Podcast Chapter Tool Beta

New command-line (!) tool from Apple (inexplicably, it’s hosted at Mac.com — what’s up with that?). From the readme:

You can use Chapter Tool to create Enhanced Podcasts that work with iTunes 4.9 or later. Enhanced podcasts are podcasts that contain chapters. Chapters can be modified to display pictures or web links that can be displayed within the iTunes song artwork pane.

It only works on MPEG4 AAC audio files (i.e. it doesn’t work with MP3s), but that’s not surprising, since as far as I know, the MP3 file format doesn’t support anything like this. So it’s a nice usability gain for podcasts — chapters ought to be considered mandatory for anything longer than 10 or 15 minutes, and the web links and images are nice extras — but this is also a way to start establishing AAC as a superior format for podcast publishing. Which — and here’s the point where you can imagine Apple executives sinisterly twisting their mustaches — would help permanently cement iPods, as opposed to generic “MP3 players”, as the best way to listen to podcasts.

(Via Command-Tab.)

Tuesday, 28 June 2005