Going Places

Despite not being an app anymore, iTunes is still haunting macOS and iOS to this day. macOS users joke about how Windows has so much legacy parts still left inside of it, yet that’s exactly what iTunes is, despite not having an actual app for it. But no one complains about Paint and Notepad, whereas everyone complains about iTunes. So… what happened there?

As the name suggests, iTunes lets you play your tunes. Whether it’s music from the iTunes Store, or songs that you’ve burned yourself, it works surprisingly well. That’s especially true when paired with iTunes, where it automatically sync when you plug it into your computer. Building syncing right into the iTunes app is perfect, since you’re syncing the songs in iTunes. It just works.

With the introduction of podcasts and movie/TV shows on the iPod, they need a good way to sync it. Why not put it in iTunes, the software used to sync music to the iPod? And that’s when things get wrong quick. The app name no longer make sense, as it’s not just tunes that you’re playing and syncing. And the foundation for syncing newer devices are built here, and those newer devices do so much more than just play audio and video. But the ever growing feature set of the iPod made it clear that they should have made it integrate with their respective apps, like putting movies and TV shows in QuickTimes.

When the iPhone was released, it seems to make sense that you would sync with iTunes, since you already sync your iPod with iTunes. But the iPod is a media device first and foremost, where it still kinda make sense that it would sync in iTunes. It does not for the iPhone. It’s not just a media consumption device, but also a productivity device. This gives Apple a chance to correct it, to split the functions so that iTunes wouldn’t be this bloated mess that we have now. Instead, everything still syncs via iTunes. It makes no sense.

With the introduction of iCloud, the computer is demoted to just a device, but not if you ask iTunes. The phone does more than ever without ever being synced, but the left over from the iTunes days is, again, still here. Music, TV and Podcast reeks of code from the first iPhone, where there’s just an iPod app for everything. We still don’t have metadata editing and local import, and the app is still extremely slow, whether it’s synced music, downloaded music or streamed music.

Refreshing an app while making sure it doesn’t lose features is hard, yes. So stop doing it. iTunes is stuck in the past, so let it be. Like how Microsoft keeps Explorer and Dialer the way it is, it’s fine if you leave iTunes be, and move on with a completely new Music app that just plays music, like the first version of iTunes, all over again.

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