No mo re iTunes
Apple’s media manager is big, bulky, complex and buggy. It’s time for Apple to break up iTunes
It’s funny to think that iTunes was once a highly regarded, industry-leading music player. But time hasn’t been kind to Apple’s jukebox. It has been saddled with far too many tasks, resulting in it becoming a complex, buggy behemoth.
The most recent major update attempted to simplify things, mostly by hiding stuff that was previously more readily accessible. It was a great example of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, although we suspect if iTunes was confronted with a massive iceberg, it would smash right through. There’s just no getting rid of it. The app blunders on, despite syncing being broken for loads of users, and the app seemingly being desperate to shove you towards a storefront at every available opportunity. We shudder to think what will happen when Beats is integrated.
On iOS, everything is rather different. Apple’s mobile operating system was based on efficiency and focus. On starting from scratch, Apple decided against remaking iTunes for iPhone, and instead provided separate apps that dealt with specific areas of iTunes’ functionality. Today, there’s quite a range, including Music, Podcasts, Videos and iTunes U. The iTunes app exists in name only, simply being a means of accessing the iTunes Store.
On OS X, we could conceivably have the same – a set of simple, sleek, reliable apps, each designed to do one thing really well rather than lots of things in a sometimes bearable fashion. At the same time, Apple could bring across some of the other ‘missing’ iOS apps, including Weather and Voice Memos. (And even Stocks, for the literally several people who can’t do without it.)
Of course, it’s highly unlikely to ever happen. Although iTunes is less relevant than it once was, with Apple making iOS devices optionally independent of Macs and plenty of people preferring Spotify for music playback, it still has a wide audience, much of it on Windows. Apple might conceivably put the effort into making a bunch of new apps for Macs, but it’s hard to see it doing so for Windows. And there are people who rather like the fact all their media is bundled up in a single app (those crazy fools!), even if they’d be equally well served by a separate sync product.
So given that iTunes will likely survive until the heat death of the universe, please fix it, Apple, if you don’t have it in you to scrap it. iTunes is starting to feel like a practical joke when it was once actually really good.