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MacBytes
Oct 9, 2008, 08:49 AM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: In Depth: 10 things Apple should change in iTunes 9 (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20081009094959)
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Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

Mal
Oct 9, 2008, 09:58 AM
Wow. Can I have those 5 minutes back?

What a whiny brat.

jW

SailorTom
Oct 9, 2008, 04:09 PM
*waits for snow leopard*

they make some good points, but nothing well documented before. Apple will have something in the pipeline already.

mainstreetmark
Oct 9, 2008, 04:13 PM
Na, he's got some valid points in there. I, clearly, use iTunes as nothing comes close to it, but allow me to retort:

1. Clean up the user interface

Sure ought to give this a shot. The "Genius" button is in every view twice (bottom and top). But, having alternate views isn't a bad thing - simply don't use the one you don't like.

2. Bar the Genius

Well, he could simply not turn it on.

3. Better file handling

My god, yes. I estimate I have half a gigabyte in my Music folder that isn't in iTunes, because I deleted it from iTunes but forgot to throw it in the trash. Also, I have an entire harddrive of external movies I'd like to be able to store in iTunes, for ratings and playcounts and such, but as it stands, they all have to live in the Music folder too. There's hacks, I think.

4. Better Handling for Multiple Libraries.

Yeah, I don't really have a need, but if you have multiple people in a house, it would be nice to have common stuff, and personal stuff, rather than common stuff OR personal stuff.

5. Better file tracking

See #3, i guess.

6. Better database handling

Slow load time? Well, he can get over that one.

7. Better codec support

Sure, I know half a dozen people that won't use it simply due to lack of FLAC alone. Apple Lossless? whatever...

8. Milti-room for the rest of us

Well, you could get an iPhone - Remote.app is pretty near perfect. ... or use the remote that came with your notebook...

9. A better, cheaper iTunes store

Yeah, asking any company to make something better AND cheaper isn't ever going to be all that successful.

10. iTunes Pro

Screw that. iTunes isn't complex enough to need to have a Pro version. It's just a music player, and it's main point in being free is to sell iPods and iTMS songs.

..and as for me...

11. A way to queue songs, without disturbing what you've set up already.

I have to feed every playlist or genius through Party Shuffle, and it's ability to select duplicate songs is annoying as hell. I think Party Shuffle should be slurped in to the entire interface somehow. A "now playing" thing above the Library group, maybe. If you've selected your playlist or album, some sort of "now playing" widget would show you what songs are coming up, at all times.

nick9191
Oct 9, 2008, 04:18 PM
I think Apple have been adding stuff to iTunes ever since the first version back in 99. The result is it feels very clunky.

What they really need to do is rewrite it from scratch a la iMovie, and make a Windows native version, not just a port.

Beric
Oct 9, 2008, 04:27 PM
I'd simply like to see an "undo" button. It SO annoys me when I have to retype an entire customized song title because I accidentally cleared its name and can't undo it. Or if I accidentally delete a playlist.

That's the number one thing I want to see in iTunes 9. :(

Kilamite
Oct 9, 2008, 04:52 PM
1. Clean up the user interface

Although the interface is old, it works. And I'd never, ever change from list view with coverflow at the top. Gorgeous album art and in the best way to view your songs. Even with Grid now, I never, ever use any other view apart from List with Album Art. Best view there is, and I love it. Works, looks sexy and has all the information I need (artist, song, album, length, bitrate, genre).

2. Bar the Genius

Why is so few people understanding what Genius is?! It really pisses me off when people miss the actual feature of it. Yes, you get the iTunes Store recommendations, I turn that off. But the actual Genius creation feature is freaking awesome, and such a HUGE innovation. It has helped me rediscover so much of my music, and I love that feature. Best iTunes addition...ever.

3. Better file handling

I agree here - iTunes needs to include a proper video converter (which uses the same bitrate/file size as the original and just converts it straight to MP4 then asks you to tag it) and the actual iTunes Music Folder needs proper organization. TV Shows and Movies are NOT Music!

4. Better handling for multiple libraries

Definitely agree. I want my music copied to the iTunes Music folder, but not my Movies or TV Shows! An added option which allows you to specify if you want TV Shows and Movies copied or not would be so useful. The 'alt' option really isn't good at all. It is hassle.

6. Better database handling

Agreed. Covers the main points I'd stress.

