The Leaning Tower of Ping: How iTunes Could Be Apple’s Undoing

With each new product that Apple announces, including the revamped Apple TV and the new Ping social network, Steve Jobs reveals a little bit more of his plan to dominate the media universe. But I can summarize that plan’s fatal flaw in one word: iTunes.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Apple’s hardware is unbeatable, and my admiration for it has only grown since I got my first iPod back in 2003. My home/office is virtually an outpost of the Apple Store: with the exception of the TV, the videogame console, and the coffeemaker, almost every device in my house is an iGadget of some kind. The operating systems that power my Apple devices are pretty good, too. I love OS X and I’m very glad that Xconomy is a mostly Mac shop. On the mobile side, Android is impressive, but iOS is the slickest and most user-friendly mobile operating system out there, in my judgment.

itunes-10-logoBut 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, yet I can’t sidestep it. What makes iTunes’ deficiencies so infuriating is that the program is indispensable: it’s the nerve center that stores all of your Apple-related media content, mediates all of your Apple-related purchases, and connects all of your Apple devices.

The rollout of iTunes 10, the latest “upgrade” to this nearly 10-year-old program, was one of the two centerpieces of Steve Jobs’ keynote talk on Wednesday, the other being Apple TV, of which I’ll say more in a moment. And the big new feature of iTunes 10 is Ping—a Facebook-like social network designed to help users discover music by seeing what their friends are buying for their iPods.

I’ve been playing with Ping, and it seems to have most of the features you’d expect of a media-centric social network circa 2010—profiles, friending, news feeds, comments. Plus, of course, you can easily preview or buy the songs or albums mentioned in your friends’ news feeds. It’s easy to see how Apple might expand Ping beyond music to facilitate conversations around media of all sorts, including movies, books, and mobile apps.

itunes-pingThat said, Ping has some serious limitations that, to me, are symptomatic of the larger problems with iTunes. For example, there’s no integration with Facebook or even with your contact lists, so it’s virtually impossible to find real-world friends to connect with. For a social networking tool, this is a bit of a problem. (Kara Swisher at AllThingsD grilled Steve Jobs on this very issue, and his suggestion for finding friends was to “type their names into search or send them emails inviting them to join.”)

And there’s an even bigger issue: Adding a social networking interface, on top of all of iTunes’ other functions, is like grafting another limb to the forehead of an octopus. It’s just too much.

Few people may remember this far back, but iTunes predates even the iPod. It started out in early 2001 as nothing more than a program for ripping CDs and playing the resulting MP3s from your computer. (It was based on … Next Page »

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Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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  • Jered

    Yeah, iTunes is pretty much made of fail these days. I don’t know anyone who likes it in the slightest. It takes forever to load, and is a bottleneck to doing most useful things with iDevices — no wireless syncing, in 2010, really?

    iTunes 10 really shows how out of touch Steve is on software. They bought Lala ages ago, and what feature did they finally roll out? The most useless one — seeing what other people have bought, and within iTunes instead of being web based! Where is my cloud media streaming?

    Unfortunately, there’s no alternative that’s driven by customer-facing features. Apple does a great job of making easy-to-use products, but they stagnate unless challenged. The iPhone would be half of what it is today if it were not for Android. We need a Google music ecosystem to kick Apple into gear again.

  • Mike Kaufmann

    CRUFT. Interesting word. Sounds like CRUD. That’s cool, Steve! Right on, Wade! Let’s rethink your goals, Apple!

  • John

    When iTunes debuted, people complained because it lacked this feature, that feature, and blah blah blah.

    Over the past six years, it’s evolved to add how many pages of features.

    So remember, be careful what you wish for. Everybody wanted it to be all things to all people. And Apple has tried. And this is what we ended up with. And yet it’s STILL better than its competition.

    Same goes for the hardware. The iPod is too small, no it’s too big. The iPad screen isn’t big enough, but I want a smaller one. There is no satisfying everybody. R&D is expensive, production is expensive, so companies, at least good ones, do their research and try to satisfy the largest number of the masses as possible.

    You know what, I like iTunes. It syncs fast with my iPhone 4, it hasn’t crashed on me in over 3 versions.

  • Steve

    I’m not sure I understand the logic behind this very long rant. Apparently, iTunes is bad because it has many features? Through this entire article, I don’t recall hearing a practical alternative. There was some mention of breaking up the software, but to what end? Do we really want to have to worry about updating the music library program, updating the syncing program, updating the ping program, updating the program that creates jewel cases, etc, etc. then worry about making sure all of these programs are in sync? No?

