seriously, iTunes?

I’ve used every version of iTunes since 1.0 (even that short-lived version 5), and traditionally, it’s been one of Apple’s real software assets.  Nice, simple management of your music library.  When iPod came along, things got even better because things synced up so beautifully and simply.  But the software just hasn’t managed to stay this spry since those golden days.  It’s still definitely a leader in managing your media library (and really doing a hell of a lot more than that now), but that speaks more to just how awful iTunes’s competition is.  I’d like to share with you my biggest iTunes pet peeves.  Feel free to leave our own in the comments!

1. iTunes, you’re starting to get a little fat.

I feel a little hypocritical making this criticism, since i’m not exactly thin and light like most of Apple’s products (and their CEO… too soon?), but there was a day when iTunes was just a few megabytes in size.  Now, you’re looking at upwards of 150 megabytes for the app.  That’s kind of pathetic considering that iTunes is piggybacking off of a lot of OS X technologies.  Honestly, I don’t really care how much space iTunes takes up as long as it is good at what it does, but as you’ll read in my next complaints it isn’t really good at what it does, and maybe, just maybe, there’s some bloated code here.

2. Use some freaking threads!

This one truly baffles me.  Apple is constantly developing all these new technologies and APIs for developers to use in their apps, and is always pushing developers to use the latest technologies or get left with an app that won’t run in OS X’s next release.  Yet, Apple apps tend to be the worst offenders about using old APIs and frameworks in their apps.  I guess there are perks to being the ones who are writing the OS.  One of the worst offenders of not using new technologies is iTunes.  And there aren’t many apps I can think of that would be better candidates for using more of these modern technologies like, say, doing more than one thing at a time.  Also, iTunes, there isn’t a god damn thing you need to use modal windows for.  Get rid of them!

3. What the hell is this?


If iTunes is doing multiple things (and isn’t choking up trying to do these multiple things at once) this is the…. thing you interact with.  And instead of being able to see all at once what all’s going on, you have to click this stupid little arrow button to go on to see the next progress bar.  It’s asinine, and surely there’s a better way of doing it.

4. What were the UI designers who designed the iTunes UI for managing apps on iOS devices smoking?

I can’t really capture how asinine this UI is with mere screenshots.  All I can say is just try using it yourself and you will realize what a freaking clusterfuck that UI is.  I am pretty well convinced that Apple worked aggressively to optimize the design of that interface so that it was as antagonistic to the user as an interface could possibly be.  Seriously, I have never in my life seen an Apple product be so unnatural to use.  I don’t even think Microsoft could have made that interface worse.

5. Home Sharing is kind of half baked.

Maybe I’m not the target market for Home Sharing.  Maybe it was designed for households that had multiple different people who wanted to get each other’s music.  I just wanted it so that I could (try to) keep my work PC and laptop’s music libraries in sync.  And by “in sync” I mean fully in sync, complete with same ratings, play counts, everything.

Even if that wasn’t something you wanted to do, you could have done your current feature set a lot better.  Using it to download each other’s music is kind of kludgy and not that natural.  Granted, a lot easier than what you’d have to do before, but not that great.  And I’m not a big fan of the iTunes store hoops you have to jump through to do Home Sharing.

6. No lyric fetching?

Seriously, what is this? I’m sick of needing third party software to accomplish something iTunes would be much better at doing itself.

7. Time to cloud things up.

Plugging my iPhone into my computer to exchange information seems so… last decade.  My iPhone and iTunes feel so disconnected from one another despite the fact that both are connected to the web.  It’s time for iTunes to get more web based.  Let me sync over the air.  Create an online service similar to Pandora or that integrates with my iTunes account and lets me listen to all sorts of tunes and share them with friends.  Apple, you’ve got a golden opportunity to fundamentally change the way people share and discover music.  You’ve killed off radio by turning people onto having their own music collections in their pockets.  But you failed to really delve into the music discovery thing.  I rely heavily on friends and word of mouth to find new songs.  Genius is trying to help, but it’s only getting me so far.  Services like Spotify look really enticing, but the iTunes ecosystem is tried and true, and people will trust a subscription based system from Apple to stick around.  And the prospect of (legally) just sending my awesome playlist to my friend instantly to have him listen to it is a really cool concept.  There is so much freaking potential here, Apple, and you aren’t seizing it.  And Apple can get away with that for awhile because they’re one of few leaders.


All right, readers (both of you).  That’s about enough complaining from me.  What pisses YOU off about iTunes?

One response to “seriously, iTunes?”

  1. 1. I’m happy that iTunes does what it does well but I agree that it’s getting bloated.

    2. Not being a computer programmer I can’t really comment, however it seems to me that there has been little visual redesign since version 1.0 (except the icon which lost the 3rd eighth note and has been blue for several versions now…)

    3. I agree that there should be a way to see how my CD burn or iPod update, etc. is coming along without having to lose the ability to see what song I’m listening to.

    4. It’s bad.

    5. Never tried it.

    6. Doesn’t really matter to me.

    7. I liked Lala…
    a. Apple bought it
    b. Apple closed it
    c. ??? <– Our current step
    d. iTunes in the cloud…

    P.S. Calling myself 1 of 2 kind of sounds like a Borg designation…

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