Why iTunes?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by pizzalifter, Feb 23, 2010.

  1. pizzalifter macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2010

    This is officially my first post on this forum (looking to make many more)!!!

    I just want to know: In your opinion, which iTunes features are smart and which ones are... not so smart?

    I am a recent switcher and I never understood why people were so crazy about iTunes. I'd like to get an idea of what people think of its functions.

    Thanks so much!!!
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen

    Maybe you can edit your thread title to better promote your intentions of what you really want. The "first post!!!" is a bit redundant.

    I use iTunes mainly as it is the only good working software to be compatible with my iPods and as it offers a quite good overview of what music I have got.

    But nonetheless I wish it wouldn't be that bloated, as it takes up to a minute to start iTunes when the library just contains some songs.
  3. pizzalifter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2010
    Okay, I changed the title (I think). Clearly, I was a bit too enthusiastic in posting. I have never really posted on forums, so I am still trying to get used to it.

    Thanks, spinnerlys!
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Have a look here, if you want to better your forum experience.

    And then there is MRoogle to search these forums.
  5. roadbloc macrumors G3


    Aug 24, 2009
    iTunes is a bloated pig in my opinion. But the rest of the music players for mac suck so badly.
  6. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    It is a fairly good music library application.

    Now, the Genius feature is one of the features I couldn't really live without.. I use it all the time.
  7. Winni macrumors 68030


    Oct 15, 2008

    When you use an iPod, iTunes pretty much is your only option thanks to Apple not playing well with others.

    If you do not have an iPod and just need a music player... Try Banshee. It's Open Source, based upon Mono and thus a multi-platform application.
  8. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    iTunes is pretty much a no brainer for most people.

    It works out of the box with my iPods, iPhone, Apple TV, etc. It does a decent job of organizing my music and for me it just works...
  9. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    I haven't used OS X as my primary OS in years, sooooo it's not like you have to be using it to be using iTunes :D

    Anyway, I'm not 100% satisfied with iTunes, but it gets the job done for me more or less.

    The interface is pretty straight forward, and it makes grabbing podcasts pretty easy. The automated features for podcasts didn't work at ALL when I tried that years ago. So I just show the playcount field, and delete played podcasts as I get done with them.

    Apple's changed the behavior of auto-playlists on the iPod touch over the years. (It's not consistent across iPod models either.) Currently the order is random (or at least not what I put in), so that's not usable for me BUT the good thing is they finally fixed it so it seems to always keep my playback position after being synced. Previously that would screw up 75% of the time, forcing me to write down where I was, etc.

    It's not perfect (and I wish it could handle video conversions, etc.), but I've installed Microsoft's Zune software to get a feel for it, and it doesn't seem to allow you to manually manage podcasts. You seem to be either stuck with it automatically doing it (and probably not doing it right, like iTunes), or just keeping billions of old podcasts. Really lame.

    I hope at some point they finally allow iPod programs to access a "My Documents" type location and allow you to copy stuff back and forth :-/
  10. polotska macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2007
    There certainly are things that I don't like about iTunes, but I have yet to see a competing program for the Mac worth switching to.
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It sounds like something's wrong there. It takes less than 10 seconds to launch iTunes for the first time after a reboot. After that, it launches in 3-4 seconds. I can't imagine what would make it take a minute to start! I'm also not sure what's "bloated" about it, as Safari routinely uses more resources than iTunes does. At least that's my experience.
  12. BornAgainMac macrumors 603


    Feb 4, 2004
    Florida Resident
    Before iTunes on the Mac, you either got crippled software that was free or paid software. iTunes blew everything out of the water when it came out. It doesn't seem bloated to me today. Maybe it is just overwhelming to novice users. The other option is to have Quicktime the default player and just do the file management yourself.
  13. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I like iTunes because it's the ONLY media player on OS X that's somewhat decent. I'd ditch it in a heartbeat if anything came close it it.
  14. waynechriss macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    I dunno what else is good out there besides iTunes. I've used the Zune media software and WMP before and their interface was not a consumer friendly experience for myself. Itunes is straight forward with almost everything, its simple and easy to use.

    My only problem with iTunes is its inability to download podcasts from time to time because of some sort of connection issue. There i would have to download it from right from the source which is a little annoying.
  15. BaldiMac macrumors 604


    Jan 24, 2008
    There are several alternatives to iTunes for managing music on an iPod.
  16. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007

    Someone else is too busy spreading fud than to actually use Apple products.
  17. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    For me, iTunes is bloated, slow, and oppressive.

