Software maker MediaFour plans to release on Monday its XPlay program, the company's first Windows application for connecting PCs with Apple Computer's iPod digital music player.
But Apple may be close behind with its own Windows-to-iPod software, Needham analyst Charles Wolf wrote in a Friday research note. Wolf said the release of Windows syncing software could boost the iPod to 10 percent of the portable digital music player market.
MediaFour is rushing ahead of most software developers trying to get a finished product out the door. Most Windows-to-iPod utilities are in the beta, or testing, phase.
Competitor TrentSoft makes EphPod, free software with similar features. But to make the most use of EphPod, iPod owners must buy MacOpener from software maker DataViz for $50.
MediaFour will release the final version of XPlay on Monday at the TechXNY trade show (formerly PC Expo) in New York. XPlay will sell for $29.95. The software allows iPod owners to manage songs on their PC or transfer them to the device. They can use either the provided XPlay interface or Windows Media Player for Windows XP.
Apple has yet to commit to releasing software for syncing iPod to Windows PCs. Right now, the company offers syncing and managing of songs only through its iTunes digital music software for Macs. But that could change as early as next month.
"We confirmed just this week...that Apple will also introduce a product that ports the iPod to Windows this summer, possibly as early as Macworld New York on July 17," Wolf wrote. "We have no details on the product. But given Apple's attention to design and ease-of-use, we think it will be a turnkey product that just works when it's plugged into a FireWire port."
News source: CNet News