There have been many comparisons of the Passport and the iPhone, but so far they’ve all been limited to comparing general usage, cameras or enterprise use. We never hear about how the Passport compares to the iPhone when it comes to music.
Music is what made Apple what it is today. Apple’s rise to the behemoth that it is now, really started with the release of the iPod and iTunes. Since then, they’ve become to music what BlackBerry is to enterprise. So comparing the Passport’s music capabilities to those of the iPhone is like comparing the iPhone’s enterprise capabilities to those of the Passport. We all know that the Passport wins the enterprise battle by a long shot every time. But how does it compare to the iPhone when it comes to music ? The short answer is it beats the iPhone in many important ways.
There are lots of music formats currently in use, but the ones that most people use are MP3, AAC and FLAC.
The iPhone has built-in support for MP3, AAC and ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec), but not FLAC. To play FLAC files on an iPhone, you have to download third-party software. On top of that, Apple doesn’t even sell ALAC music on iTunes, and over a year ago they removed the ability for the iTunes desktop app to rip CDs in ALAC format. With more and more users moving to high-resolution (hi-res) music, and FLAC being by far more popular than ALAC, this is becoming a big issue.
The Passport, on the other hand, has built-in support for all 4 of those formats: MP3, AAC, ALAC, FLAC. Right now, on my Passport I have 256KHz AAC music (iTunes Plus) I bought from iTunes, 44.1KHz/16bit FLAC (CD quality) music I ripped from my CDs, and high-resolution music in 96KHz/24bit and 192KHz/24bit FLAC which I bought online. And I can play them all on my Passport using the BlackBerry Music app that comes pre-installed in BB10, as well as Neutron — a music player for audiophiles — and many other music player apps that are available on BB10.
Wireless Streaming And Sharing
The iPhone can only stream or share music wirelessly over Bluetooth or Apple’s proprietary AirPlay. There are several wireless speakers that support AirPlay, but very few other devices support it. That means that you’ll most likely have to buy an Apple TV (or two, or three).
The Passport is able to send music wirelessly over Bluetooth, WiFi (using Miracast) and WiFi-Direct and DLNA, which are non-proprietary and widely available in all kinds of devices from wireless speakers to smart TVs. All you need is a receiving device that supports those technologies. You don’t have to buy anything else.
I recently tried stream music from my Passport to my parents’ Philips smart sound bar, and it couldn’t have been any simpler or easier. Since the sound bar supports NFC, just tap my Passport on the speaker and start playing the music. I could just go into the Passport’s Bluetooth settings and connect to the smart sound bar from there, and then start playing the music.
The Passport also supports the AptX codec, which allows users to send music wirelessly over Bluetooth at near-CD quality, which is a big improvement over the codec usually used with Bluetooth music streaming.
Not Surprisingly, the iPhone does not support AptX.
With many smart TVs supporting Miracast and none supporting AirPlay, Passport users are able to play music videos from their Passport on their smart TV, whereas iPhone users have to buy an Apple TV in order to do that.
The Passport has by far the best speakers on any phone. It’s not even a close race. It’s like the difference between listening to a home stereo and listening to a little portable AM radio. The Passport wins this one by a few light years.
I’m not going to spend much time on this, since everybody already knows the Passport wins in this area.
The maximum storage capacity for an iPhone is 128GB and the maximum for a Passport is 160GB (32GB internal + 128GB microSD card). Plus, the microSD card is hot-swappable, which means you can take it out of the phone and put another one in without having to power off the BlackBerry.
With more and more people moving to hi-res music, this is becoming an increasingly important issue because hi-res music takes up much more space than MP3s and AAC music. A song on iTunes (256KHz AAC) takes up about 6MB, a song in CD quality (44.1KHz/16bit ALAC or FLAC) takes up about 30MB and a song in studio-master quality (192KHz/24bit FLAC) takes up around 130MB.
Loading Music On The Phone
When synching the music on your computer with the Passport, BlackBerry Link (the program that does the synching) will use iTunes. However you don’t have to use Link. Because the Passport can be used as a mass storage device like a flash drive or an external drive, you can simply drag and drop your music onto your Passport as though it were an external drive.
The iPhone does not allow users to use the phone as a mass storage device, and it probably never will. So you can’t drag and drop music onto your iPhone.
Music Streaming Sites
Thanks to BB10’s ability to run Android apps, Passport users can stream music from the same sites as the iPhone. And because of the Passport’s multitasking capabilities far exceed Android’s and iOS’s capabilities, you can push that streaming app into the background and continue using your Passport to do a whole bunch of stuff, like take photos and upload them onto your Facebook page or Instagram feed, chat on BBM, tweet, reply to e-mails, etc.
Move Over iPhone !
The iPhone had its time in the music spotlight. But that time has come and gone. So the next time an iPhone user talks about how great the iPhone is for music and how the iPhone is the only choice for music lovers, let them know that the Passport is not only in the race, but it beats the iPhone.