Sending iTunes to a Farm Upstate Somewhere

MG Siegler comments on Microsoft’s announcement that iTunes would be coming to the Windows Store:

Anyway, the jokes came fast and furious on Twitter after the news was announced. But what’s actually funny here is that the jokes are basically the exact opposite of the one Steve Jobs made. Whereas Jobs noted that many Windows users would write to Apple to tell them that their favorite software on Microsoft’s OS was iTunes, no one says that anymore. In fact, no sane macOS user, myself included, would dare say such a thing about iTunes. Because it has been awful for the better part of this past decade now.

In fact, at this point, it’s old hat to rag on iTunes. It has been so bad, for so long, that the joke is stale. And yet, somehow Apple doesn’t seem to be in on the joke. Because if they were, surely iTunes would no longer exist.

I’ve long argued against the idea of splitting up iTunes into its myriad functions. I see the value in it — iTunes has almost become its own self-contained operating system — but I’ve long felt like it could be more complicated. To buy an album, put a few tracks in a playlist, and then sync it to your iPhone, you’d have to open the iTunes Store, purchase the record, then open the Music app to add the songs to a playlist, then open the Sync app — or whatever — to pop it onto your iPhone.

Except, that’s not right any more, at least not for many customers. To add a few songs from an album to a playlist on their Mac and then sync the playlist to their iPhone, they just have to add the songs in the Apple Music view of iTunes to the playlist of choice, and then iCloud should handle the rest.

The other piece of evidence that I had for why Apple would be reluctant to split iTunes into several core apps is that it would likely mean doing the same for Windows. But that investment would be far easier to stomach if they were required to make major changes in order to release iTunes on the Windows Store.1

I can’t think of many new features I’m aching for in the next major version of MacOS. One item that has persisted on my wish list for about ten years is a totally overhauled iTunes. Maybe that’s not what’s needed; it’s time to kill it and replace it entirely.

  1. Will Apple really be paying Microsoft’s 30% Windows Store fee for songs purchased in iTunes? ↥︎