Essays on Technology and Culture

Cheap Shots on an Easy Target

Miles Raymer at Esquire doesn’t like iTunes.

Once a simple MP3 player, it’s become the center of the Mac ecosphere, the location where our computers interface with the sprawling multimedia iTunes Store, the launch pad for Apple’s increasingly important iTV gambit, and the place where we, our media libraries, and our computers, iPhones, iPads, and iPods all link up. And in the process it has become a terrible MP3 player.

iTunes has issues, yes, but the ones singled out in Raymer’s short piece, save one, are cheap shots and not Apple’s fault. If your “legally acquired music” doesn’t have proper metadata, it’s not Apple’s fault, and iTunes doesn’t need to help you fix it. I have a massive media library in iTunes, with 183 GB of music, and another 22 GB of video, plus apps. I haven’t had any slowdown issues with iTunes 11, even on my old white MacBook with 4GB of RAM. And Visualizers? Who cares.

While there’s plenty of bugs to squash, including the annoying Album Artist bug that can lead to two instances of an album in your library with different track listings, I’ve found each version of iTunes to be a dramatic improvement over its predecessor. Including iTunes 11 after I changed the search back to the previous functionality. iTunes for Mac is easily one of the best music players I’ve used, and I go back to the WinAmp days myself. (Rest in peace.)

If you want valid criticisms of iTunes, you can’t do better than John Siracusa on Hypercritical episode 98 and episode 99. John at least knows what he’s talking about, and won’t make a mistake of calling Apple’s TV product “iTV.”