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Jason Snell on iTunes

iTunes: Time to right the syncing ship | Macworld:

The iTunes we’ve all come to know has had a good run, but it’s reached the point where it is a crazy agglomeration of features and functionality. If someone were to design it today, it wouldn’t remotely resemble its current state. And as a portal to iOS devices and the iTunes Store, iTunes is too crucial to Apple’s business to ignore or run on auto-pilot.


I think just about everyone who uses iTunes, which is everyone, agrees with the sentiment here. iTunes is definitely over bloated, and it’s trying to do way too many things at once.

But I think it was John Gruber who pointed out a while ago that iTunes is one of very few cross-platorm apps for Apple. The reason they packed so much into that one app is that they don’t want to be in the business of building and maintaining several Windows apps. Sooner or later, something is going to have to give, but that’s how we got here, anyway.

What I do is limit my need for iTunes as much as possible. Podcasts? I use Downcast for that. Movies and TV Shows? All done with iCloud on my Apple TV and iPad at this point. Photostream and Dropbox takes care of most of my photo needs.

So the only thing I really sync with iTunes anymore is music. I could use iTunes Match for that, of course, but that’s still so buggy I can’t rely on it. I expect that will get better over time.

I think Apple’s strategy isn’t to break up iTunes into several new apps, but rather to eliminate the need for iTunes almost entirely. Turn it back into a simple music store/music player for the Mac, and replace everything else with iCloud.

We’re just not quite there yet.