7. Better codec support

Again, this comes back to the converter I hope they include at some point. I mean, the QuickTime Converter is built into the OS X framework and would take two seconds to implement! Obviously make it more user friendly, since it is iTunes we are talking about, not Final Cut Pro. It should ask you if you want to convert the original file to play in iTunes, do the conversion (no questions asked unless you click Advanced, just converts the file to the same file size as the original). Then lets you preview it, and offers to the delete the original to free up space.

8. Multi-room for the rest of us

Hmmm, not sure I agree completely. Although the Apple TV is the ideal solution, a more elegant and suited Airport Express would be useful (i.e. built in IR/Bluetooth).

9. A better, cheaper iTunes Store

Better? What?! As for cheaper...it isn't down to Apple to determine the price - they need to make a profit to keep the store running. The whole Royalties fiasco with Apple threaning to close their store couple weeks ago is a good example.

10. iTunes Pro

A pro app? Haha - that would just send out the wrong message, and confuse customers. Do I need the normal iTunes or the Pro one?

Apple just needs one iTunes (just like there isn't OS X Home and OS X Pro) that suits everyone. Advanced features the average user won't use, but are there for people who will.

A whole Pro version is stupidity. I can't even believe the author thinks it would be a good idea!

ArtOfWarfare
Oct 9, 2008, 05:35 PM
#10...

iTunes Pro

that's just the most retarded thing I've ever heard.

As if QuickTime Pro isn't dumb enough. (They really need to get rid of QTP and just give people the full program from the start. They don't offer any features in QTP that make it worth the $20 and seriously, it's just $20. To a huge company like Apple, the $20,000 maybe they make from it (yeah, I pulled that number out of my butt, I have no idea how many people seriously pay for it,) is nothing. How about they just give people the full program with Mac OS X (like with Preview,) and call it good? Right now it's just irritating when that one small thing (full screen,) is grayed out and requires you to hand over $20. (They already gave in to full screen... now let's see the other grayed out things disappear and just have QTP silently slip off of planet apple and no one is confused.)

Errr... what was the article about?

Oh, right.

What they really need to do is rewrite it from scratch a la iMovie.

Good lord, NO!

iMovie HD => iMovie '08 is quite possibly the worse "upgrade" Apple has ever released. Should they have remade it? I guess it wasn't a bad thing. But dang, what they released was terrible. I think they may have been better off just not releasing a new iMovie. The scrubbing and instant rendering is great and all but they took away so many things that made iMovie HD great. They should have skipped iMovie '08 and just silently chugged along with that in the back room you know? Give it another year in development so it can actually be par with iMovie HD when it finally gets released.

... Oh well... guess we can finally see the way it was meant to be this January at WWDC (that's when iLife is normally updated, right?)

... if they want to take a similar approach to what I just suggested with iTunes that would be good.

Spend 2 years to remake it from the ground up so it's got all the great features and it's got the stability.

... that's what Snow Leopard is all about, right? Maybe they can have iTunes 9 ready in time. (Think they'll call it iTunes X when they get to 10? Or maybe they'll change the name...)

Saladinos
Oct 9, 2008, 08:06 PM
What I'd like to see:

1. Virtual file for the iTunes library, just like iPhoto has. Organising my library on disk is a pain, and iTunes doesn't do it automatically, like it should.

2. Get rid of the iTunes store arrow links. Why are they there anyway? I bought the song, why do I want to buy it again?

3. Better duplicates view. Duplicate songs are placed together, and songs with the same title from different albums are listed (I have about 20 "Intro"s listed, all are different songs). This stops me from actually getting rid of the duplicates. Also, some are A Capella versions, and aren't really duplicates. I wish iTunes could compare the content of the songs as well as their metadata, to find which ones really are duplicates, and which are simply baddly tagged.

4. More flexible tagging. I can't add the Explicit flag to any songs from iTunes, meaning that the parental controls on my son's iPod touch are there for show. I also can't tag movies with the featured actors or any of that other stuff you find when getting movies from the iTunes store. I bought a Mac, I paid for iTunes, I don't want to pay for content that I already own again just so I can do these things.

5. More formats. Even superficially.
- Front Row uses the iTunes library for things like Movies and TV Shows
- The iTunes library is limited to .mov files - even if they are reference files for other types like AVIs with DivX video (They all play fine if you have the codec, but require a bunch of .mov reference files to work)
- The alternative is having links in your user's movies folder, which is messy and doesn't support metadata display in Front Row

iTunes needs to just accept these files. Even if it doesn't play them with the default codecs. It should try and open the file, see if there is a codec on the system, and if there is, accept it in to the library.

