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Flawed iTunes Stands Out Among Apple's Products 390

Posted by Soulskill
from the maybe-if-it-only-had-one-button dept.
waderoush writes "On top of all the other features that it has crammed into iTunes, Apple this week added Ping, a Facebook-like social network for music discovery. It's all part of the company's plan to dominate the world of consumer media, but Xconomy argues that this time, Apple may have gone a bridge too far. iTunes, nearing its tenth birthday, started out merely as a program for ripping CDs, and has grown increasingly creaky and impenetrable as Apple has added more and more cruft, the article argues. The company won't have a stable base for its new media empire until it rebuilds iTunes from scratch — perhaps along the lines suggested by its other new product this week, the revamped Apple TV."
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Flawed iTunes Stands Out Among Apple's Products

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  • But there’s one piece of the Appleverse that I’ve always detested, and that’s the desktop version of iTunes. The ugly duckling of the iFamily, this program is hard to understand, hard to use, inelegant, and ill-behaved—in short, the very opposite of most other Apple products. I dread booting it up every day ...

    Yeah, yesterday I bitched about this [slashdot.org] and have actively refused any upgrades to iTunes since 9 because I'm not sure if 10 is going to get better or worse.

    Now I have to have Quicktime on my machine ... which I am not a fan of. And what's worse is that reviews are telling me that it's faster but with a crappier UI [arstechnica.com] while at the same time Ping concerns me if it has my credit card information and is just a spam portal [pcworld.com].

    So while I want iTunes to run faster, I definitely don't want anything to do with this "Ping" service and if it's reminiscent of how they made me dependent on Quicktime (despite the fact that I have never used iTunes for anything video -- VLC kicks ass) I don't want auto-opted into something that I cannot get out of!

    If you're looking for open source alternatives to iTunes: CDex [sourceforge.net], VLC [videolan.org] and handbrake [handbrake.fr]

    My biggest problem is that support seems to wax and wane with actually moving songs/videos on and off an iPod with open source alternatives ... so that leaves me tied to the beast that is iTunes.

    • by yumyum (168683)

      Hmmm. I don't have the same experience as you. I use iTunes daily without issue. It works fine with my iPhone. It has yet to be "ill-behaved". My only issue with Ping, which I think is a great concept, is that it will probably languish and not catch on. Right now there is not much to it, and without some major initiative on Apple's part to seed it with worthwhile connection opportunities, I don't see it taking off.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kiwimate (458274)

        Good, perhaps you can help me out. My old computer died, so I had to install on a new computer.

        • I plugged in my wife's iPod, and it synched up the tunes she'd bought from their store, but not anything we'd ripped from CD. How do I do that?
        • How do I deactivate the old computer so it doesn't take up one of the five "computer licenses" Apple allows me?

        These were the main two headaches, but there are heaps more.

        Honestly...I read comments waxing lyrical about how easy and intuitive it is, and I wonder what I'm mi

        • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:44PM (#33466158)
          You have to use a third party program like SharePod (http://www.getsharepod.com/) to get it to work. I had the same issue, now I just keep SharePod on a flash drive and can dump my music collection wherever. And for your second problem try ( http://www.obsessable.com/how-to/how-to-deauthorize-all-your-itunes-accounts-at-once/ [obsessable.com] ) but I haven't ever used it so your results might vary.
          • I've used sharepod as well (anbd avoided Itunes like the plauge) but the the IOS4 breaks the sharepod's ability to sync, so am now temporarily stuck using itunes. Myabe there is an update for sharepod I've missed though.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          a) you don't with iTunes, you use a third party software such as Senuti to get third party music off. iTunes will only sync over songs that are associates with your iTMS account.
          b) you don't if the computer is dead. However, this is a non-issue. Once you reach the five computer limit you can deauthorize all of them with one click and then reauthorize the ones that are still valid. If you never reach the five computer limit you won't have to do that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by BasilBrush (643681)

          I plugged in my wife's iPod, and it synched up the tunes she'd bought from their store, but not anything we'd ripped from CD. How do I do that?
          How do I deactivate the old computer so it doesn't take up one of the five "computer licenses" Apple allows me?

          What OS are you using? If a Mac, then just restore everything at once from your Time Machine backup.

      • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:41PM (#33466110)
        Then either A) You have a Mac or B) You have an awesome machine. I've ran iTunes on Windows 7 with a Core i7 and 6 GB of RAM and it still lagged. iTunes on OS X is rather nice, iTunes on Windows is complete crap. Plus, it takes about 10 times as long to "process" a song as it does to download it!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bennomatic (691188)
        I'm guessing you use a Mac. This is a program which I LOVE on the Mac and HATE on Windows. I've got a dual-core 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo based Windows machine... granted, it's running XP, but shit, if iTunes is running, everything grinds to a halt.

        To that end, the same thing happens with Quicktime and Safari on my Windows machine. I'll be upgrading soon to Win7, so I have hopes that it'll run better, but at this time, Apple products on Windows *suck*.
    • by Manip (656104) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:14PM (#33465678)
      iTunes 10 is an improvement. Apart from the almost useless Ping, it seems a fair bit faster. The patch notes claim performance improvements and frankly I believe them. I'd recommend it. Only downside I've seen is that the first time you try and download from iTunes Store it attempts to trick you into activating Ping (click Cancel when it asked you for personal information that "might be available to the public.").
      • iTunes is a decent operating system, but it really needs a good MP3 player.

        Seriously, I love OSX and use two macs, I'm relatively happy with my iPhone (I like it, modulo ATT, and even that has gotten better), but iTunes is a bucket of spit.

        I get the strategy. It just sucks for my usage model.

        Things I think are crappy:

        • Phone/pod sync should be transparent when plugged in, without launching iTunes. If installing apps/upgrading IOS/whatever absolutely has to be in iTunes, then only require me to futz with it
    • by Evardsson (959228) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:18PM (#33465746) Homepage

      Just as a heads-up - Ping is OFF by default. If you want to use it as another spam portal you have to turn it on.

      At least they didn't follow the Facebook protocol: add a new insecurity, uh, "feature" and turn it on to the whole world by default.

    • by cyberfunk2 (656339) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:18PM (#33465756)
      There's no auto-opt-in for ping.. you have to turn it on manually.
    • If you have Windows, try Media Monkey (www.mediamonkey.com). It's NOT open source, and it's free version isn't as functional as it's non-free version, but the cost of the lifetime license as well as the MP4/AAC encoder has been worth it to me so far. They've been really good at pushing updates to sync with new versions of iOS (though I have a Classic 6G so that hasn't been an issue for me), and although they only support music right now, they will support video in the next version. It's the first alternative to iTunes that actually had me uninstalling iTunes from my system completely... I only use iTunes to "reset my iPod to factory defaults". You can write your own custom scripts to do stuff, and many are avaliable to download, it works with a LOT of WinAmp plugins, and it's skinable... though I prefer the ugly but fast and functional "Don't skin it and look like a windows app". Downsides: SOME podcasts are itms only, and check for an iTunes client version. That's ridiculous of the podcast provider, but there you go. It doesn't currently do video. It is windows only. The free version lacks some of the advanced AutoPlaylist creation. It can't currently sync an autoplaylist to an iPod as a smart playlist that dynamically changes (though to be fair, I'm not sure if that ever worked on the Classic anyway), and the AAC encoding doesn't play nice with the iPod 100% of the time, so I generally wind up doing a transcode to MP3 whenever I sync, which isn't a huge issue for me. Also there are some "niceness" fixes that could be done, but haven't so far in the name of speed... so... yeah. Not perfect, but a reasonable solution on Windows for music now, and video soon. Ebooks and apps... you'll have to boot up iTunes every so often.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by foo fighter (151863)

      Don't spread FUD.

      Ping is completely opt-in. The iTunes Store is completely opt-in. Even "Genius" is opt-in (since it sends your library contents and play information to Apple servers where the mixes are calculated).

      And I'd add Double-Twist to the list of iTunes alternatives, especially if you have an Android phone.

    • Now I have to have Quicktime on my machine ... which I am not a fan of.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QuickTime_Alternative [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by qoncept (599709)

      Now I have to have Quicktime on my machine ... which I am not a fan of. And what's worse is that reviews are telling me that it's faster but with a crappier UI while at the same time Ping concerns me if it has my credit card information and is just a spam portal.

