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Dear Apple, the other day I mentioned that lots of us would like an official position about Ogg Vorbis support for the iPod. Let me restate the request in more clear terms, without my usual fatmouthing. Mr. Steve Jobs recently said Apple had not heard any requests for Ogg support on the iPod or in your music library tool, iTunes. This is a formal request for one of two things, if you would.

Please add Ogg Vorbis support to the iPod and iTunes, as a vocal (but apparently not vocal enough) minority has been requesting. Failing that, if you could please give us an official position on why Apple will not add the totally free and excellent codec to compliment your fantastic iTunes music library software and iPod music player. While I understand you are orienting your marketing and DRM approach around AAC (another excellent codec), adding Ogg would in no way diminish the ease of use that are hallmarks of your player and software (just as supporting MP3 has not interfered with your choice of AAC). It would, however, make it easier for me to continue to recommend the iPod to my readers as the best player for audiophiles and allow me to get even more use out of a player and platform in which I have already invested.


If the current third generation iPod is not computationally able to decode Ogg, that would be a reasonable explanation, of course. I would not expect Apple to officially support a codec in iTunes, but not iPod. I look forward to your response. Thanks! Joel
Open Letter to Apple: Ogg For Us [Gizmodo]

Update after the jump.

Reader Kevin Van Winkle writes:

What legitimate content is distributed in Ogg Vorbis format?

I've never run into it, but I don't use Kazaa or the other bootleg services either.

The MP3 support is a requirement since it is the original format that gives MP3 players their names, but maybe Apple doesn't want to support Ogg Vorbis since the music labels might have an objection.

Of course, I'm speculating since I have never seen a file encoded in Ogg Vorbis. Or, is this just the preferred format on Linux so you want to have your content in a multi-platform format?

Just curious... You might get further with Apple in your open letter if you outlined why Ogg Vorbis is important to you.

That's a good point. The reason Ogg is important is that it is a totally free codec that provides the best-sounding audio compression with the smallest file sizes. AAC sounds great, too, but Ogg is the clear winner by almost every metric (just google 'Audio codec shootout' or something like that). As for who uses it, it's mostly audiophiles who want the best option for their disk space. For me, AAC is good enough, but for many who are ripping their own music to get the best quality, Ogg is the format of choice. It's especially important with the iPod (or any player), because that means you can squeeze a few more songs into a fixed space without sacrificing quality. For me (and most, honestly) AAC gets the job done, but with Ogg it's really less of a question of 'Why?' and more of a question of 'Why not?' I can think of no reason (besides techincal ones) that Apple would not add Ogg support to their device, as the addition makes it no more confusing for less-savvy users, but offers more playback choices for power users.


Whatever they do, I just would like an official position besides "No one is asking for it."