Kilamite
Oct 10, 2008, 04:44 AM
1. Virtual file for the iTunes library, just like iPhoto has. Organising my library on disk is a pain, and iTunes doesn't do it automatically, like it should.

iTunes organises my music perfectly. Why would you want a similar setup to iPhoto? Average user won't know you can right-click --> show package contents and get access to your library.

4. More flexible tagging. I can't add the Explicit flag to any songs from iTunes, meaning that the parental controls on my son's iPod touch are there for show. I also can't tag movies with the featured actors or any of that other stuff you find when getting movies from the iTunes store. I bought a Mac, I paid for iTunes, I don't want to pay for content that I already own again just so I can do these things.

Never, ever use iTunes to tag Movies or TV Shows. It doesn't write them to the actual file, so when you put those Movies or TV Shows into another library, you'll have to re-tag them all. Use MetaX (http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/video/metax.html) to tag them. Then you can add actors etc. Also, you did not pay for iTunes when you got your Mac! It is free software..

5. More formats. Even superficially.
- Front Row uses the iTunes library for things like Movies and TV Shows
- The iTunes library is limited to .mov files - even if they are reference files for other types like AVIs with DivX video (They all play fine if you have the codec, but require a bunch of .mov reference files to work)
- The alternative is having links in your user's movies folder, which is messy and doesn't support metadata display in Front Row.

The iTunes library is not limited to .mov files - it also accepts .mp4 files. You just need to convert these files (HandBrake it for example) to .mp4. Since you already have the .avi file, just set the file size to the same as the original, then re-encode it.

iTunes needs to implement a simplified version of that.

iTunes needs to just accept these files. Even if it doesn't play them with the default codecs. It should try and open the file, see if there is a codec on the system, and if there is, accept it in to the library.

No, because these files won't play back on your iPod or Apple TV. They only support MPEG4 files.

Things get messy when you start trying to support loads of formats and codecs. Just stick to one, and enhance and improve around that. The H.264 codec is brilliant.

ArtOfWarfare
Oct 10, 2008, 12:01 PM
2. Get rid of the iTunes store arrow links. Why are they there anyway? I bought the song, why do I want to buy it again

You can use Tinker Tools to remove the arrows or better yet, have them point at your own files. I love the ability to click on an arrow and have it redirect me to all the songs by the artist or on the album that I already own rather than the iTunes store.

Download Tinker Tool (http://www.bresink.com/osx/0TinkerTool/download.html)

You can do the same thing via terminal but I find Tinker Tool is a lot more convenient for the non-technically orientated.

kainjow
Jan 29, 2009, 11:25 PM
It's pretty embarrassing for Apple that iTunes is lacking multi-threading in major areas such as loading devices when they connect. I really hate how when I connect my iPhone/iPod iTunes will SBBOD for a bit while it loads the device. Can't it do that in the background? That's all I ask for in iTunes 9 :)

Rodimus Prime
Jan 30, 2009, 12:50 AM
the iTune pro was the line for me.

I and many other still have bad and annoying memories of quicktime pro god damn pop up every time you started quick time on the PC.

it was to the point that many of us said screw this and just pirated quick time pro not because we wanted it but because we wanted to stop that damn pop up asking us to buy it every single time we started quick time.

It still leaves a bad taste in my mouth after all these years.

Knowing apple they would do the same thing with iTune pro. Every time you started iTunes they would ask you to get iTunes pro. I would pirate iTunes pro just to stop the stupid pop up. never use a single feature but to just stop the pop up. that or just say screw itunes on my PC and go to WMP.

surferfromuk
Jan 30, 2009, 10:44 AM
There's a ton of stuff they could do without the garbage detailed in that article...

For instance....

1) I'd like an option to have the visualizer to kick in automatically like a screen saver after about 20 seconds when no mouse movements are detected, and to go full screen single album Coverflow for album summary when a new one plays or a track changes....
2) When are lyrics going to appear automatically?
3) When are they going to include the rear art for album covers ( and any other sleeve/interior cover art). Really annoys me - most albums have amazing art other than just the front...
4)Why can't I store 'fan art/photo's with the album or artist in some way that makes it useful? i.e hook it to a iPhoto event.
5) If I'm doing 4 can I have a Ken burns slideshow visualiser
6) Not to go all Vista on us but a colour track duration display and equaliser might be nice - that mono-LCD is really just too retro..
7) Let's have a minimise view which appears in the menu bar - track playing, duration etc.