      Are people really still complaining about this? I hate QT as much as the next guy, but it's a design decision. Do you want identical functionality and codecs in iTunes and Quicktime, or do you want to have both installed on your computer? Using VLC for video is of absolutely no consequence to Apple as it is hardly a ubiquitous claim. I, for example, ONLY use iTunes for video and absolutely hate VLC. If you don't like Quicktime, don't use it and set all your video filetypes to default to something else.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        Um, no I really don't want to use QuickTime at all. I'd rather a few things happened:

        A) Microsoft implemented basic codec support out-of-the-box using native libraries included with Windows

        B) Apple (and most other programs) used these codecs

        C) The weird codecs could be implemented by third party programs (like VLC)

        Basic codec support should be a library in -any- commercial OS (yeah, there are reasons for not including all codecs with Ubuntu/Fedora and other OSS OSes) and programs should use
      • by arth1 (260657) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:59PM (#33466374) Homepage Journal

        It's not that simple. Quicktime is neither backwards nor forwards compatible, nor does it allow for multiple simultaneous installations.
        If you have other programs that depend on earlier versions of Quicktime, installing iTunes will break those programs with its forced upgrade. If I ever want to view the .mqv files from my camera, I can't use the newest Quicktime because the new codecs can't handle files created with earlier versions. So what do I do then? You guessed it -- ditch iTunes, and make sure I never buy an iPod or iPhone.

        If Apple could have provided a self-contained Qt installation within iTunes that didn't install at SYSTEM level, the situation would have been very different. Then it would have been just bloat for those who don't use any Qt features. But as it is, it's directly detrimental.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jedidiah (1196)

        Yes. Ignoring the native OS libraries for a given function should be a big fat no no.

        This is especially true for stuff like video that quite often requires very low level hardware integration.

        Someone running iTunes should not have to worry about whether or not Apple properly replicated PureVideo or VDPAU hooks.

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:08PM (#33465592) Journal

    What isn't there to like about an application that wants to update itself twice a day and requires you to agree to a new EULA each time?

    • rule number 1 of slashdot: ANY thread can be twisted into a bash of microsoft. no exceptions.

      Heh.

      rule number 1 of slashdot: ANY thread can be twisted into a bash of microsoft/Apple. no exceptions.

    • by slapout (93640)

      An application on the iPod that does the same thing -- only on the iPod the EULA is (I kind you not) 55 screens long!

    • Re:I love iTunes! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Idbar (1034346) on Friday September 03, 2010 @01:03PM (#33466416)

      What isn't there to like about an application that wants to update itself twice a day and requires you to agree to a new EULA each time

      ... consumes my PC resources, wants to automatically install more software than the one I asked for (Safari, Quicktime), starts at least two services on windows that cannot be voluntarily stopped, neither set to manual (or that only run when I open iTunes).

      Seriously, why people use that software!?

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:08PM (#33465594) Homepage

    The company won't have a stable base for its new media empire until it rebuilds iTunes from scratch

    Kindof like they did with Mac OS X. They should have no problem doing this with iTunes.

    • by bsDaemon (87307) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:23PM (#33465834)

      I suspect that significantly fewer people used OS 9 than use iTunes, and considering its basically iTunes and the iPod that brought Apple back to life, there might be a slight bit more reluctance to admit that maybe it's gotten out of hand.

      Although, I'm glad someone brought up the point about CD ripping. When iTunes first came out, the slogan was something like, "Rip. Mix. Burn," where as now its "buy everything off our store! cds are for squares!" Its kind of along the lines of the broadband advertisements of about the same time, which basically used Napster as a selling point for cable and DSL internet -- Cox saying "download music and movies at blazing speeds!". Apple and the broad band industry basically colluded to make piracy a selling point, then turn around and try and label everyone who engages in it now as some sort of social anathema or infrastructure hog rather than update infrastructure and/or software to meet the requirements of the new reality.

