This is a rant. As much as apple has had its focus mainly on the user they are now heading in a new direction. The new iTunes addiction is sales, the new incarnation of iTunes is only about how to get the next fix, closing the next deal.
The sad thing is that as with many other companies that has reach world domination - it cripples innovation. There hasn’t been much innovation in the user interface since it was introduced years ago. The few is focused on one thing, selling stuff.
To start with, what is iTunes?
Well this is one problem, it has become a beast, to the user it is foremost a media player, or at least tries to be. It’s not among the better media players but it gets the job done. As a media player there has been added a few extra features like burning CDs, music sync to iPod and oh, it let’s you buy new music.
But later on they have added more and more bloat; iPhone calendar and contact sync, application sales, pushing media and stuff you already own, podcast, video downloads. Oh, and the updater doubles as a portal for pushing safari as well.
The iTunes beast of today
iPhone sync - Why on earth do I want my iPhone to start up a (now) bloated media player just to sync contacts, calendar details and some music? Why not a blazing fast slimmed down sync application that use the database from iTunes to get the playlists, media track and application that are stored there?
The pusher – For a long time now iTunes ha added a little arrow to each and every track in the library, clicking it took me to iTunes music store, so that I could easily - buy the track I already own. Not a big problem as you could just remove it with a little setting. But not anymore, you can solve it with a hack but how many user are able to do that? We are going to sell more whether you like it or not! And it gets worse.
The genius - Masquerading as smart playlist manager genius gives Apple a way to display even more buttons with the word BUY in them. Now they have taken up 10% more of my screen real-estate with lists of music to buy. The playlists are not that bad, but I guess using genres, artists and some randomness would create about the same result.
Grid view – The latest “innovation” is the ability to show albums in a grid…wow. And the cover flow before that, that turns out to be, not that useful. I love Eye candy and think it can serves a purpose but adding a black blob with a reflection in the middle of the database grid that represent all your tracks doesn’t help much.
What they could have added
Folder watching – I tend to move my music around, as there are not enough space on my laptop to have all my music and there are no easy way to have a central place for all tracks I have a subset on my machine, about 10GiB of music. So why not just add some smart folder watching? Thankfully there are people out there that get it.
Re-sync of statistics – If I play my music on my iPhone it would be so easy to count and then sync that back, as well as what tunes I skip etc. that would be excellent statistics for that genius playlists…
Native OS support – I’m a windows vista user, I actually like vista, and applications should behave. This is not a new problem with iTunes. But when are you going to address it? Not in one single place have they added right click support. You know, we use it a lot in windows. Or even looked at the Visa UX guidelines. But then again, why would they add functionality to us windows user that would be missing for the Mac OS crowd?
There; now I can get back to syncing photos, buying ringtones clips of music I already own and let iTunes steal GDI and memory resources from my system.