I disagree with Jason’s view.
Every now and then someone comes along and complains publicly about iTunes. Sometimes you can read that it’s outright broken, other times it’s bloated, and so on.
I’m kinda sick of the moaning to be honest.
iTunes has evolved from a pure music player for our Macs, to the center of our entertainment world, connecting all our iOS devices (iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, iPods) to our Mac, and to iCloud, iTunes Match, etc. All this while weighing in at roughly 222 MB.
Let’s dive in:
Apple has packed almost everything involving media (and app) management, purchase, and playback into this single app. It’s bursting at the seams. It’s a complete mess. And it’s time for an overhaul.
Like I said above: Apple is chosing to use one app to manage our digital lives, excluding photos. I wonder how many would scream if they had to use, say, four apps instead. One for music, one for movies, one for iOS sync…you get the idea. That would be a mess.
I use iTunes every day to listen to music on my Mac at work, and it works just fine. It’s not perfect, but it’s good. My issues are not with the core feature of iTunes, the music player. My issues are with all the other junk that has been grafted on since then.
Define “perfect” music player. I mean, what exactly do you need a music player to do, except…you know…play music? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but come on…
I also doubt that the 99% would call iTunes capabilities “junk”, actually I’m pretty sure they’re very happy they don’t have to deal with several apps.
iTunes syncs the media and apps on all your iOS devices, and I haven’t found it to be either flexible or reliable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to delete everything and re-sync music, or videos, or apps because iTunes got confused about whether it had synced to that particular device before.
I’m seriously at a loss here. I’ve been using iTunes for many years now, and I never had problems with it. At all. Currently we have three iPhones (3G, 4, 4), two iPads (2, 3), two Macs (iMac 2011, Air 2011), one iPod Touch, and one Apple TV (2nd gen) connectd to iTunes. Different profiles on all of them. No issue. Ever.
Recently I connected my wife’s iPad to our Mac at home to add some videos for my kids to watch. The iPad had never been synced with the Mac before, because it was using iCloud and the App Store. The moment I plugged it in, iTunes attempted to sync its own parallel collection of apps to this iPad, which I didn’t want. When I tried to turn off this feature, it offered me a decision I’d never seen before: To delete all the apps on the iPad, or keep them and stop syncing. The second option was exactly what I wanted to do. So I chose it, and watched as iTunes proceded to delete all the apps on the iPad anyway.
I don’t doubt that this happened. It’s supposed to happen. When I set up my 3rd gen iPad a few weeks ago, I synced it wirelessly with iCloud. Several days later i wanted a local backup, so I plugged it into my iMac, and the exact same dialogue popped up. I was expecting this. My iMac didn’t know this new iPad, so it wanted to delete all apps and resync with it to back it up. If there were an easy way for Apple to fix this, don’t you think they would have done so by now?
Besides, wasn’t it possible to just download the movies from iCloud? I’m serious. If you right-click a movie in iTunes it gives you the option to upload it to your iCloud. End of story.
Given that all apps are available in the cloud these days, I’m not sure why iTunes is aggressively trying to sync apps with devices. In fact, given Apple’s aggressive moves with iTunes Match and iTunes in the Cloud, even Apple seems to realize that syncing media with a Mac or PC running iTunes is kind of a mess.
No, what they do realize is that people want the option to have all their stuff on a local drive, and that broadband internet is not available everywhere.
And let’s be honest: iTunes is at its worst when it comes to app management. The app-management interface in iTunes is ridiculously slow. iTunes can fill up your hard drive with tens of gigabytes of iOS apps that can easily be downloaded from Apple. Syncing apps frequently destroys folders and makes app disappear. The interface that shows where the app icons will appear on your iOS device is unstable, unreliable, and inefficient.
I’m sorry to be blunt, but this is a rant. A whiny one at that. Even my Core2Duo, 4GB RAM iMac from 2008 running on Lion (before I bought the new iMac), had no problem at all doing the things Jason describes. Nothing of the sort has happened to me, or anyone I know for that matter.
If Apple’s going to embrace the cloud wherever possible, it needs to change iTunes too. The program should be simpler. It might be better off being split into separate apps, one devoted to device syncing, one devoted to media playback. (And perhaps the iTunes Store could be broken out separately too? When Apple introduced the Mac App Store, it didn’t roll it into iTunes, but gave it its own app.)
I’ll refer you to the mess I mentioned above about several different apps to accomplish what one app does now.
The reason the Mac App Store is seperate is pretty simple: Apple recognizes that not everyone will use iTunes, but everyone needs OS X updates, and OS X app updates.
The iTunes we’ve all come to know has had a good run, but it’s reached the point where it is a crazy agglomeration of features and functionality. If someone were to design it today, it wouldn’t remotely resemble its current state. And as a portal to iOS devices and the iTunes Store, iTunes is too crucial to Apple’s business to ignore or run on auto-pilot.
Again, where exactly is this “crazy agglomeration of features and functionality”? iTunes is well structured, and easy to use.
Sure, if someone were to design it today, and I’m sure Apple is on top of that, iTunes would look different. No argument there, and I’m sure they will evolve it into something different over time – maybe even soonish, but it’s not their M.O. to radically change things, so I expect gradual changes, which is a-ok by me, and probably by most of you.