    I still don't like the automatic importing (when sometimes I just want to PLAY a song not suck it into my library), I still don't like that I'm forced to sync iTunes with my iPod/iPhone instead of being able to treat it like a normal media player and drag and drop files onto it. I hate that it essentially makes me have two copies of my music to use my iPod. I don't like the lack of file formats supported (like FLAC).

    However, I do like the smart playlists (very powerful) and once everything is loaded in it's very easy and quick to search (I have almost 40,000 songs). I also like all the goodies that go along with using iTunes, the fringe benefits -- remote speakers, iPhone's remote software, etc.

    Not really, Apple PAID MusicMatch to stop developing their Mac version so there would be no competition. (FWIW MM is irrelevant now). Also iTunes itself was based on a player that Apple bought from a 3rd party developer.

    I forgot to add that iTunes has now become a swiss army knife instead of a music player. I don't need my music player to activate phones or sync photos with a set top box ;)

    The alternatives are NOT Apple products.

    I've used XPlay and Sveta on the PC and ; how about a handy list for the noobs to try an alternative for getting music on the iPod.
  18. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
  19. pizzalifter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2010
    Songbird actually looks quite sweet.

    Wow, I am surprised that so many people seem to be dissatisfied with iTunes. Maybe it's just the people I know, but so far I always got raving reviews.

    Thanks by the way for all the responses. I am really glad I came to this forum.
  20. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Mono is under constant threat by Microsoft patents, and should be definitely avoided for any Open Source code. Unless you have lawyers that are more clever than Microsoft's lawyers.
  21. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    iTunes can convert video to iPod/iPhone/Apple TV versions. It doesn't do a whole lot of video conversions, but it does do some.
  22. BaldiMac macrumors 604


    Jan 24, 2008

    Don't use iTunes to play songs that you don't want to import into your library. There are plenty of alternatives including quicktime. You don't even have to associate any filetypes with iTunes.

    You aren't forced to sync iTunes with your iPod. You can drag and drop files onto it. Just choose the option to manually manage your music or use a different program.

    It doesn't make you have two copies of your music to use your iPod.

    Okay. But it supports the two most popular formats plus two lossless codecs in WAV and Apple Lossless. Why would you rip your files to FLAC?

    Does the iPhone activation process or the AppleTV support get in your way if you don't use either of these devices?

  23. 2056 macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2008
    as a windows user i loved winamp and hated itunes. i had everything organized so well in winamp and itunes didn't really do what i wanted. when i bought my first mac in 2008, i was pretty much forced into using itunes because the alternatives weren't that great.

    and now today, i don't think i could live without itunes. it gets the job done and it's very simple to use. i love the genius feature and the smart playlists. i even have my own sleep mix lol
  24. janstett macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2006
    Chester, NJ
    Sooo.... Don't use OSX's built-in music player to play music. Is that what you're saying?

    I KNOW I don't need to use iTunes to play it (FWIW I usually use Play or VLC). But that's because of the problems I listed with iTunes not being, you know, a MUSIC PLAYER anymore.

    Actually, you are forced by Apple to sync iTunes with your iPod. Without 3rd party software, one cannot drag and drop files onto it -- not songs one wants to listen to on the device. In case you've never seen a non-apple media player, that's how virtually all of them work. They mount like hard disks and you drag and drop the media you want onto the device and eject. Done. Easy. Quick. Simple. And it doesn't waste disk space on the host computer.

    The option to manually manage your music just stops iTunes from automatically syncing your iPod with your entire iTunes library. It still requires you to have a copy of whatever you want to get on the iPod on your computer's hard drive in the iTunes library wasting space, you just manually determine which ones get copied to the device and which ones dont'.

    Apple really doesn't seem to understand the user who is pulling content from another machine or a central storage location and just wants to plop it on the device. For example, my music collection is about 40,000 songs, most of them lossless. First it wouldn't FIT on any iPod, and second it exists on a NAS. I don't want or need yet another copy of this content on a Mac that will sync with the iPod. And that also means I can forget about syncing with a laptop.

    When I got my first iPod it was nearly as big as the biggest laptop hard drives of that time. I was extremely annoyed that I had to consume most of my hard drive's space to sync music on my iPod -- rightly so.

