iTunes has always been one of Apple’s more quirky applications, seemingly following its own user interface guidelines as opposed to the guidelines that Apple suggest for every other application, and becoming more bloated full of features since its original release before the first iPod.
Ahead of last week’s Apple Keynote, I was quite excited to see iTunes 10 receive a major overhaul, but unfortunately in the end it just ended up gaining a tad more bloat in the form of a brand new social network that, surprise surprise, centres around iTunes. It does have a few nice tweaks though, which help make up for the lack of a diet, so let’s take a look.
Apple have made a few minor changes in the small jump from iTunes 9 to iTunes 10. One of these changes is a new view mode, or an alteration to the list view option when taking a look through your library. Now, if you have an album containing over 5 songs (I like to have full albums in my library, so this is a neat little feature for me), the album artwork is displayed in the album by artist field of the list over on the left hand side. If you use list view to sort your music, you’ll enjoy this little change. List view is still available like it was in iTunes 9 if you don’t like the new view.
Ping: Apple’s Social Music Network
The biggest change that everyone will notice is the addition of ‘Ping’ on your iTunes sidebar. I touched on Ping a little when we told you all about the release of iTunes 10 last week, saying how it was described as Twitter for music lovers. Essentially, that isn’t far from the truth. With your iTunes account, you can set up your profile and choose whether to let people follow you on the service (feel free to follow me on Ping, it would be quite amusing if I got a higher follower count than on Twitter) as well as follow others, including various artists who have chosen to create a profile as well.
Your followers will be able to see what albums you have bought, what music you choose to like, and you can make posts about music as well. All in all, it’s a recipe for success, but there is one problem – it doesn’t have Facebook integration, despite Steve Jobs clearly saying that it would at the keynote. What happened? That’s between Apple and Facebook, but they clearly disagreed on something. Let’s hope they sort out their problems so we can actually start following our friends, shall we? Because without Facebook integration, Ping is as good as dead to most users, at least in my opinion.
So what’s the verdict? Is iTunes 10 a stand up success? No, unfortunately it’s still just the necessary evil for owners of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, although it isn’t exactly facing genuine competition in the marketplace either, so it looks like things are going to stay that way. I really do hope that Apple overhaul this massive application of theirs. For OS X users, the close, minimize and maximise buttons have even been changed, what’s up with that?!
Maybe in a few years, iTunes will be so bloated and inconsistent with other applications for Mac that Apple will have to re-write it (maybe we’ll get 64 bit alongside Mac OS X 10.7?), but I just truly hope that we see change before iTunes 14 decides to go kamikaze and destroy our music libraries. Thoughts? You know where to put them!