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Well, there's that Airport Light thing, which probably isn't too bad. (Who would buy the expensive base station now?) Transporting your music wirelessly could turn out to be neat. Let's hope that it really performs as well as advertised. I sometimes find throughput in wireless networks unreliable to an extent that might make real time streaming infeasible.

Looking at the blurbs on Apple's website, it seems that another update to iTunes is imminent. It will let you select your 'Airport speakers' as an output. I really hope – but don't really expect – that Apple did this thing properly, i.e. enable iTunes for multiple sound outputs and on-the fly switching between those. E.g. when you have one of those iMic thingies with a proper line-out rather than your *Books built-in headphone port. Once that is done, given iTunes rather good multi-threadedness, it would be a small step to have different iTunes windows playing to different sound outputs at the same time – which would be neat for DJing, queuing up songs and so on.

Actually, I believe that it would be the 'proper' thing to do to integrate Airport audio on the level of system sound outputs rather than just into iTunes (which would of course make things a little harder for the Windows port). That way other sound sources could be used as well. On the other hand, using iTunes directly might give you your music unspoiled by sounds generated by other applications or the system. I'd quite like using the Powerbook's speakers for alert sounds while having the music cleanly on my stereo (though I can see people preferring it the other way round).

Once people actually start to use this gadget, I'd also find it interesting to see what kind of latency it has. Perhaps Apple make it do a little bit of buffering to compensate for network stalls. If that were the case and there is a real delay, using it as a system sound output would probably be out of question anyway (as some sounds are meant to be synchronous to stuff happening on the screen – not that Apple care too much about that [cf. the 'trash' and 'poof' sounds]).

Finally, there is yet another security update. Hopefully this is the real deal for the security flaws we recently saw. The explanation given by Apple looks reasonable: If an application has been set up as a protocol helper and is launched by an URL – the system will ask you whether you want to allow this before doing so the first time. It's good that Apple added the explanation clearly telling you to click 'Cancel' if you didn't expect this to happen – this kind of advice is quite rare. I also states the folder containing the application – although I suppose people may come up with funny schemes to fool people in this department.

The issues surrounding the disk: and telnet: protocols are also claimed to be addressed by this update.

June 8, 2004, 19:19

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