      • by rednip (186217)
        What's this 'CD' thing of which you speak? The last thing to go into my DVD burner was my OS installation disk.
    • by joeytmann (664434)
      Yeah and how long did that take to make the switch from System 8/9? Nearly a decade?
      • by joeytmann (664434)
        Ok, sorry overshot the time. Could have sworn it was longer from how it felt at the time.
  • Cruft (Score:5, Informative)

    by TyFoN (12980) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:09PM (#33465604)
    Not only is itunes full of cruft, it was originally bought [wikipedia.org] from an outside developer and shoehorned into what apple wanted it to look like. It has been horrible from the get go.
    • by jockeys (753885)
      I was one of the few people who PAID for SoundJam... it WAS that good. iTunes has been nothing but a continuing series of disappointments. Uglier interface, no extra features that I even remotely care about.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ackthpt (218170)

        I was one of the few people who PAID for SoundJam... it WAS that good.

        iTunes has been nothing but a continuing series of disappointments. Uglier interface, no extra features that I even remotely care about.

        It seems to be the nature of all software development as time goes on. Back in my day we counted bytes and processor cycles and knew how to handle interrupts. We wrote code to be functional, reliable and uncomplicated.

        iTunes is like the internet in many ways, clogged with unnecessary code, features nobody really needs (or can understand how to use) and straying from its core focus. What next, a javascript version as a webapp? That'd be just lovely.

  • is still about all I use iTunes for; well, that and transferring them to my iPod. Can't remember the last time I actually used it to listen to music, and I think I've only "set foot" in the store a few times (and only when I had a coupon for a free download).

    I don't really care how big and ugly iTunes gets given how rarely I use it, my only objection is that Apple feels the need to install three different startup processes in Windows along with it - 'cause, you know, it would be absolutely awful if I had to

  • iTunes...feh (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:11PM (#33465630) Homepage

    I'm sorry, but iTunes is a piece of crap as far as software is concerned. I don't know how smoothly it runs on a Mac, but on Windows it's nigh useless (this is on a Phenom II X4 965 with 4 gigs of RAM, btw).

    The day my wife switched over to an alternate piece of software (she uses SharePod) was the day she became much happier.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Are you serious? I'm running a 955 with 4GB too, and it's the first time in my life I haven't complained about iTunes' performance.

      There's something seriously wrong with your rig if you can't run iTunes without problems using that kind of hardware.
      • Re:iTunes...feh (Score:4, Informative)

        by Pojut (1027544) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:25PM (#33465862) Homepage

        I'm not talking about performance issues, I'm talking about general usage problems. Tracks will disappear and reappear on a whim, playlists would disappear (and, in one extreme case, change its own order) amongst other things.

        Tried formatting the system, still continued giving her problems. Since she switched to SharePod, she hasn't had a single issue. ::shrug::

        • I'm not talking about performance issues

          Then don't include your systems's specs as if they're somehow relevant?

          I hated iTunes on OSX as well. Don't remember there being any performance issues, but the interface is just plain babying and annoying.

  • I have no interest in Ping, and I don't use it. iTunes 10 continues to work even though I don't use the feature.

    In the past year or two of iTunes releases, it's only gotten faster for me. I also noticed that the download for iTunes 10 for Mac OS X is 86 MB, whereas the previous version (9.2.1) was 106 MB.

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:15PM (#33465708) Homepage Journal
    I can't believe iTunes is still a Carbon app to this day. Everybody else has updated to Cocoa, what's taking you so long Apple? Are you too busy figuring out ways to break your own Human Interface Guidelines?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      iTunes is a Cocoa app now. As of iTunes 10, it now has a NSPrincipalClass, which means it's running under the Cocoa runtime.

      No doubt it still has some Carbon calls (It's based on QuickTime which is entirely Carbon, cept for QuickTime X which isn't out for Windows), but it's a Cocoa app now.

  • by tiedyejeremy (559815) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:16PM (#33465718) Homepage Journal
    I got very frustrated with the itunes interface for my 64GB touch and when getting a new phone, opted for GalaxyS rather than the iphone. maybe apple has finally "pooped in its mess kit"
  • Winamp. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Vehstijul (85085)

    Back when I was on Win2k (or Windows, period) I used Winamp... and then they started adding crap I didn't want that slowed down the program. At least I had the option to keep the older version.

    Sounds like iTunes is doing it again. Social networking in my music player?! Not needed. I'm not on Facebook, I'm not on Twitter, I don't want that in my music player, I must be a Luddite.

