No mo re iTunes

Ap­ple’s me­dia manager is big, bulky, com­plex and buggy. It’s time for Ap­ple to break up iTunes

Mac Format - - BACK ISSUES -

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.

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