm still rocking my iPhone 5 and I don't want to upgrade to anything bigger. They're just not usable. — BT
Getting an Apple A8 chipset into an iPod touch-sized package was likely never a problem—getting enough Apple A8 chipsets produced last year to make them available to anything other than the iPhones 6 and iPad Air 2 was likely a problem.
Keeping the iPod touch at 4-inches was probably the result of several factors. First, it allowed them to reuse the same basic hardware as before. Second, it allowed for obvious differentiation from iPhone and iPad. Third, it turned pocket-ability into a feature.
A lot of this involves matching the technology they want to use with the price point they want to hit. The iPod touch starts at $199. An iPad Air 2 starts at $499 and an iPhone 6 at $649 (and on full, traditional contract is only subsidized down to $199).
That—technology and price point—is where pondering an updated 4-inch iPhone becomes interesting.
In short, if the big iPhone 6s is $199 on contract, and the bigger iPhone 6s plus is $299 on contract, would it be better for Apple and its margins to have an older iPhone 6 at $99 on contract, or a smaller iPhone 6c?
In long, I wrote about it back in march in a piece called "The iPhone 6c potential".
Personally, however, I'm hoping the evolution of technology allows us to keep the 4.7-inch screen in a casing that's the same size as the iPhone 5. Because I don't think people really want smaller screens. I think they want smaller phones.
iPod Touch ID?
No Touch ID [in the new iPod touch] is a surprise. Thoughts? — @chrispalomares
It is a surprise. 2015 is the year Apple wiped the Apple A5 and 32 bit processors off the company's mobile map. (Hopefully they'll push out the new Apple TV this fall as well and make it truly a clean slate.) Yet Apple didn't wipe out the old, dumb-as-in-not-smart Home button at the same time.
Since Apple did roll out Touch ID across both the iPad Air and iPad mini lines last year—something they didn't do with the Apple A8 processor—it's likely supply constraint isn't the reason. That leaves price and positioning.
Once again, the new iPod touch starts at $199. An iPad mini 3 (with Touch ID but with an Apple A7 chipset) starts at $399. An iPad Air 2 (with both Touch ID and an Apple A8) starts at $499 and an iPhone 6 (also with both) at $649 off contract.
Granted, all of those also have bigger, better screens, and the iPhone has a cellular radio and GPS, but we're talking $200 cheaper for the entry level models. And that's like why there's no Touch ID.
Of course Apple could afford to add Touch ID regardless of the price point. As one of the most profitable companies on earth, Apple could afford to add gold regardless of the price point.
But part of being a company like Apple is figuring out how to balance all the products. And getting the iPod touch out at $199 meant the balance, to the company, didn't include Touch ID.
At least not this time.
Original Apple TV as travel movie player
Can you still drag movies to the the very first generation Apple TV and take them anywhere with you like back in the day? I currently own a houseful of everything updated Apple.... I'm going on vacation, and I thought about the old easy way of storing favorite movies on the first generation streamer. Most hotels have easy HDMI hookups now as you know. If so, can you get me up to speed. I can't figure it out with the latest update of iTunes and home sharing on my network. Everything in the house is Apple. Thanks. — KK
You can still sync movies but you'll need to make sure they're in the format the original Apple TV supports—720p at 24fps. Go to iTunes > System Preferences > Store Preference and make sure 720p is set as the download preference.
That said, you might have better luck getting the HDMI to Lightning adapter for one of your iOS devices and using that, especially if you have an old iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch lying around. It's even more portable and you won't have to worry about damaging a hard drive platter the way you would with the original Apple TV.
Shuffling Apple Music
Just found the biggest flaw with #AppleMusic. No shuffle button for artist in My Music. Can't shuffle all songs by an artist. — Rob Keehn
Siri to the rescue! To quote myself: Siri is now the easiest way—and sometimes maybe the only way—to shuffle anything and everything you want shuffled in Apple Music.
If you have an Up Next queue or playlist playing, say "Shuffle" to mix it up. If you want to listen to an artist or album, say "Shuffle Public Enemy" or "Shuffle 1989".
Hamburgers vs. ellipses
what's the difference btw ellipse and hamburger menu? do you think Apple is going against it's own HIG with the ellipses in Apple Music?— Rogifan
Hamburger is designer slang for the "Menu" button (looks like ☰) many apps use to trigger the opening of a sidebar or screen filled with options, sometimes completely unrelated to each other or anything else.
That was the beef with the burger: that some apps would just throw anything and everything into that sidebar, filling it with junk. Hence the slang term for the sidebar or list view—the basement. It was, in many cases, the opposite of restraint and focus.
There's been a lot of pushback against the Menu button over the last few years. It can still make sense when you have legitimately complicated apps you need to fit onto small screens, at least Google and increasingly Microsoft seem to think so. Apple and others have been gently—and not so gently—steering people away from them in recent years.
What you typically see in iOS these days in the Back button (looks like ‹). Rather than open a junk drawer, it goes back in the navigation hierarchy. For example, to switch email accounts, calendars, conversations, settings panes, etc. Items in those lists typically aren't random, they're related. (You can—and many do—argue that in practical implementations there's often an overlap.)
The Music app uses the "More" button (looks like •••). It's not new. More buttons have been around since the first version of iOS (née iPhone OS). The difference is that More used to be limited to a tab at the bottom of an app and tapping it slid you over onto a new list view containing a bunch of extra options (if you think that sounds a lot like Menu + Sidebar, you're right).
Now, with Apple Music, the More buttons are everywhere; to the right of almost everything. And instead of moving you over to a new screen with a list view, they pop the list view up over the current screen.
Like the hamburger, it's a way to get a lot of complexity onto a finite amount of screen space. Like the hamburger, it also feels like less than an ideal solution.
In a world where every Apple device has Force Touch like the Apple Watch, maybe that becomes a better way to hide and access options, or maybe it becomes just the latest less than ideal solution. Time will tell.
To get back to the original question, though: No, ellipsis aren't the new hamburger. They're the original hamburger. And they're back with a vengeance.
More Apple Music and iOS 9
Note: We're still receiving questions about iOS 9 and Apple Music. Most of them have already been answered in our FAQs so be sure to check those out.