    Can't they have a iTunes "lite" that only connects your iPad/Pod, organizes your music, and that's it?

    The iTunes "Plus" can play yo

    • Can't they have a iTunes "lite" that only connects your iPad/Pod, organizes your music, and that's it?

      First they'd have to come up with a version of iTunes that could actually do all of those things halfway well.

      Sometimes I wonder how many people never tried a Mac because they experienced iTunes on Windows and assumed all Apple software must be that terrible.

      • Re:Winamp. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by onkelonkel (560274) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:44PM (#33466152)
        "Sometimes I wonder how many people never tried a Mac because they experienced iTunes on Windows and assumed all Apple software must be that terrible."

        Spot On. Agree 100%.

        Itunes is the one Apple software that almost all Windows users will see. It could have been an opportunity to showcase the awesomeness of Apple software. Instead it is judged to be "meh" at best and in fact from other comments here, a lot of people think it is a bloated bugfest and actually hate it. Total fail on Apple's part.
    • i'm still using oldschool winamp on my laptop.
    • Can't they have a iTunes "lite" that only connects your iPad/Pod, organizes your music, and that's it?

      I know there are a number of music players out there that do that job pretty well. My favorite is still Pana (Amarok 1.4.x plus bug fixes and upgrades) [bunnies.net], although it looks like they have stopped development on it.

  • I like to sort my music by Artist --> Album --> Track Number --> Song Name. (Madness; I know.) Apparently this is not what Apple wants. Although I can move any other column anywhere I want, I can't move the "song name" column in iTunes. Does anybody out there know why? Is there a logical reason for this that doesn't involve lazy programming or "because Steve Jobs said so"? I am genuinely puzzled by this.
  • I was very happy when I turned in my iPhone for a Droid and could remove that POS iTunes from my machine. I would block it by group policy on every network I run if I could.
  • Sadly true (Score:5, Informative)

    by dr2chase (653338) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:18PM (#33465744) Homepage
    I lit up Ping last night, it seemed to only know about music I had bought from Apple (1.4% of my library), and said "That user hasn't written any reviews" when I clicked on "My Reviews". Hel-lo? Might you suggest to me, "here's how to write a review?" "would you like to write a review?"

    Or maybe, an option to harvest ratings already made (1-5 stars) from my iTunes library, instead of asking me to go wandering through the store?

    The route to "review an album" goes down an interesting rabbit hole that accidentally exposes their database organization into the UI. Take an album that is not in Apple's catalog (e.g., Anderson/Burroughs/Giorno, You're the Guy I Want to Share my Money With), you get to the "write a review page" by clicking on the arrow next to a song. This then takes you to a different album containing that song, not the one you might want to review.

    I realize that Apple, like everyone else, is just trying to make a buck, but you're not supposed to give the game away quite so crudely. If you don't have the album, say "sorry, we don't have the album in our store. Do you think we should, and would you like to review it anyway?"
    • Or maybe, an option to harvest ratings already made (1-5 stars) from my iTunes library, instead of asking me to go wandering through the store?

      I'd agree with this one. It seems like absolute common sense. On the other hand, you know if they did that, no matter how clearly it was labelled, people would be complaining about it as a privacy violation.

  • Refuses to install on my quad core intel with 4 gig ram and windows 7 x64.

    Perhaps I don't have a beefy enough system to run it ?
  • the store part is a web browser with a slightly different GUI than other web browsers. even on my iphone, which is how they added Ping to it without me upgrading to the latest firmware. i'm still on 4.0.

    the local storage part is either xml files or a sqllite database. that's the slow part unless you have a new computer with lots of RAM

    the problem is not building a new iTunes, that's easy. it's migrating the existing data over. the big challenge will be to migrate the existing data seamlessly during an upgra

  • of iTunes from scratch because that's pretty much the only way to fix this behemoth. Then when you consider that complete rebuilds always result in higher quality software, there's only one question to ask! Apple, where are you on the rumored iTunes rebuild?
  • Entirely Possible (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:22PM (#33465806)
    Given that this is a company that blew up their entire operating system to, more or less, start from scratch, I would not be the least bit surprised if they decided to do this with iTunes if they feel that it has bloated too far off track. Say whatever you want about Apple but they are, and have long been, a company that is willing to make tough decisions if they feel it is the right one. They do not shy away from the hard choice like so many other companies do.

