Here’s the deal. Back in the pre-iPod days, SoundJam was the premier Mac music player, later purchased by Apple and turned into iTunes. Since then, iTunes has become a perfect example of a digital version of the Frankenstein monster; a collection of parts cobbled together to make the app what it is today. A monster.
iTunes is a music player, a movie player, an internet radio station player, a media shopping mall for music videos, TV shows, movies, and probably a few more items that I haven’t found or figured out how to use. iTunes is a hugely bloated, convoluted mess that nearly everyone who pays attention to such things says is in need of a major fix.
Apple may patch up bugs from time to time, and slather on a new feature here and there to keep the lights on, but don’t expect iTunes to be fixed. It won’t. Here’s why.
When it comes to software, Apple’s history, especially under the reign of Steve Jobs’ second coming, indicates the company is more comfortable by throwing out the old and ushering in the new, and there are plenty of examples.
iPhoto lumbered along for many years with few new features, but as cloud computing became more common and acceptable, iPhoto was thrown out in favor of the new Photos app. Final Cut Pro had a similar, almost disastrous experience. Out with the old, in with the new. iMovie? Ditto. About the only transitory experience I can recall was with OS X itself, not necessarily new from the ground up (having roots in Jobs’ NeXT company, purchased by Apple), but made capable of running Mac OS classic apps as the same time for a few years) but a radical departure from previous Mac OS versions.
Even the name iTunes is wrong, a monicker spawned in the days of iMac and eventually a part of everything. But iTunes is a major brand known and used by hundreds of millions of Apple’s customers. iTunes is not just a music player, but more of an online digital media shopping mall in need of some major repair and remodeling.
It won’t happen.
Certainly Apple knows the problems are there but iTunes is used by so many people every day that any major change in functionality will cause massive disruptions and problems (which they do with every update). What I expect Apple to do is to remain Apple. One day we’ll be watching a new keynote address and iTunes will be replaced. Out with the old, in with the new. In typical Apple fashion, the new app will be cleaner, easier to use and navigate, and have a few killer features– and have some killer bugs which won’t be fleshed out until three or four versions later.
iTunes as it exists today cannot be fixed and will not be fixed. iTunes will be replaced.