    There was a rant about how iTunes manages your music behind the scenes. Do you realize this is OPTIONAL? No? I’m guessing not. You mention that it’s hard to find music, yet, since you’re using a Mac, have you tried finding it with Spotlight? No, no mention of that.

    This may come as a surprise to you, but many people, including myself, actually like the iTunes interface and the functionality provided. I have no desire to use Ping, but I don’t mind the functionality exists.

    You also go on about how the program is poorly designed and needs an overhaul before it stops functioning, etc. Yet, you also concede that you’re not a software engineer. So, which is it? Do you have any evidence that the program is difficult to support and maintain or are you just making assumptions based on all the features you see?

    I’m open minded to changes, but I rant like this should at least come with a solid recommendation for what Apple should do. A rant like this should also consider the ramifications of making that change. This article falls short on these accounts.

  • Yacko

    Within two iterations iTunes will be a cloud database back end with a slimmer user client on a desktop, laptop or mobile device. Users will still have locally stored options but with fee streaming, a back catalog of millions and a portable library of say, 10,000 most users won’t want anything else. And that’s just the music. The current “bloat” won’t stand for long. Unlike Microsoft, Apple is not afraid to chuck old code wholesale and go on a new tangent.

  • Ed Malloy

    Is this stupid or what? iTunes is bad because it does most of what you would like to do with music.

    Any competent software engineer will agree that iTunes pretty much defined the current state of personal interaction on the internet. It is so good that most people like the person who wrote this diatribe just don’t realize what is is doing! It is a great programming achievement. (period)

    As to cruft … well as a software engineer, I’d say that from what I see, iTunes might be the anti-cruft program.

    and it’s interface it uncomplicated — Task on the left, items on the right … Yup, those are my movies… and tht’s the contents of the album. duh!

    I have close to 100,00 tunes, 100’s of audiobooks, dozens of full length movies and scored of short clips, and itunes is quick and responsive on my MacBook Pro. I’ve over 60,000 tunes o and tons of movies and clips on my older iMac, and it also is quick and smooth.

    As to Ping, it’s definitely a work in progress, and I think has the potential to be a very big deal indeed. For example it puts indie labels on the same footing with the (so called) majors.

    I am sure that facebook will eventually “play nice” with Ping. Or else sone other program will and …

  • Rob Wagner

    I actually like the suite of features that iTunes provides. It’s booked to be a one-stop-shop for managing my media, and I appreciate that.

    On the other hand, at least on my Windows 7 home machine, iTunes is a horrible pig. I’ve got a large music collection, a large number of podcasts I subscribe to, and a fair number of digital copies of movies in my library. This adds up to iTunes consuming more than 1 GB of ram by itself, and operating quite slowly. Syncing my iPhone and iPod are a serious exercise in patience.

    My advice would be to spend a whole release just for performance improvements. That would make all my complaints go away.

    (Oh, and wireless sync would definitely be nice too!)

  • Markus Winter

    Anyone who says “iTunes is hard to use” only displays incompetence – my 76 year old father (blue-colour worker without prior IT experience, iMac & iPod Touch), my 68 year old mother (housewife, 4 kids, no IT either, MBP & iPod Touch), my 64 year old aunt (housewife, 3 kids, no IT, MBP & iPod Touch) and many more I know have no problem with it.

    So if you think “iTunes is hard to use” then I humbly suggest you have no business writing this column.

  • iToots

    yeah, I can’t use the itunes. Shortly after I first encountered the program(10years ago) I quickly realized that we were like oil and water, I am a bit of a control freak, and itunes and I had some conflicts. I was the human and I owned the computer so itunes went. And yes I anthropomorphize my software programs. I do run some MS systems, so that could have been the problem, though now it’s become a self sustaining feedback loop. I never purchase apple hardware for fear of being forced to integrate itunes into the rest of my technological household.
    Personally I believe this little policy has saved me mucho $ and hair.

  • Darren Mason

    This article is off base. iTunes still runs well. System requirements have increased of course over 10 years of updates, like most software.

    iTunes has added these features because of customer demand. They have mostly been added without too much clutter. The only part of the article I somewhat agree with is that iTunes takes control of your media and can make it difficult to find and manage your files manually. (though I’ve never had trouble finding my files.)

