Today I read the article “My Songs, My Format” by New York Times’ Sean Captain (Late Edition – Final, Section C, Page 9, Column 1) and it erupted me to write the following letter to the Editor at New York Times (NYT).
Dear Editor,I was appalled to read such an article from New York Times.
Mr. Captain’s article is truly bias and had not explained clearly the facts about the topics he touched on. It would be very misleading to a layman reader of the article.
For example, Mr. Captain never explain the “AAC” codec (Encoder/Decoder), but instead referring it to “Apple’s format”. Implying that it is a proprietary format created by Apple. That is not the case.
The “AAC” format is part of the industry standard for MPEG-2 and MPEG-4, the version that Apple promotes is AAC MPEG-4, which commonly agreed by industry expert as having a better compression and sound quality than the MP3 format.
Aside from that Mr. Captain also fail to explain the concept of “bps” (Bits per Seconds), which is also very important when talking about compression formats and particularly important when comparing different codecs. One can not compare bit rates of different codecs directly. That like comparing apples and oranges.
Mr. Captain also fail to point out that there are many other MP3 players our there which also supports the AAC format.
As Mr. Captain correctly points out that Apple is a trend setter. Like when Apple removed the floppy disk player from their computers, “Macintosh” 5 years ago, everyone was up in arms calling it a stupid move that will destroy Apple’s market share. Now we see that other major manufactures are also following Apple’s directions and removed the floppy drive as standard equipment from the computers they manufacture.
Going back even further about 13 years ago, when Apple send out all their developers resources in CD-ROM format, the critics were all calling this a bad move, which is designed to force Apple’s developers to purchase the more expensive (at the time) CD ROM player option in their Macintosh. This took another 5 years for the rest of the world to realize that CD-ROM is a much better and preferred medium by the consumers.
Apple in the past had always try their best to stick with industry accepted Standards. Some times these Standards are well established in other times they may be recently approved as Standards, and lastly Apple’s own technology is adapted as Standards (ie. QuickTime, IEEE-1394 aka Firewire aka i-Link).
For a publication like New York Times, I believe it has much better integrity that to publish something that is so misleading to the average reader that cause them to draw an incorrect conclusion about the subject. As for Mr. Captain, he should be much more responsible to verify and clarify his facts and terminologies in his article, rather than to allow the readers to do the verifications themselves before coming to a conclusion about his article.
I am sure that Mr. Captain does not intentionally want to mislead the New York Times readers. I urge you to insist on a retractile or a following clarification article to this one by Mr. Captain.
Unfortunately, due to the commercialization of New York Times online I am not able to provide the link (URL) to the actual article on NYT’s web site.