At the urging (and begging) of my two oldest daughters, I gave in and purchased an iPhone 5 and iPod Touch 5 as Christmas gifts. Before I go off on a rant, I’d like to state for the record that Apple makes a sweet piece of kit. Both devices look absolutely gorgeous.
After getting the devices setup, which is a painless process, I set out to sync up their devices with our home music library. The shine wore off as I waded into iTunes, which is an unbelievably horrid piece of software. It reminded me why I had avoided Apple products for the longest time despite their beauty. I didn’t want to get trapped into their software black hole.
For all the praise people heap upon Apple, I can’t believe they tolerate the abomination that is iTunes. If people knew what existed outside of the Apple reality distortion field, there would surely be a revolt. Fortunately, since Apple keeps their users quarantined and chained to their software, they have no idea how bad they have it. A few of the things that I noticed:
- It is painfully slow. I don’t have a huge music library (~3,000 songs), but it took 3-4 hours for iTunes to process the library. I found this very strange since it was only indexing songs, it wasn’t copying them to local storage or anything. Most other Windows-based software can index my library in a matter of minutes, as half hour at most.
- Syncing options are limited. How can you not allow syncing on a song by song basis? Really?
- iTunes does not auto-discover new music. Once setup, if you add new music to your library, you need to reload the library. While it doesn’t take as long as the initial load, it still takes a long time to page through the library.
I could continue to go on, but I think you get the point. I’d like to believe that the issues are the result of me doing something wrong, but Google searches lead me to the conclusion that these are limitations that have not been addressed in the ten years that the iPod has been around.
The iTunes experience is so bad that my daughters aren’t even using their new Apple devices for music, they’ve sticking with their Zune HD devices. People may ridicule Microsoft’s Zune devices, but the Zune HD was, and still is, a great music player.
Anyway, here are a couple of suggestions for improving the iTunes experience. I doubt anyone at Apple will listen, but if they did, I just might consider getting one for myself:
- Let me use the device as USB storage. I’d like to be able to plug the device into a computer and drag-and-drop directly to the device without having to go through a single piece of software.
- Allow other programs/apps to sync music. Apple’s software shouldn’t be the only choice. Developers should be allowed to create better options for syncing music libraries.
- Provide a music subscription option. Surely Apple can convince the record labels to permit music subscriptions. Those familiar with Zune Pass know what I’m talking about – it rocks, literally!
- Give better syncing options. At a minimum, the ability to sync on a per song basis.
If anyone has any tips on how to get more from iTunes, I’m all ears. Something tells me the Zune HDs won’t last forever, and that sooner or later I’ll be forced into using iTunes, whether I like it or not.