The revamped Windows Media Player 10, which will be released in final form to the consumer market later this year, contains substantial changes to the way music, videos, and other media can be organized and retrieved. But the biggest changes in the new “technical beta” software will be invisible to most users until new portable music and video players reach store shelves this summer and fall.
[…] The software, which incorporates recent advances in Microsoft’s digital rights management tools and a new technology allowing computers to communicate with devices such as MP3 players, forms a key component of the company’s response to Apple Computer’s strong successes with its iPod music player and software.
[…] The new software will also support new digital rights management features that allow subscription-based content, such as that from Napster, to be played on portable devices. Similarly, those features will not be available until the release of new hardware later this year.
Although many of the new Media Player’s features will be muted until the release of new hardware, users will be able to browse through new ways of organizing media libraries and take advantage of a considerably simplified interface. The company said it wants to get feedback from “digital music enthusiasts” on those features before a final release.
Interesting that the push is on for feedback now, before the hardware that embeds the restrictions of the Janus system are widely available.