    People should remember that iTunes helped the music industry recover post-Napster by helping to monetize online song downloads. Jobs is now helping to get the major studios to go for volume pricing and get movies and tv shows online in a form that can allow them to compete. Apple will add streaming and wireless syncing eventually. It’s only natural for them to add social features, and iTunes still opens quick, runs fine.

    What good would it do Apple to have a stripped down player that allows customizations that only a small percentage of users would want?

    It is hard to imagine what the music & video download landscape would look like if MS dominated the early days instead of Apple. But I’m sure I prefer Apple’s approach even with the DRM and file controls they have to put in to satisfy the content owners. I feel that Apple will fight more for the individual consumer than other companies.

  • Apple OSX may be UNIX at the core, but the ‘each app does one job and does it well’ UNIX concept is long since gone within iPrograms; this is a prime example.

  • HD Boy

    I find iTunes to be very powerful, yet easy to use and intuitive. It also shines when used wirelessly with an iPhone or iPod acting as a remote to control an A/V Receiver and speakers connected through an Apple Airport Express router.

  • Bob

    Can someone explain why there are two iTunes addins for Outlook 2007? There’s the iTunes Outlook Add-in and Outlook Change Notifier.

    I just had a fix a user’s problem with Outlook that was caused by the Notifier. Disabling that add-in made Outlook stop crashing.

    So if you want to talk about Cruft, there’s another example. I suppose that the add-ins are there so that people can synchronize mail across the iPhone/Pad/Touch with the Desktop. But it is completely useless – if not worse – for people who don’t have the iDevices.

  • Jered

    Everyone here who says “iTunes isn’t so bad” must not have much music.

    I have about 90 GB of music. I assert that this should be a reasonable amount for iTunes to handle, given that Apple sells 160 GB iPod classics. I have a Core 2 Duo Mac mini.

    It takes approximately 30 seconds for iTunes to load its library on start, during which nothing else can be done. That’s right… it I want to, oh, _sync my phone contacts_ I have to wait for iTunes to load for 30 seconds. That’s ridiculously unacceptable. It’s like, I don’t know, if you had to load Microsoft Word in order to connect a new Bluetooth mouse.

  • In general, it is a poor idea to throw out your existing product. Certainly it can be tempting as a software developer to say “this would be a lot easier if we were working from scratch”, and it’s a lot less *fun* to update and refactor code, but it’s not a rational business decision.

    Certainly, there is sometimes the need to re-engineer parts, or re-design user interfaces. And on occasion, when the codebase is fundamentally flawed and cannot be improved to meet current and future requirements, a new product is appropriate. I am not convinced iTunes meets this definition.

  • Michael

    Parts of the article are on the money, and parts are not. iTunes’ problem isn’t trying to shoehorn unrelated features into an existing model. It’s that the existing model isn’t scalable to begin with.

    I have no doubt that the poster who says his grandmother has no problem using iTunes is being honest: If all I wanted to do was listen to/watch a smallish media collection and handle iPhone apps, I’d have no problem with iTunes. Instead, I have 100GB of music alone (much of it classical, which iTunes sucks at handling metadata for) and another TB or so of video. All this is shared across 2 desktops, 2 laptops, phone, and music player (for working out). Add in sharing some of that with my gf, and you have demands that iTunes can’t handle without constant workarounds.

    iTunes was fine when it needed to run my iPod, but I’ve moved beyond the “small media collection” model, while iTunes hasn’t kept up with me.

    If I could work within Apple’s infrastructure without iTunes, I would. Instead, I’ve switched to Linux/Windows for the desktops — iTunes was just not worth all the workarounds anymore.

  • Tom

    It’s worth noting that iTunes 10 isn’t 64 bit – they haven’t had their QuickTime X moment of clearing it up, and improving the backend code to help sort bloat and speed.

  • bigyaz

    I know it’s cool to hate on iTunes and tout the alternatives (many of which I’ve tried), but the thing works. Yes, it can be slow, but beyond that I have few issues. As near as I can tell the author doesn’t think the iTunes’s features are bad, or don’t work — just that there are too many of them in one application.