    Another good example would be this -- I have a few movies on my iPhone, digital copies from Blu-Ray purchases, such as Dark Knight and Star Trek. I am never, ever going to watch them on my Mac, but I am forced to have them sitting on my hard disk wasting precious space on my Macbook's SSD just so they can sync with my iPhone where I will watch them. I just want it on the iPhone, nowhere else.

    And third party solutions help address this, but I've been burned by 3rd party solutions before. Apple changes something on a whim and the 3rd party software is broken for months (I'm looking at you, XPlay).

    The inability to directly manage a device also introduces unnecessary complexity when you have more than one iPod. Now you have to have both sets of content jammed into one machine's library and have to contort to get the right content on the right iPod. Instead of just dragging and dropping what you want on each one and being done with it.

    Yes, it does. The copy on the Mac and the copy on the iPod. What if I just want to load up my iPod and be done? Again, how most other media players work. Take content from wherever -- an external hard disk, a NAS, a thumb drive, another computer -- and copy it to the device. No need for yet another copy wasting hard disk space permanently in iTunes.

    Because this is not an Apple-centric world. Anybody else dealing in lossless music is using FLAC, not ALAC. FLAC is fast becoming the defacto standard for high quality files (including multichannel and high res like 96/24 DVD-A and vinyl rips). Besides, I just used FLAC as an example (it's easy enough to convert from FLAC to ALAC with Max, dbPowerAmp, Foobar). The point is there are players that handle a toolbox of formats, are easily extensible, and are still fast and light (like Foobar). Then there are completely inflexible bloated players like iTunes. Anything other than MP3, AAC, ALAC and WAV is verboten in iTunes, despite the fact that QT plugins could solve the problem. Apple wants a closed world.

    Perhaps they are why iTunes is so bloated and slow.

    Let's pause and review, for a moment, what iTunes has become.

    OK, it stores and organizes your music. Very good, that's what a music player is supposed to do. Things like the Genius and iTunes store recommendations are bloated but still somewhat related so not too far off target. Radio and podcast management are acceptable diversions.

    It's also a store to buy music. Uhhh, ok, but getting a little off track assuming I need to buy music from your online store instead of managing the CDs I already have, or dealing with the acquisition of music off-line/elsewhere. (And that store itself has also become a place to buy videos and iPod/iPhone applications). What does any of that have to do with playing my music?

    It also syncs with devices. Uh, OK, doesn't really belong in iTunes, but I can see it. Now that has grown to installing firmware, backing up the device, activating phones, syncing address book contacts and calendars and photos (which aren't even organized in iTunes, I guess I should count my blessings).

    Hmm, I wonder why iTunes is so bloated and slow and visually complex, instead of just playing the damned song? :D

    The original complainer, Consultant, said:

    "Someone else is too busy spreading fud than to actually use Apple products."

    in regards to using something other than iTunes to manage an iPod.

    Read that again -- you're spreading FUD about Apple products by not understanding how to use them with non-Apple products in a manner that is not supported nor endorsed by Apple.

    Well, you can't actually spread FUD about an Apple product when it requires a non-Apple product in conjunction to do what you are positing. In other words, out of the box and to a noob, the complaint is valid.
  25. BaldiMac macrumors 604


    Jan 24, 2008
    No, I'm suggesting a solution to your problem. If you don't want to import files into iTunes when you play them, associate the filetypes with Quicktime. What are the negatives to this?

    There you go contradicting yourself one sentence after you make a statement. You have third-party options. Apple isn't forcing you to do anything. If you choose iTunes to manage your music, it offers you two options to manage your music - automatically or manually. If you don't like those options, there are alternatives.

    Sounds like a pretty reasonable design decision to me. Any system designed to have the only copy of a music file on a portable music player is asking for trouble.

    You don't need to move the music to the Mac to sync with your iPod. It can stay on the NAS. All you have to do is make sure iTunes knows where it is.

    Or you could use an external drive.

    Again, no, you don't have to store them on your MacBook's SSD. You can store them on an external drive.

    No contortion necessary. Set up playlists for each iPod. Sync.

    See my comment above. Having the only copy of the file on a portable device is bad design asking for lost data.

    If that argument worked, Apple wouldn't be Apple.

    Perhaps, perhaps not.

    Let's pause and review, for a moment, what iTunes has become.

    Why would having several programs to do what iTunes does be more efficient than doing it with one program?

    I did read it in context. The Apple product in question was the iPod, not iTunes, since he was responding to my comment about not having to use iTunes to manage an iPod. I haven't spread any FUD about Apple products. I just recommended alternatives.

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