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Xilisoft's iPhone Transfer app offers an easy way to manage your iPhone's audio and video content when you don't want to use iTunes. But if you need a little more power than iTunes or iPhone Transfer can provide, you should take a look at Xilisoft's iPhone Magic ($50, free demo with limitations). This app is a bit expensive, but it can seamlessly convert and copy files to your iPhone--even if their file format is not supported by Apple's device.
Like iPhone Transfer, iPhone Magic automatically detects when your iPhone or iPod Touch is connected to your Windows PC. The app automatically locates all of the music, video, and photo files on the phone, and lets you browse through them easily. And, just like iPhone Transfer, iPhone Magic lets you decide which files you'd like to sync to your computer and vice versa--you simply browse for files on your phone or your PC, and one click will send them either way.
So why pay $50 for iPhone Magic when iPhone Transfer costs just $20--and when iTunes is free? If your entire audio and video library consists of purchases made in iTunes, well, you really have no reason. But if you have files that, in their native format, may not be compatible with your iPhone, such as videos that you've downloaded from torrent sites, for example, or DVDs that you've ripped to your computer. iPhone Magic can locate these files and convert them to an iPhone-friendly format in the background before transferring them to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Neither iTunes nor iPhone Transfer can handle this job.
In my tests, iPhone Magic converted all of my video files without a problem. I tested it on both a TV show I downloaded from a torrent site and video I ripped from a DVD. iPhone Magic makes finding the files on your PC a cinch: you just click the "Add Files to Device" icon and it presents you with a Windows Explorer-like interface for browsing through your PC. You select which files you'd like to transfer, and if their file format is not supported by Apple, it tells you that the conversion process is about to begin.
You can track the progress of file conversions by clicking the Video/Audio link that appears in iPhone Magic's right menu pane, and a small pop-up window will alert you when the conversion process is complete. In my tests, conversions seemed a bit on the slow side, and I was only converting short video clips. You may want to set aside a chunk of time if you plan on converting a lengthy file, such as a full movie.
Once the conversion is done, the file is automatically transferred to your iPhone or iPod. My shows appeared in the Videos sections of my iPhone's iPod application, complete with a title and an icon of their own--just like the shows I had purchased from iTunes. They played on the phone without a problem, and video looked great, crisp and clear on the iPhone 4's Retina display.
$50 is a lot to pay for an app that duplicates much of the free functionality offered by Apple's iTunes. But if you want to use your iPhone to watch a lot of your own videos-- not just Apple's supported content--Xilisoft iPhone Magic's price could be right.