The MP3 Format Used on Original iPod is Officially ‘Terminated’

MP3, the digital audio coding format that Apple used for music downloads on the original iPod, is officially dead. The announcement comes from The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (via NPR).

The Fraunhofer Institute owns the patent rights related to selling encoders and decoders of the format to developers, and recently announced that its “mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.”

Because the Institute’s MP3 licensing program is closing, developers will no longer be able to build software that supports the format.

According to the Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute, this is because more modern digital audio coding formats have emerged, namely “Advanced Audio Coding,” or AAC.

In an email to NPR, Fraunhofer director Bernhard Grill said that AAC is now the “de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones,” because it’s “more efficient than MP3 and offers a lot more functionality.”

We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades.

The development of mp3 started in the late 80s at Fraunhofer IIS, based on previous development results at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers. However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H. Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.

Today AAC is the format that Apple uses for music downloading on both iOS and macOS devices, after originally helping popularize the MP3 format with the first-generation iPod in 2001, which could store up to 1,000 songs that were encoded using MP3. Although no new MP3-based products will be licensed from now on, the Fraunhofer Institute noted that it is “still very popular amongst consumers” and is expected to stick around on legacy devices for a few more years.
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Licensing for the MP3 Format Used on Original iPod is Officially ‘Terminated’ as Patents Expire

Licensing for MP3, the digital audio coding format that Apple used for music downloads on the original iPod, has officially ended. The announcement comes from The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (via NPR).

The Fraunhofer Institute owns the patent rights related to selling encoders and decoders of the format to developers, and recently announced that its “mp3 licensing program for certain mp3 related patents and software of Technicolor and Fraunhofer IIS has been terminated.” This means that developer use of MP3 won’t require a licensing patent anymore.

According to the Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute, this is because more modern digital audio coding formats have emerged, namely “Advanced Audio Coding,” or AAC.

In an email to NPR, Fraunhofer director Bernhard Grill said that AAC is now the “de facto standard for music download and videos on mobile phones,” because it’s “more efficient than MP3 and offers a lot more functionality.”

We thank all of our licensees for their great support in making mp3 the defacto audio codec in the world, during the past two decades.

The development of mp3 started in the late 80s at Fraunhofer IIS, based on previous development results at the University Erlangen-Nuremberg. Although there are more efficient audio codecs with advanced features available today, mp3 is still very popular amongst consumers. However, most state-of-the-art media services such as streaming or TV and radio broadcasting use modern ISO-MPEG codecs such as the AAC family or in the future MPEG-H. Those can deliver more features and a higher audio quality at much lower bitrates compared to mp3.

Today AAC is the format that Apple uses for music downloading on both iOS and macOS devices, after originally helping popularize the MP3 format with the first-generation iPod in 2001, which could store up to 1,000 songs that were encoded using MP3. The Fraunhofer Institute noted that MP3 is “still very popular amongst consumers” and is expected to stick around on legacy devices for a few more years.

This article was edited to note that the patents related to MP3 have expired, not the format itself.
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Nintendo is bringing The Legend of Zelda to your phone

The Legend of Zelda will finally break away from Nintendo consoles to grace Android and iOS devices in 2018, according to a new report. The first ever Zelda game on mobile will be developed by DeNA, the studio behind Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes. Zelda has become one of the hottest gaming franchises of 2017, thanks to the phenomenal […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

To The Moon, Artificial Superintelligence, and other awesome apps of the week

Ever wanted to run your own AI startup, hopefully without bringing about the end of humanity in the process? A new game from the maker of the popular CARROT series of iOS apps gives you exactly that opportunity. That’s just one of the great apps we’ve got covered in this week’s Awesome Apps roundup. We’ve […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)

Sleep Expert Who Worked on Apple’s Night Shift and Bedtime Features Leaves the Company

Sleep expert Roy J.E.M Raymann, who joined Apple back in 2014, has left the company and moved on to SleepScore Labs, where he will serve as Vice President of Sleep Science and Scientific Affairs.

Raymann joined Apple as the company was developing the Apple Watch, and at the time, his hiring spurred rumors that the device would have sleep tracking capabilities, which never materialized.



Prior to joining Apple, where he served as “Health and Health Technologies Staff,” Raymann was at Philips where he founded the Philips Sleep Experience Laboratory, a non-clinical sleep research facility.

According to his LinkedIn profile, while at Apple, Raymann worked on Night Shift, the Bedtime alarm, display recommendations and color filters, and HealthKit and ResearchKit.

News of Raymann’s departure comes just days after Apple acquired Beddit, a company that produces a sensor-equipped sleep monitoring system.

It’s not yet clear what Apple plans to do with Beddit’s technology, but Apple is continuing to sell the Beddit sleep monitor and has updated its privacy policy to note that it is collecting sleep-related data that could influence future projects at the company.
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EA Announces ‘The Sims Mobile’ Coming Soon to iOS

EA has announced a new free-to-play version of The Sims is coming to iPhone and iPad, six years after The Sims Freeplay – a simplified version of the original – launched on the mobile platform.

Called The Sims Mobile, the game looks like it will be the closest mobile approximation yet of the hit franchise, being based on The Sims 4 “legacy challenge” mode, in which players build and maintain a family across generations according to a set of self-imposed rules.



Like other games in the franchise, players will guide sims through life, establishing relationships, building homes, advancing through careers, and conquering goals.

Not much else has been revealed about the title beyond the fact that it will feature social elements, allowing players to become “virtual” best friends with their real-life friends. But the trailer for the game does show that it will include classic Sims mechanics, allowing players to design their characters and customize their home.



The Sims 4 on Mac and PC continues to have a healthy fanbase. Yesterday EA revealed that the game’s number of monthly active users jumped 33 percent year on year.

The Sims Mobile for both iOS and Android launches in Brazil today and should start rolling out globally soon after.

(via The Verge.)
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Laptop Ban May Expand to Flights Coming to U.S. From Europe

The United States Department of Homeland Security may be planning expand its laptop ban, disallowing laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe to the United States. News of the expanded ban, which could be announced as soon as Thursday, came from European security officials that spoke to The Daily Beast.

Passengers flying from Europe to the United States will need to put their laptops in their checked luggage should the ban be expanded to cover European countries. The Department of Homeland Security has not yet made a final decision on whether or not to expand the laptop restrictions, with Security Secretary John Kelly planning to discuss the matter with senators in a classified briefing on Thursday.

“No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

A laptop and tablet in-cabin ban was first announced in March on intelligence suggesting terrorists had discovered a way to turn laptops into bombs, but at the time, the ban only applied to passengers flying to the United States from Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. That first ban is still in place.

Though The Daily Beast‘s source says laptops will be banned on all flights from Europe, Reuters says the ban will include “some European countries.” The government is said to be reviewing how to make sure lithium batteries stored in luggage holds don’t explode before enacting the ban.

One issue under discussion is how to ensure that lithium batteries in any large collection of devices stored in airplane holds do not explode in midair, officials told Reuters.

European regulators have warned placing what could be potentially hundreds of devices in the hold on long-haul flights could compromise safety by increasing the risk of fire from poorly deactivated lithium-ion batteries.

A ban in European countries could impact many United States carriers that offer European flights, including United Airlines, Delta, and American Airlines. Airports and airlines in Europe have reportedly already been working on plans for an extension of the ban since it was first announced.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
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