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iTunes and Your MacBook

To help you wrangle your enormous digital music and movie collection on your MacBook, Apple offers iTunes. For starters, iTunes is a sophisticated audio player for all your digital audio files. But iTunes is also handy for converting audio tracks from audio CDs to a number of popular digital audio file formats, such as AAC, MP3, and AIFF.

After you import or convert your music into computer files, iTunes helps you manage and maintain your music collection. You can even listen to streaming online “radio stations,” 24 hours a day, as well as rent or buy videos and movies, either on your MacBook or on your video-capable iPod.

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Plus, Apple throws in the iTunes Store, where you can preview hundreds of thousands of songs and videos for up to 90 seconds each without spending a dime. (Podcast subscriptions and the first-class courses available through iTunes U are usually free, bucko.)

If you latch onto something that you’d like to buy, you can use your credit card to purchase and download your media (either as individual tracks starting at 99 cents each, or as a complete album or movie for a package price). After the media that you’ve bought is comfortably nestled in iTunes, you can play it on your laptop, burn music to an audio CD, or download it to your iPod.

Apple’s iPod is a versatile, lightweight audio and video player with hidden extras that James Bond would covet. It has enough capacity to store your entire collection of music and several movies, but it’s small enough to fit into your shirt pocket.

With iTunes, you can instantly exchange media between your MacBook and your iPod. You can also use iTunes to create audio and MP3 CDs for playback elsewhere. And the iPod even works as honest-to-goodness, back-up storage . . . you see, it also functions as a standard external USB 2.0 hard drive.

A video-capable iPod can display text files and play games; you can even carry your Address Book contacts and iCal appointments with you with aplomb. The iPad and iPhone offer the same functionality as the iPod (although they don’t function as an external hard drive).

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