It would have been highly inappropriate for me to comment too much on the iPhone while I was working at Microsoft.  I am absolutely a loyal employee - however, that is no longer an issue since I was part of the July 2010 layoffs at Microsoft.   So let's talk iPhone!    

One of the cool things about the iPhone, if you are not an iTunes loyalist - is that you can actually maximize your subscription music investments.  This blog post will focus on music apps -- one of the things the iPhone does best of course!  

My top 4 non-iTunes Music Apps are:

       1.   Rhapsody
       2.   Pandora Radio
       3.   iHeartradio
       4.   XM

All of these apps can be downloaded of course, at Apple's AppStore via your phone or through iTunes. 

I subscribe to Rhapsody, as you know, if you have read through the previous posts.   I prefer streaming my music vs. owning it.  Unless you have a particular attachment to an album or track, I see no reason to own anymore.  In fact - I recently ripped all of my CD's into my computer and then carted them off to a used CD store & sold 'em.   Streaming just makes sense - now, a true audiophile would argue about sound quality, but for most people - you aren't going to be bothered nor notice a difference from your CD - convenience to choose any song from a library of over 2M albums with CD quality, far outweighs the audiophile high sound requirements for most people.  With Rhapsody, you can also buy tracks like you can with iTunes should you find that you JUST GOTTA HAVE IT!  

I use my Rhapsody account on my Sonos System at home (see previous post) as well as my portable devices which include a Rhapsody Sansa e200 player, iPhone and iPod Touch.   Now that is leveraging your investment!

The Rhapsody app for iPhone/iPod/iPad allows you to stream music via your iPhone or you can download your playlists and not have to rely on good connectivity if you are on a road trip!   If your car has an AUX jack, you just plug in a stereo mini-8 cable into your jack and your iPhone and you are on your way.   Don't have AUX?  Well, you can still listen old-school style with cassette adapter.  If you don't know what that is, send me a note.

By the same token - if you are an XM user - pitch your XM handheld, maybe even your subscription on your car and move to the app on your iPhone.  You still have to subscribe to XM, with an 'internet' subscription.   This is a monthly subscription.   You can tune in your favorite stations commercial free.   I personally like the CoffeeHouse station.  I have to revisit my need for XM, because right now I have the subscription only on my boat (did I mention I have a hot boat and an amazing stereo set up there? -- another post, another day).

Pandora - unless you have a reason to pay for really ought to just use Pandora.   If you aren't familiar with Pandora. go to and find out what it's all about!   Briefly, Pandora allows you to pick a favorite artist or track and it will build a custom radio station for you based on your musical taste, over time you tweak the station by giving a thumbs up or thumbs down to tracks that play.  You like a track, give it a thumbs up and you get more songs that are similar in musical composition.  The reverse is of course true for a thumbs down.  Pandora is free, and now with some commercials.  If you want commercial free - pay the $36 for a one year subscription (WORTH IT!).

The Pandora app for your -- shall we just call them "iDevices" -- streams music and lets you listen to 'your music' without having to create a playlist or think about it.  Good stuff.    If a call comes in, again - your iPhone will be a phone first and a music device second.   The call will ring through and when you are done talking you have to launch the music app again (or with IOS 4.0 it will still be active). 

Let's talk iheartradio.   Now, I like this because you can get some awesome commercial terrestrial stations (that's non-satellite AM/FM) over your iDevice without actually having a tuner.  I use this mostly to pick up talk radio programs I like, such as the TechGuy (Leo Leport), the Dave Ramsay show and if I think I need therapy, I tune in Dr. Laura to learn that I don't.   I also like KBCO -- a Boulder, Colorado station that rocks (thanks MKT!).

That's all for today - hope you have a rockin' day or night!

--- GT