  • David

    I’ve only scan ready this article, yes terrible I know, so won’t try and express any awareness of whether Ping will or won’t succeed or if iTunes is going to be some great undoing of Apple (for gods sake!) but… all this angst and grumbling about iTunes, dreading-hating it! Is this really the most important piece of software you own (and which came for free!)? It’s a leisure tool… I have to admit I just find myself getting on with using it!

  • steve

    Ed M., just try to sync an iPhone with two computers and then tell me that iTunes is a great app

  • Markus Winter

    My father, mother, and aunt were quoted for the “easy to use” bit. If it is a Power User you want then how about me:

    No problems with 8600+ songs, 200+ GB of PodCasts and iTunes University, 250+ AudioBooks, 456 movies, 200+ apps – all on a 17in 2,5 GHz MacBook Pro, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HD with 2 iPod Touch (8 GB 1G, 64 GB 3G) and 2 64 GB WiFi iPads (for my wife and me)

    I do manage songs and movies manually though – I don’t synchronize them automatically as I’m quite selective on what I put on my iPod.

    @iToots: Saying you have no clue but you are sure that served you well is not an endearing position to take – I know it is modern times but ignorance is still not a virtue, no matter what the media say.

  • MGK

    and iTunes 10 breaks all third-party iTunes servers based on FireFly etc… strategy or bug?

  • Markus Winter

    @Steve: Make up your mind: How could an iPod sync to two computers? It is logically not possible. For example how would removal of songs work?

    It is not the fault of iTunes if you don’t understand how sync works.

    If you want to use your iPod with two computers, then manage what goes onto the iPod manually and voila – no problem.

    Jeez – why do people always want to display their ignorance?

  • Mouring

    This makes no sense to me:

    “And why is it that I can I use iTunes to synchronize my mobile and desktop calendars and address books, but to synchronize my photo albums, I have to fire up a separate program, iPhoto?”

    I’ve *NEVER* needed to fire up iPhoto to sync photos. Plug in the device, go to device in iTunes, go to “photos tab” and from there I can either select iPhoto and the album I want to sync, or I can sync from a directory. Unless your complaint is that iPhoto isn’t merged with iTunes so you can selectively pick pictures. Which is true about Contacts, Calendars, and Notes. You can choice to sync all, group, or none.

  • Lord Grimthorpe

    Why does iTunes arbitrarily wipe stuff off my iPhone whenever I hook it up? Why does it install THREE background processes that run all the time – sucking up resources? Even then, it still takes forever to load and doesn’t support any open media formats (ogg, flac). I hate that program with the fury of a billion suns.

  • @Markus: Sorry if I was inexact in the passage you quoted. It would be better to say that iTunes is hard to use, compared to every other Apple product I have. With iOS and Cocoa Apple has really stepped up their game on the mobile side, making iPhones, iPods, and iPads a real pleasure to use. What I’m requesting is that the company now apply some of this great UI thinking back to their desktop software.

    @Yacko: I hope you’re right. Apple has done the start-from-scratch thing successfully before. But I can’t hurt for users to nudge them a little by reminding them just how bloated iTunes has gotten.

    @Mouring: I’ve selected all the same things you’ve selected on the Photos tab of iTunes, and it never syncs my photos at all, unless I start up iPhoto separately. It’s one of the eternal iTunes mysteries that I’m just fed up with.

  • Will J.

    It seems that Wade Roush doesn’t understand what he’s writing about, and doesn’t even understand what he’s quoting. Neal Stephenson’s description of “cruft” (and Mr. Roush’s summary of it) clearly refer to CODE. But then the list of complaints about iTunes have nothing to do with the code base (not surprising, since the writer isn’t in a position to analyze that). If the writer’s complaints were justified (and I’m not sure they are), that would be an example of “feature bloat”, not “cruft”. This column is mindless.

  • DigitalKnight

    Get out of your reality distorted world. iTunes is a “soul-less” piece of software with a completely outdated user experience (UX). Most of the recent additions to make it nicer we strongly inspired by the Zune software.

    And “Ping” is no exception. The Zune software is clearly years ahead in terms of musical UX and simplicity. The Zune Social allowed people to discover friends music, send suggestions (with links for purchase), earn badges, all this years ago.

    The Zune UX is plain simple, visually stunning and highly integrated with the artist database that blends customized content with the UX.

    iTunes with its overloaded menus collection and “information overloaded” list based screens is just belonging to the past. And don’t shout out loud about the fact that it’s easy to use. You are just used to it and didn’t probably tried anything else.