    Do they need to blow up iTunes and start fresh? Well, I'm sure everyone will have a different opinion on that but, if Apple starts to think that way I am certain it won't be long before they actually push the plunger and rebuild from the ashes.
  • I've never had any problem using it, including what looks like a dozen in-place upgrades on my 3 year old XP SP3 box.

    But it is getting to be "too much" of an application that does too little. I don't think it's going to change, though, as AFAICT it has become the "Apple Desktop". In fact it wouldn't surprise me if it became almost some kind of virtual desktop environment in the future, a place to run iApps on desktops, interact with Apple's Apple-product-only app and media marketplace.

    It doesn't scale wel

  • Apple surprisingly has manage to keep most of the new features they add pretty streamline when added to the UI.

    My main complain about that stupid app is it's speed and memory consumption.
    Something which has been it's Achilles' heel since forever.

    It seem just about every piece of Apple software on Windows is 2-3 times less efficient that any other software of it's class.

  • by Geeky (90998) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:29PM (#33465938)

    I still can't get over the fact that you can't use in iPad without iTunes. When you first switch it on, you have to sync it to iTunes before you can do anything, and you need it to apply updates to the OS.

    I got an iPad purely as a portable photo portfolio - the rotation makes it better than a netbook as you can show portrait and landscape format photos full screen. Sadly the built in photo gallery software is poor, especially if you have to sync with iTunes (you have more control if you use iPhoto - on a Mac).

    I kinda feel dirty for buying in to the whole Apple thang.

  • iTunes has always been a frustration to work with. I have thousands of MP3s in mine, mostly OTR and the concept of one central library isn't too bad, but the inability to create folders within folders, for organization, is exasperating. It's like these designers never thought anyone would like to organize more than 1 folder deep.

    I looked over the new iPods and 'Meh' is the best I can muster. Why isn't there a 64GB or 128GB Nano? This is 2010, after all. 16GB just doesn't cut it, way too small and I don'

    • by Daltorak (122403) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:55PM (#33466316)

      So happy all my stuff is in MP3 format, not Apple's proprietary format.

      Huh? What proprietary format are you talking about? iTunes' standard audio format is MPEG-4 Part 14, aka ISO/IEC 14496-14:2003. It's supported out-of-the-box by Windows 7 (including streaming) and surely by other operating systems as well.

      The only practical difference between Apple's implementation and the ISO standard is that Apple prefers the extension .m4a, whereas the standard states that .mp4 is the only valid extension. All this specifity in file extensions really does is help operating systems sort out whether a given file is an audio-only or multimedia file without having to read the contents. The file contents itself is the same.

  • Both of them started as useful, free, little products. But then they bloated so much that grew largely irrelevant. On top of that, both have a pile of unusable features, and an user interface that appears to be designed by AOL. And Apple keeps pushing updates that are utterly irrelevant to 90% of their customers, be it to support some new device or add even more unwanted features.

    ...

    So I choose not to upgrade either of them anymore, and actively avoid to use them if I have an alternative. I used to like i

  • So far, I have had light success with the following iTunes alternatives:

    Winamp - Various plugins seem to work, then not work depending on iOS versions. Sharepod turned out much easier, then later I discovered MediaMonkey.

    SharePod - Originally for iPods, but seems to support iPhones fairly well. Last I checked, you DO need to have iTunes installed. It's been flaky from time to time, but is good for providing a drag-n-drop interface for the iPhone.

    MediaMonkey - This one I think is going to be big for me in

  • I would agree Apple should go back to the drawing board with iTunes. Not because I think it's horrible-- IMO it works fine on OSX-- but because it was designed primarily to store and play a music library. Since then, it has grown to store movies, TV shows, podcasts, sync calendars and other personal information, store and transfer applications to portable devices, backup the applications' data, transfer documents to portable devices, and now have a built-in social networking site. It's also used to do we

  • Apple and Google both seem to do a really good job at drawing the media attention to their hits and not their misses. There's always a back catalog of unsuccessful software, this is just a fairly high profile case.
  • by c.r.o.c.o (123083) on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:42PM (#33466118)

    I briefly owned a 2nd generation iPod Nano when they were brand new, and of course it insisted I install iTunes in order to transfer music to it. I installed it, uploaded some songs, and found out that Apple insists on ignoring folder structure when organizing music playlists. Since all my mp3s came from random sources, the id3 tags were a mess, but up to that point I did not care. Every computer and mp3 player I had used to that point was fine reading folders first with Artist_name/Album_name/track_number_-_song_name being the default sort.

