Apple iTunes Affiliate Program Changes

Earlier this week Apple sent out an email to affiliate members indicating some changes that will be taking place as of October 1st. Here is the email that was sent:

Thank you for participating in the affiliate program for apps. With the launch of the new App Store on both iOS and macOS and their increased methods of app discovery, we will be removing apps from the affiliate program. Starting on October 1st, 2018, commissions for iOS and Mac apps and in-app content will be removed from the program. All other content types (music, movies, books, and TV) remain in the affiliate program.

This will have some impact on some websites who rely on affiliate links from iOS apps, Mac apps, and in-app purchases to run their business. At least there is some heads up on this. This has been preceded by Apple reducing the payout from 7% to 2.5%. So it was inevitable that this would be the case that these would be removed.

I am not impact much by this because the website does not rely on affiliate links. I am curious to see how long the affiliate program lasts overall. I would not be surprised if it goes away in the future. It may take a couple of years, but it is possible that it will be stopped in the future.

Original Apple TV and iTunes Support Expiring

In today’s modern technology-based world it is not realistic, nor practical, to expect a company to support a product indefinitely. Technology changes and many older products cannot reliably be supported. While the length of service for many of Apple products are getting longer and longer, they all do have an inevitable end-of-life date. There are two products that will no longer function, as expected, beginning May 25th, 2018. Those two items are the first-generation Apple TV and iTunes on Windows XP and Windows Vista. Let us start with the original first-generation Apple TV.

Original Apple TV

The original Apple TV was unveiled as sneak peak in September of 2006, with the code name of iTV. The original Apple TV was a similar form-factor as the Mac Mini available at the time. The first-generation Apple TV sported two different video output connections; HDMI and component video. The Apple TV was capable of outputting up to 1080p. The first-generation Apple TV also had an optical audio out jack, a 10/100 ethernet connection and a USB port. If you did not have ethernet connectivity, you could connect via the built-in 802.11b/g/n wireless. When released, the original Apple TV acted more like an iPod or original iPhone, where you had to connect it to iTunes in order to synchronize your media. This process was definitely not ideal, and this did change as the software progressed, but it was the original solution.

The original Apple TV initially came with a 40GB hard drive, but Apple released a 160GB model in May of 2007. The hard drive connection on the Apple TV was not Serial ATA (SATA) as one might expect, but instead it was a Parallel ATA (PATA) connection. The operating system of the Apple TV was a modified version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. If you were adventurous enough you could actually install a full version of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger on it and use it as an actual Mac, but it was a limited amount of RAM, 256MB to be exact. This is a tiny amount compared today’s standards. From Apple’s support article:

[B]eginning May 25, security changes will prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes.
After the changes, you’ll only be able to access the iTunes Store on Apple TV (2nd generation) or later.

This really is the end of an era for the original Apple TV. Now, let us turn to iTunes.

iTunes on Windows XP and Vista

It is well known that Steve Jobs was adamantly against iTunes on Windows. He needed to be convinced. iTunes for Windows was initially released on October 16th, 2003 with the availability of iTunes 4.1. When it was first released iTunes was supported on Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Subsequent versions added support for later operating systems. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 14th 2014 and ended Windows Vista support on April 11th, 2017. Despite these operating systems no longer being supported by their manufacturer, Apple has supported these computers connecting to iTunes. Beginning May 25th, 2018 this will no longer be the case.

It is not that the software will stop functioning, at least in terms of being able to play the items you have already downloaded. The change is that the iTunes Store will no longer be available and you will not be able to re-download previously made purchases.

Starting May 25, Apple will introduce security changes that prevent older Windows PCs from using the iTunes Store. If you have Windows XP or Vista PC, your computer is no longer supported by Microsoft, and you’re not able to use the latest version of iTunes.

You can continue to use previous versions of iTunes on your Windows PC without support from Apple. However, you won’t be able to make new purchases from the iTunes Store or redownload previous purchases on that computer.
After May 25, you’ll need to use Windows 7 or later with the latest version of iTunes to make purchases from the iTunes Store and redownload previous purchases.

Closing Thoughts

I still own my original Apple TV. The featured photo at the top of this post is of my Apple TV taken with my iPhone X. The Apple TV has come a long way since its origins. I powered up my original Apple TV and it still works. I did have to hunt a bit for the remote for it, but I ultimately did find one of my original remotes that worked. I do not know if I will do anything with it. I may, like many others, end up using it as a stand for my iMac.


Digital Movie Deals

Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a good time to find some deals. I began looking at different movies that people may like.

Here are some of the deals I found. These will likely expire on November 28th, 2017. These are just a sampling of the deals that are available. All of the deals available from Amazon can be found on Amazon’s Cyber Monday deals page.

