Section 2.7. AirPort Express and AirTunes

2.7. AirPort Express and AirTunes

The AirPort Express, which resembles a PowerBook AC adapter after a few months of gym workouts, is a handy-dandy 802.11g Wi-Fi base station for a wireless network, just like its big brother, the AirPort Extreme.

"So," you say, "Why do I care about wireless networking in a book about my iLife '05 programs? I just want to learn how to use iTunes."

This is why: AirPort Express was made with iTunes in mind. Thanks to a built-in feature called AirTunes, you can wirelessly stream your iTunes music from your Mac, through the air, and out from your home stereo speakers (which are plugged into the AirPort Express)all without tripping over a long and pesky cable connecting your Mac upstairs to your home audio system downstairs. All you need are these:

Figure 2-8. Use the pop-up menu in the lower corner of the iTunes window (top) to choose where you want your music to be heard . If you have more than one AirPort Express base station (bottom)in Apple's dreams!then you can use this pop-up menu to specify which stereo you want to pump out the music.
When your remote speakers are turned off, by the way, don't forget to choose Computer from this pop-up menu. Otherwise, you'll hear nothing at all from iTunes.

  • An AirPort Express mobile base station, which Apple will gladly sell you for $130 at It includes the AirTunes software.

  • A Mac with an AirPort card and Mac OS X 10.3 or later. (If you have a wireless network in place, you already have one of these. By the way, both Macs and PCs can pump music out to an AirPort Express.)

  • Version 4.6 or later of iTunes.

  • A cable that connects your home sound system (or powered speakers) to the Line Out port on the bottom of the AirPort Express. It can be either a digital fiber- optic cable or analog Y-shaped cable (that is, the stereo miniplug-to-dual-RCA connectors common on audio equipment).

Once you buy the pocket base station, some set-up software gently guides you through the chores like naming the base station and getting iTunes ready for its broadcast debut. Make sure to plug the AirPort Express into an electrical outlet close to your stereo system and use the proper cable to connect the two.

After the setup process is finished, a new little pop-up menu appears at the bottom of your iTunes window (Figure 2-8), displaying the name you just bequeathed to AirPort Express. Choose that and then click the iTunes Play to start broadcasting.

Tip: The AirPort Express also has a port to connect a USB-enabled printer, which lets all of the computers on your wireless network share the same printer.

Chapter 3. Managing Your Music

At its heart, iTunes is nothing more than a glorified database. Its job is to search, sort , and display information, quickly and efficiently . Here, for example, are some powerful managerial tasks it stands ready to handle.

3.1. Deleting Songs

If you want to delete a song or songslike when you outgrow your Britney Spears phase and want to reclaim some hard drive space by dumping those tracks from the OopsI Did It Again albumclick the title in the Albums pane, select the songs you want to delete from the song list, and press Delete.

Tip: Selecting songs works just like selecting files in the Finder. For example, you can select a consecutive batch by clicking the first song's name , then Shift-clicking the last. Or you can add individual songs to the selection (or remove them from the selection) by -clicking their names .

When iTunes asks if you're sure you want to delete the music, click Yes. You'll usually be asked twice about deleting a song, the first time for deleting it from a list, the second time about deleting the music file from your iTunes music library altogether. If you want your hard drive space back, click Yes to both.