    Apple just HAD to be different. It was using just file names and id3 tags to sort songs in playlists, so "Unknown Artist", "Doors" and "The Doors" were all different, even though on my PC they were all under the same folder. This was annoying beyond belief, but I wanted to fix the id3 tags anyway at some point.

    So I embarked on the gargantuan task of editing the id3 tags in my entire music collection, about 90Gb at the time, using iTunes. It wasn't as horrible as I thought, since iTunes does have batch id3 tag processing. At first everything was fine, all my songs were nicely organized both in iTunes and iPod.

    Then a few months later I decided to sell the iPod Nano and just use a cellphone as an mp3 player. Since I was only using iTunes to sync the Nano and play the mp3s, and I always liked foobar better anyway, I uninstalled it. HUGE MISTAKE!!!!!

    It turned out that iTunes wiped out the id3 tags from the songs and stored them somewhere else, because when I loaded the mp3s in foobar not a single one still had their tags. They were wiped clean! I posted this before and people said it must have been a mistake on my part. But I promise you guys, every single file in my music collection did not have an id3 tag. Verified with several media players on several computers.

    After that I swore never to buy another product that requires iTunes to function. I'd probably be tempted by an iPhone 4 once my Nokia N900 breaks down, but since I have to use iTunes, it won't happen...

    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Friday September 03, 2010 @01:23PM (#33466650)

      Apple just HAD to be different. It was using just file names and id3 tags to sort songs in playlists, so "Unknown Artist", "Doors" and "The Doors" were all different, even though on my PC they were all under the same folder. This was annoying beyond belief, but I wanted to fix the id3 tags anyway at some point.

      There is the principle here that a song is a self-contained unit, it knows where it belongs all on its own. If you took hundred songs from my iTunes Library, copied them all into one single directory, and imported them into your iTunes Library, everything would end up exactly where it belongs.

  • That for the most part, when media pundits make fun of an upcoming Apple product, more often than not, it's exactly what the market's been looking for. It's easy to tear down something on a technical basis but nobody will call the writer out when they get their predictions wrong.
  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv AT gmail DOT com> on Friday September 03, 2010 @12:51PM (#33466246) Homepage

    The article makes an interesting hypothesis, but then completely fails to back them up logically. This is an empassioned article full of "cruft" and no substance.

    First let me say that Cruft is defined by Wikipedia as "computing jargon for code, data, or software of poor quality". Great, you could make a case for this, but the article completely fails to do so. The author defines cruft by the number of features... errrnnttt WRONG. You use that word... I do not think it means what you think it means. If cruft were defined by number of features, then every major piece of software that runs the internet would be full to the gills of real and true cruft. The only example of a real problem the author gives is that iTunes is in fact lacking a feature, specifically Facebook integration. I can understand that's a concern but you can't say that a piece of software is crufty for having too many features and then give an example of this as a lack of features.

    Now, if you want to make a case for cruft, you have to start pointing out things like crashes, bugs, design flaws, etc. Show me the poor quality code. By what I consider the definition of cruft, I'm sure someone can make an argument that iTunes is crufty. But the arguments of the article don't line up with the premise. Now personally I like iTunes, and haven't had a crash on it in like 5 years. There are some interface oddities I'd like to change, and iTunes 10 didn't introduce a whole lot and I think the new icon as well as the color changes within the GUI are ugly but not a major problem. I do think the media list is easier to navigate now, and syncing reports more information on the progress of the sync which I like. It's only 2 days so the jury is out on Ping, but personally I've not run into huge problems in iTunes resulting from crufty code in my history working with iTunes. i know that's anecdotal, but so are all the anti-iTunes rants here.

    The moral of the story... Adding new features does not necessarily add cruft. Adding poor quality code adds to the cruft. And if you think this is poor quality code, please, go forth and make that argument now.

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