With Apple’s products, software or hardware, change is the game. The company constantly pushes forward, pruning the old, grafting the new. I am more intrigued by critical analysis of what works and doesn’t, what’s improved and what isn’t, than ever before. For example, take the phrase, “iTunes locks in Apple customers.” True? Or, not? Good, or bad?
Windows apologist and known Microsoft shill Paul Thurrott on iTunes 9:
Over the years, iTunes has evolved from a simple, single-purpose media player into a bloated, slow, mess of an application that manages an amazing array of content types and devices.
True; a fact pointed out by Apple followers and iTunes users for years. Growing functionality is the name of the game with iTunes. Wholesale changes in the user interface are problematic. Apple prunes and grafts.
Most of this functionality is designed to keep its users from dabbling in competing solutions of any kind, and Apple’s software, devices, and online services are very much designed to keep you locked in to the Apple family of products at all times. The key to this lock-in strategy, the nexus, is iTunes.
Also true, though I fail to see any difference between Apple’s iTunes strategy and that employed by, say, Microsoft with Exchange, Outlook, Windows Media Player, Office, et al. That’s how it works.
Thanks to this vast lock-in, I, like many others, have to put up with iTunes every day. But it’s not all bad news. In iTunes 9, Apple has tacked on a number of new features to its media player. And some of them are actually pretty decent.
I use iTunes everyday, but why does Paul have to put up with iTunes? Doesn’t Microsoft have a better product that their Windows shills can use instead? Apparently not.
Rather than create a new version of iTunes from scratch—a move that is woefully overdue—Apple instead went the “lipstick on a pig” route with iTunes 9.
Paul isn’t savvy enough to know the enormous difficulty in such an undertaking (a new version of iTunes from scratch); especially for a software utility that has hundreds of millions of users—most of them on Windows PCs.
There are numerous places in the UI that scream out “Zune,” as well, and it’s pretty clear Apple is copying quite liberally from Microsoft’s design aesthetic, especially in its online store.
Maybe so. But it’s a non-issue since there are so few Zune users in a position to know, and even fewer to articulate a critical comparison. The vast majority of Windows users use iTunes, and have already voted against the Zune. This is one of those areas, though, that scream “comparison, please.” The metaphor for such utilities, whether from Microsoft or Apple, is buttons and text and graphics. Copying? I don’t think so, and neither does anyone else except Paul Thurrott, seemingly getting paid by Microsoft to criticize non-Microsoft products.
Criticizing is fine, so long as there is some inherent analysis, some thoughtful perspective, rather than just sniping, poking, and pissing.
Come on, Apple, stop treating Windows users like jerks and make a real Windows application for crying out loud. We are your biggest customer group by far, after all.
The problem with that perspective is the term “we.” Is iTunes 9 on Windows a real application? What media management software is more well known and used for more transactions than iTunes?
While Apple’s whitewashing of the iTunes application was ill-conceived and hard to look at, the company did a much better job with the iTunes Store redesign. (Which makes sense, since it’s such an obvious rip-off of the Zune software.)
Comparison, please. It’s important to understand that Apple creates the iTunes experience, Mac or Windows, for Apple’s customers, therefore designs the user interface in such a way that there is not a stark contrast when going from one software application to one of Apple’s devices.
What I really want is a thorough review of what’s good and what’s not, what’s improved, what isn’t, what works well, and what needs improvement. Paul Thurrott is not a designer or a technologist. Where’s the critical analysis? As a journalist, he’s mostly self-serving and snarky.
Snarky? Yes, sharply critical, cutting, snide, cranky, irritable. A case in point:
You either need iTunes or you don’t, and if you do, you simply have no choice: You are going to upgrade to this latest version (and, within a week, if history is any guide, to a never-ending series of bug-fix upgrades over time).
See? The implication is that Apple devotes so much time to a never-ending series of bug-fixes and upgrades. So? That’s the nature of software. How is Microsoft different? Other than Zune users are few and far between. Wait. There’s more.
If you don’t have an iPod, iPhone, or Apple TV, then you can safely skip iTunes 9 as before. (And might I point you in the direction of the Zune PC software, which is not only free but also vastly superior to iTunes and very nice to use even if you don’t have a Zune device?)
Vastly superior? That’s an opportunity for compare and contrast. Where is it? What would you expect from a journalist who appears to be paid by Microsoft? Does anyone expect iPod users, and there’s a couple hundred million of them, to ditch iTunes, which works, for Zune PC software? Of course, not. Zune is history already. Unfortunately, Paul Thurrott is not. When he could do a comparison of one popular product with one that is not, he just snipes and insults users (and readers) instead.
Paul Thurrott is the Kanye West of technology pundits.
The rest of it is about lock-in, mostly, but of course, Apple’s most fanatical fans relish corporate micromanagement of their lives, and they’ll embrace iTunes 9 blindly like the lemmings they are.
See? That’s snarky. Not analytical. It’s designed to inflame (which results in more visits to his web site), not analyze. iTunes has its faults, as does Apple. The proof of the company’s success and well being in the market place is self evident. Customers love Apple’s products. Some on Microsoft’s payroll do not.