If you’re like me then from day one you’ve been asking yourself “Why is iTunes trying to turn a simple feature into an eye-clawingly complicated one?”, and Macworld’s Jason Snell is right there with you. He says it’s time for Apple to re-imagine iTunes as something that better suits the iCloud culture they’re trying to advocate. With its attempt to conglomerate every media-related feature as well as random others (who goes to an application called “iTunes” in order to back up their phone? Apparently, we do). Here’s his case in his own words:
[quote]If Apple’s going to embrace the cloud wherever possible, it needs to change iTunes too. The program should be simpler. It might be better off being split into separate apps, one devoted to device syncing, one devoted to media playback. (And perhaps the iTunes Store could be broken out separately too? When Apple introduced the Mac App Store, it didn’t roll it into iTunes, but gave it its own app.)The iTunes we’ve all come to know has had a good run, but it’s reached the point where it is a crazy agglomeration of features and functionality. If someone were to design it today, it wouldn’t remotely resemble its current state. And as a portal to iOS devices and the iTunes Store, iTunes is too crucial to Apple’s business to ignore or run on auto-pilot.[/quote]
If you’re an old codger like me (and Snell) you will remember the way the Mac/Apple community greeted iTunes with a mix of gratitude and trepidation. On the one hand, we were thrilled to see Apple embrace MP3s as the de-facto standard for music, but, at the same time, we were perplexed as to why it wasn’t doing simple tasks in the most logical way (for example: You’ve never been able to just point iTunes at a folder and say “play the contents” without importing it all first, even though iTunes competitors like Audion had no issues with doing this). As iTunes has evolved, it’s clearly taken on a Microsoftian style of adding “features”, which are intended to benefit Apple’s over-arching structure and concept of what the app should be instead of employing Apple’s trademark powers of ESP about what the user wants and needs before they even realize it. iTunes stands out as a puzzling, fat black sheep in a collection of mostly sterling software offerings.
I think it was said best by @yatesc on Twitter: “Wrestling with iTunes is easily the worst part of the Apple ecosystem. Anyone who thinks it’s great suffers from Stockholm Syndrome.”