This app plays music, movies, radio stations, and podcasts. It’s the digital mall where we go to hang out and shop for music, movies, books, audio books, TV shows, podcasts and apps for iPhone and iPad. It’s the app we love to hate.
Dr. Frankenstein Made iTunes
iTunes dates back to the latter part of the last century when Apple bought SoundJam MP. Apple needed a music player for the upcoming iPod and the rest is history. iTunes became a huge hit and one of the internet’s largest online stores.
Somewhere along the way, a descendent of Dr. Frankenstein took over management of iTunes and whatever Frankenstein’s monster would be in digital form, iTunes became.
iTunes is a monster app that brings in billions of dollars in revenue and profit to Apple, but has also become a grotesque digital creature, a patchwork quilt of bolted on functionality in dire need of a housecleaning, remodeling, or restoration.
I don’t know of any Mac user who uses iTunes and has never had a problem with the app. As Roseanne Rosannadanna said, ‘If it’s not one thing, it’s always something.’ That’s iTunes.
Other than OS X itself, I don’t know of a single Mac application with more entries in Apple’s online customer support forums.
Why? iTunes has grown monstrously complex, a complicated behemoth app not unlike Dr. Frankenstein’s original monster with functional parts attached from other entities, living, but with not much of a life.
It’s A Trust Issue
iTunes cannot be trusted. It crashes, freezes, hangs, or spews out arcane error messages more frequently than President Obama apologizes for what he didn’t know. Sometimes iTunes works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
It took Apple years to implement tabs in the iTunes interface, and while tabs help to navigate, it’s still much like shopping every store at the mall but never moving from your chair. It takes a lot of clicking to find what you want.
Every new iTunes update fixes a few long standing bugs and seems to introduce new ones, not unlike rapidly breeding cockroaches, or digital Whack-a-Mole. The latest update to iTunes gave me errors I’ve never seen before, including the one that says iTunes can’t save my Library.
For a company that prides itself on the user experience, and often ships elegant solutions to user problems, iTunes is the antithesis of user friendly usability. A quick look at the support forums for iTunes will make you squeamish and send you looking for alternatives.
There are none.
Other than playing music, videos or podcasts, iTunes is the only mall in town, right? Or, is it? Amazon, Google, and other online services sell music, movies, TV shows, and more, and while their stores and players are not as complex as iTunes, they’re not exactly paragons of comfortable usability, either.
iTunes is a monopoly app and Apple needs to break it up into standalone stores and functions.