iTunes: Apple’s Fly in the Ointment

itunessuxI’ve been excited about the approach of iPaday since I ordered my iPad the first minute Apple started taking orders.  I’ll find good uses for it either way, but until today I wondered if my iPad would be the evolved replacement for an iPod Touch and a Kindle, or something more revolutionary.

I hoped it would be something revolutionary, and based on the videos Apple released today, it looks like it will.  I think there’s a lot of controlled hype going on right now (for example, I think some of the unit figures being tossed around are beyond absurd), but I also think these videos demonstrate that the iPad is going to be big.

Really big.

The primary goal of the iPad is undoubtedly to expand Apple’s growing stranglehold on the content distribution pipeline beyond music, and further into video and, in a bold and perhaps killing first strike, books.  I also think there is hope in Cupertino that the iPad will serve as a roadmap to Macs.  After watching the iPad videos, I considered, for probably the twentieth time, whether I should overpay for hardware and accept a crappy OS in the name of convergence, under the Apple banner.

image There is no denying that all of the Apple hysteria makes even the most logical eyes prone to view the world in shades of green.

I could learn to live with OS X, even though I find it utterly unintuitive and far harder to use than Windows 7.  Plus, I’m convinced that Apple will eventually merge the iPhone OS and the Mac OS, in a final offensive in the three party war for tech domination being waged by Apple, Microsoft and Google.  At that point, Macs may actually become as elegant as some wrongly insist they are now.

But I can’t yet take the plunge.  Not because of the overpriced hardware.  Not even because the deficiencies in OS X.

Because Apple insists that iTunes serve as the control panel, storefront and traffic cop for all hardware and associated content.  For anyone other than the casual music fan, iTunes sucks.

Trying to manage a big music library via iTunes is like trying to build a house out of sand.  A little bit looks good, but it all falls apart when you try to scale.  It’s bloated, slow, feature deficient and just plain ugly.

itunessucks In fact, iTunes needs to be completely scrapped and rewritten from the ground up.  I realize that many of the limitations that burden iTunes are intentional limitations designed to maintain and expand Apple’s stranglehold on the content distribution channel.  I don’t like this one little bit, but I’m not naive enough to think it will change.

But there are a hundred much needed improvements that could and should be made, without giving up control of the content pipeline.

I wish someone would email Steve Jobs and tell him to get on it.  Then maybe I’d go all in.

8 responses to “iTunes: Apple’s Fly in the Ointment

  1. What is your current gold standard for music library management? I use Media Monkey, but I also use iTunes (because of my iPod & iPhone).Steve

  2. I use Windows Media Player, not so much because I like it, but because it groups artists in a folder-like hierarchy and I haven't found a better app. I also use iTunes (because I have to) to get stuff to and from my iPhone and Apple TV.I tried Media Monkey and liked it, but didn't find it enough of an improvement to switch (though, granted, I didn't really immerse myself in it).If iTunes was worth a crap, I would gladly use it as my default, because I can't get away from it, and because there are no other killer apps.

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  4. Kent, thanks for the post. I'm eager to pick up the iPad. I am also a Mac user…however, I have Windows 7 on both of my Mac machines. I'm not a love Mac/hate Windows sort of guy.I need both, I have the money to pay for the expense of the Mac, and I love editing video on the Mac…which is a significant portion of my business.I completely agree on iTunes. Also I have an Apple TV and it annoys me that we have to hack it to put Boxee on it. I'm a big Diggnation fan so having Boxee is helpful for letting me watch that on the big screen…as well as many other online shows.I don't know how Apple doesn't get more of a bad rap for being as constricting as they are. They're every bit as bad as every other tech company…they just don't get beat up about it as bad.

  5. Okay — looking for the hundred much-needed improvements in your post. “Bloated” and “slow”? Check. “Feature deficient”? Check. “Just plain ugly?” Check.I'm not sure why any of these demand a rewrite “from the ground up” — all of the things you mention are cosmetic issues, not fundamental problems with iTunes.

  6. I have also been looking forward to iPayday!Long live the Ipod!

  7. I have also been looking forward to iPayday!Long live the Ipod!

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