I was pointed at a PC World article recently in which the author revealed his 11 Things (He) Hates About iTunes. Now, as someone who’s seen the light and knows that PCs, well, Windows-based PCs, are to computers what dead people are to the human race, and as someone who doesn’t really mind iTunes all that much, I found this article typical of the common affliction facing people today: They’re so used to the way Windows does things — ie, wrong — that they can’t see the better way because of it. All it takes is some time to get over the Ribbon Effect (the syndrome of getting over the learning curve it takes to adapt a better GUI.)
However, there are a plethora of things that iTunes could do a million times better, so I thought I’d go through what PC World has a problem with and see if I’m just darn smarter than them or not.
1. Wildly Inefficient Updates
I agree that there might be a better way to release updates, but PC World suggests releasing them as “patches.” The reason Windows is so bloated and blue-screen-of-deathy is that everything is written around and on top and between existing code, so pieces of Windows 3.11 might still be stuffed away in XP for all we know. Apple’s programs rarely crash, so let them do what they do.
2. DRM (Boo!)
Everyone hates DRM, likely even the record companies, but Apple has clearly stated that they wouldn’t use it if they could, in a public statement that could’ve seriously damaged relations with the big 4. Even if Amazon and WalMart can sell DRM-free music, for some reason Apple still can’t. Maybe it’s because they sell something like every single piece of music in the world, which makes the record companies afraid?
3. No Monitoring of Music Folders
I’ve heard people talk about how iTunes has eaten their entire music library. This is just a problem with the way Apple does things and the way people are used to doing it on Windows. By default, iTunes will import your
Fortunately, solutions are available. iTunes Folder Watch, a free utility for Windows (sorry, Mac faithful), monitors designated folders, then automatically adds any newly discovered music to your iTunes library. And if you buy music from AmazonMP3 or the Rhapsody MP3 Store, those stores’ download utilities will automatically add new purchases to your iTunes collection–no intervention required.
4. ‘Pushing’ of Other Programs by iTunes Installer
Earlier this year, Apple hopped aboard the crapware train by adding its new-for-Windows Safari browser to its Software Update tool–which tends to appear whenever there’s a new version of iTunes. Anyone accustomed to clicking OK without looking too closely would end up installing Safari, which was selected for download by default. At least now the browser is relegated to a “New Software” category–but it’s still automatically queued up for download unless you clear the check box.
Meanwhile, any Windows user who installed iTunes 7.7 (the version that introduced the App Store) will find a surprise in Windows’ Control Panel: a MobileMe service Preferences icon. It lands there whether you’re a MobileMe subscriber or not, and whether you want it or not.
5. No Subscription Service–Still
If you’re going to keep clinging to DRM, Apple, how about giving us a music-subscription service to go with it? You know, the kind offered by Napster, Rhapsody, and Zune Marketplace. For 15 bucks a month, a Zune Pass lets us buy unlimited (but not unrestricted) downloads that we can pack into our high-capacity iPods. It’s an unbeatable way to discover new music–and the more music we discover, the more music we’re likely to purchase.