    (Oh, by the way, I know both iTunes and the Zune software very well)

  • Necniv

    I’m surprised that a separate iPod app, iPad app, iPhone app don’t exist to allow management of your idevices. But I don’t see the confusion since it’s only when your device is plugged in do you see all this “confusion”.

    I have an older macbook pro with about 5,000 songs, a few videos and few hundred podcasts, but load time is only 10 seconds or so.

    But some of the comments are all over the place, either complaining that iTunes should be doing more, or that it’s a bloated piece of software full of “cruft”.

    Until Apple gives us a dedicated management app will we get away from this issue. But until then, it’s not that big of an deal for me as I update and manage stuff on my phone about once a week and my iPod almost never gets updated.

  • Mark Strait

    Hmmm, I plug my device into my Mac and everything works just the way I set it up, every time. After 10 years no one in the industry has done a better job than Apple. What amazes me even more, Apple has no competition. What competition that does exists, pales in comparison. So stop trashing what works, unless you can show me a better alternative.

  • DigitalKnight

    @Mark Strait

    You’re right, it works fine. Meanwhile, it is not because it is the best product.

    The UX is inferior. And the players are overpriced for what you get. The Apple tax at its best.

    There is no competition because the “iPod” and “iTunes” are now in the common knowledge and common language which now yields an unstoppable critical mass. And one must not ignore the “social statement” that comes with the ownership of Apple products.

    That’s it. Nothing more.

  • Jim W

    I beg to differ with those that say iTunes Runs just fine.

    Perhaps it runs on Mac OS fine, but on my XP install it is slow and unresponsive. Downloading music from the iTunes store takes forever. And music and video playback is choppy. Any other media app on the same box works just fine.

    Now to those of you who are thinking, “get a real OS” I would say, I have one, but iTunes is indispensable and doesn’t run on my Linux partition. And no, I don’t want to spend twice the money for the same intel hardware with an apple icon on the front. Not to mention the fact that I am forced to use Windoze at work.

  • Brian P.

    I personally love iTunes. It’s awesome. If it’s not working for you, I would suggest you get a decent (Mac) computer and ditch that lousy WIndows system. You will not regret that move. I have hundreds of gigabytes of files over many Macs. You sure your WIndoze system isn’t infected? 30 seconds to ‘boot’ (wrong term there) iTunes? On what DELL are you talking about?

    DigitalKnight: Yours is the most inane post here. A windows user complaining about UX? LOL!!!

  • Brian P.

    Inspired by Zune? I may never stop laughing at that outrageous comment.

    This ‘article’ is totally off base. iTunes does a LOT. This is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. It doesn’t demonstrate CRUFT. Cruft is like spagetti code. iTunes isn’t full of bugs, if it were, that would be indicative of CRUFT. If you want a feature less environment, maybe try Windoze Media.

  • Bill D.

    So in one breath you’re complaining about all the utilities Apple jammed into iTunes, and in the next you’re complaining that you have to switch to iPhoto to synchronize photo albums while iTunes synchronizes everything else. Which is it?

  • ed malloy

    “just try to sync an iPhone with two computers and then tell me that iTunes is a great app.”
    I’m sure that you mean auto sync. I believe that you can manually, but then it’s really not synching. It would be nice, but just think about the structure of the records…. the timing, the priorities, ..

    Much easier to copy anything I want to auto-sync to one machine. I do it all the time. That’s what Scripts are for (among a zillion other things)

    itunes is a great app.

  • Jered

    @ed malloy: Nope; as of a relatively recent iTunes update (past 2 yrs?), you can no longer manually manage an iDevice from multiple machines. Your iPod/iPhone is linked to a specific Library ID. If you try to copy music to it from a different machine, you are prompted if you would like to wipe the iPod and link it to the new library.

    This was a huge feature regression, and intensely irritating to those of us who have both work and home machines. If I buy new music at work, I can’t put it on my iPhone until I get home. This was clearly an intentional feature as well.

    A related issue is going to be how Game Center and Ping work with Apple IDs. Apple, so far, has supported the family model well… everyone in my family has an iPhone, and they’re all on my Apple ID so that we can share music and apps. If Game Center and Ping are “one identity per Apple ID,” we’re gonna have big problems.