  Title iTunes Amazon
Schindler’s List $4.99 $4.99
Bourne Identity $4.99 $4.99
Brooklyn $4.99 $4.99
Planes, Trains and Automobiles $9.99 $4.99
Lego Movie $14.99 $5.99
Hunger Games $6.99 $6.99
The Princess Bride $14.99 $6.99
Wonder Woman $12.99 $9.99
Lego Batman Movie $19.99 $7.99
Idiocracy $4.99 $4.99
The Martian $9.99 $7.99
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory $4.99 $6.99
Office Space $4.99 $4.99
Day After Tomorrow $4.99 $4.99
The Imitation Game/td>

$4.99 $4.99

Podcasts Connect from Apple

Undoubtedly you have heard the term “podcasts”. Depending on your geek level, you may have not heard of them until late in 2014 with the release of the popular podcast Serial. Even though they may not have become super popular with most users, podcasts have been around well before then, for more than a decade now to be exact. Podcasts got their biggest bump, prior to Serial, when Apple added Podcast support to iTunes with version 4.9 in June of 2005.

Anybody can create a podcast and have it submitted to the iTunes Podcast Directory. Given the size and breadth of podcast types available in iTunes, many 3rd party podcast applications will use the iTunes Store to verify a podcast.

Previously, when a podcast creator wanted to submit a new podcast to the iTunes Podcast Directory, they had to use a form to submit their Podcast URL to Apple. Apple would crawl the feed and validate it, and if everything looked alright your podcast would go live.

The submission process was quite simple, but what happened if you changed hosting providers? You would have to do a manual redirect from your old feed to your new one. Once the redirect was in place, the iTunes Store would pick up the new feed and be updated. While this was as good method, it was not the best.

Podcasts Connect

To create a better experience, Apple has created a new portal for podcast creators called Podcasts Connect. Podcasts Connect allows for better management of existing podcasts as well as adding new podcasts.

With the Podcasts Connect site, to add a new podcast, you login with your Apple ID. Click on the “+” button in the upper left. You will be presented with one field to add your podcast, the RSS Feed. Enter in the RSS feed and click on “Validate”. Once you have clicked on the “Validate” button, many checks will be done on the feed.

These include, but are not limited to, checking the artwork, verify the RSS feed itself is valid, that episodes can be downloaded, a category for your podcast exists, whether or not an explicit tag is provided, and whether the podcast feed already exists.

If any of these items are not present, or if the feed has been submitted already, the validation will provide you with information about issues to rectify. An example is below.


If your feed passes all of the checks, you will be presented with a preview page, similar to the one below, and the status of the podcast will change to “Prepared for Submission”.


After you have double-checked everything on the page to verify that it is correct, you can click on the “Submit” button in the upper right it will submit the podcast for review. Once it is approved, you will receive an email stating such and it will be available in the iTunes Podcast Directory.


Editing an existing Podcast

There are times that you, as a podcast owner, may end up needing to change the feed for your podcast. It could be because you are switching hosting providers, or it could be because your podcast has become quite popular and need to create caching for podcast feeds. With Podcast Connect you are able to edit the RSS feed. To do this perform the following

  1. Login to Podcast Connect.
  2. Locate the podcast you wish to edit.
  3. Click on the cover for the podcast.
  4. In the URL field, put in the updated RSS feed.
  5. Click on “Save”.

On this page you will also notice a couple of features. The first is the “Last Refresh” time. This is good for determining when your podcast was last updated by Apple. There are also a few other features. You can refresh the feed. When you click on this, you will receive a message similar to the one below:


You can view the Podcast in iTunes, so you can see how it appears to others.

You can also hide the podcast from the directory. It is not 100% clear whether or not the feed will continue to refresh if hidden. It is presumed that it will.

The last option is to delete the podcast. This option will be best used if you no longer want to list your podcast in the iTunes Podcast Directory.

Possibile Future Features

Even though this is a great step forward forward in allowing easier management for podcast owners. I do think this step could bring some additional options in the future. One of the features that could easily be added would be the ability to charge for podcasts. Within iTunes it shows as “Free”. Yet, by adding a couple of options to the page, it may be possible to have a subscription model for a podcast. While I do not think many would take advantage of an option like this, it might be possible. Yet, knowing Apple it may not be very likely to happen anytime soon.

Final Thoughts

The addition of Podcasts Connect will make it easier to add and modify Podcasts. While many of the more tech-focused podcast owners would be able to create redirects easily. However, for the majority of non-technical podcast owners will now be able to make changes quite easily. I hope to see more portals like this from Apple that will make things easier for other types of users.

Daily Run Down 07/02/2013: Evening Edition

Here is this evening’s Daily Run Down.


Social Issues/Human Interest

General News























Total Number of stories: 82

Look for more stories tomorrow.