  • Brian M

    I do like iTunes, there are some things that could maybe be tweaked, but I do like having one place to go to, to do most of my media management. I use smart playlists with things like gengre, BPM, Ratings for music. The automatic adding of TV shows and movies depending on how new they are, and if they have been watched.
    The only area that I think could be improved would be a system to allow a laptop and desktop to work better together since most portables tend to have much less storage available to them compared with desktop systems.

    As for the sync with 2 computers issue… talk to the studio’s the reason for that limit from the beginning of the iPod was a piracy issue raised by the studios.

    About the support of other standards, I do agree as a player it should support plug-ins so you could play FLAC etc… but it does add complexity for the user when their portable player doesn’t support the codec. (it is bad enough trying to explain to people how to burn an mp3 CD for their car, when the music is in AAC format… this is something else that could use a tweak, it should be possible to automate this conversion as a temporary thing for just that burn)

  • Vik

    @Jared- you must have a problem with your OS / computer / hard drive then. I have over 1TB of music (including 100GB of audiobooks) and the only time it takes 30 seconds to load is when updating the library file, which only happens once for each iTunes update. Otherwise, my library loads in < 10 seconds. And this is on an older Mac Mini, C2D 2.0, 2GB RAM, USB2 1.5Tb external hard drive. Fix your system and try again.

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  • Arakun

    I fully agree with this article. I’ve used iTunes since version 1.0 on MacOS 9 although it wasn’t until the release of MacOS X that it became my preferred music player. iTunes pretty much killed the market for music players on the Mac so it’s not like there is much choice. Every now and then an open source project pops up but development stops before it actually becomes useful.

    One problem with gathering so many different features under one roof is that there will always be things that don’t work the way I’d like. Thus I use separate applications to rip and burn my CDs and so far I’ve never bought any music through the store. I still treat it as just a music player and try to hide as much of the cruft I can.

    Then there are things that feel completely out of place. My first reaction when the iTunes Music Store was launched was: ‘This looks like a home page and it’s got its own user interface within another user interface. Why is this inside my music player and why is it not its own application?’ Same thing with many of the other features that all feel like applications within an application, each with its own rules. It’s ugly, complicated and confusing.

    I don’t think we’ll see a redesigned iTunes anytime soon. However, if there’s one company that’s used to abandoning old technology and start all over then it’s Apple.

  • You’re having problems with iTunes? Are you sure you’re running a Mac?

  • Bernie P.

    Ping is a work in progress as you are as a columnist. Ping is starting up, you aren’t; that surely explains Apple’s flailing, but what can a reader make of yours?

    You seem to wear Apple’s devices on your sleeve but it would obviously suit you better to port them to your peeves. Yes I know, Apple is doomed and you’re only trying to help them through their final moments. But what music is more pleasant to the ears: a swan song or the ranting of a prophet of doom…?

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  • AdamC

    Wasted 10 minutes of my life reading someone’s personal opinions but not a creation which can make the world a better place.

  • zato


    1: Author works hard to prove how “Mac” he is.
    2: Author writes sentences with multiple “KILLS”, for example:
    “The rollout of iTunes 10, the latest “upgrade” to this nearly 10-year-old program”
    Notice how upgrade is in quotes, to imply that it isn’t really an upgrade. Further along in the sentence “this nearly 10 year old” – implying that the software is “old”. -2 kills in one sentence.

    With the PING rollout comes an all-out anti-iTunes propaganda effort from Microsoft. Expect to see plenty more all across the net.

  • Ex2bot

    DigitalKnight: I FIND ITUNES EASY TO USE. But you’re right I’ve used it for a long time (01) and I haven’t used a Zune.

    Incidentally, Neal Stephenson’s answer to cruft was open source (i.e. being able to fix the code yourself). While I honestly admire what’s been done in the open source communities (esp. Linux), Linux still seems best for the expert crowd.

  • bob

    There’s one and only one reason itunes will never be on the web.

    Because Steve Jobs promised the record labels he would not put their music, “on the web”.

    Many of the things that iTunes does to piss you off are actually contractual agreements.

    Besides all that, I agree that apples extensions to iTunes are anachronisms and display that they themselves are stuck with this application and also makes Apple look incompetent since everyone knows opening iTunes to the web is the only sensible step and then they dont have to wedge everything into this horrible horrible box.

  • Kirk

    Jered, I have a large music library and I found one way to speedup iTunes startup: Either get rid of your smart playlists or turn off live updating of them. After I did this iTunes started up much faster.