PC Magazine review: iTunes 7 ‘Apple’s best effort yet’ (4 stars out of 5)

“Like most of the geek world, I spent September 12 watching with giddy delight as Apple honcho Steve Jobs unveiled new iPods, new media, and a new version of iTunes to corral them both,” Rick Broida writes for PC Magazine. “iTunes itself received a major overhaul, adding new features and making much-needed improvements to iPod connectivity. For the most part, all these additions and changes are for the better, but iTunes and its embedded store haven’t reached perfection yet.

Broida writes, “Although all eyes were on the introduction of downloadable movies, I was holding out hope for a music-subscription option like the ones offered by Napster, Rhapsody, and other Windows Media-based services. Alas, music remains an à la carte, 99-cents-per-track proposition—a major disappointment. Hey, Apple: I have $15 per month set aside just for you. Come take it!”

“It took about 30 minutes each to download the 1.3GB, 640-by-480-pixel movies. That resolution is a bit below what you get from a DVD (720-by-480), but the films looked good, if a bit soft, when played full-screen on my 19-inch monitor. They also looked quite dazzling on my 5G (fifth-generation) iPod, though the 16:9 aspect ratio of The Incredibles left me squinting,” Broida writes. “Games aren’t new to the iPod—Apple usually squirrels a few away in the Extras menu—but the newcomers are definitely a step up. Priced fairly at $4.99 apiece and compatible with any 5G iPod, they’re full-color, full-featured replicas of their Web or arcade counterparts. I tried the spin-and-shoot puzzler Zuma, a natural match for the iPod’s scroll wheel, and found it just as entertaining as the original—though the iPod’s small screen made for decidedly squinty game play. Mini Golf, Pac-Man, Mah Jong, and Texas Hold’ Em are among the nine currently available titles. “

“iTunes 7 offers an abundance of worthwhile tweaks and some long-overdue features that are sure to please faithful users. I’m not sure that people will flock to movie downloads the way they did to TV shows, as DVDs still offer better overall value and convenience. And I can’t see fit to bestow our Editors’ Choice award until Apple offers a music-subscription option. In the meantime, iTunes 7 is Apple’s best effort yet, and it shows the company has every intention of locking up the digital music—sorry, digital media—market once and for all.”

Full review here.

Related articles:
The Telegraph’s Derbyshire finds uses for Steve Jobs’ products, calls iTunes ‘intelligent design’ – September 15, 2006
Cringely: How Apple plans to own your living room – September 15, 2006
LA Times: With iTV+iTunes Movies, Steve Jobs stumbles over the last 100 feet – September 14, 2006
BusinessWeek: If anyone can make bridge the great divide, Apple can with ‘iTV’ – September 14, 2006
The Beeb asks: Would you buy the Apple iTV? – September 14, 2006
Three markets that are different today after Apple’s ‘It’s Showtime’ event – September 13, 2006
Cramer: Apple’s ‘iTV’ all about ease-of-use; Apple shares are going higher – September 13, 2006
Apple + Living Room = Logical Marriage + Boon for Stockholders – September 13, 2006
The Register: Apple event more like ‘No Show’ than ‘Showtime’ – September 13, 2006
The Telegraph: Steve Jobs’ genius making people desire gadgets for which they have absolutely no use – September 13, 2006
The Guardian: Steve Jobs needs ‘a charisma download, Apple risks being left behind’ – September 13, 2006
Mark Cuban: Things that are special about Apple’s announcements – September 13, 2006
Apple’s ‘iTV’ strategy – September 13, 2006
How will Apple’s ‘iTV’ work? – September 13, 2006
The Observer’s iPod FUD: Apple iPod is ‘wilting away before our eyes’ – September 10, 2006
Apple eyes living room market with device codenamed ‘iTV’ – September 12, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV model ‘the gold standard for the digital home of the future’ – September 12, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV ‘will be hard for other players to match’ – September 12, 2006
Apple gives sneak peek of ‘iTV’ set-top box to debut Q1 2007 (with images) – September 12, 2006
Apple’s QuickTime stream of Steve Jobs special event now live – September 12, 2006
NFL and Apple team up to offer 2006 NFL game highlights via iTunes Store – September 12, 2006
Apple debuts iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006

Digital media downloads: what do we really own and do subscriptions make sense? – September 01, 2006
EMI Music Chairman: Music subscription services like Napster and Rhapsody haven’t beeen huge – January 23, 2006
Study shows Apple iTunes Music Store pay-per-download model preferred over subscription service – April 11, 2005


  1. They’re holding back editors choice because of the lack of subscription option? Jeez, the people have spoken, they don’t want to subscribe to get their music, they want to own their music.

  2. I used to have a very large library of music. I found that when I switched to iTunes, my music selection became very important, and I enjoy the smaller library much, much more.

    The same goes for DVDs that I purchase, I pick them very carefully and enjoy watching them time and again.

    There are too many people fixed on having the “biggest, baddest” library. It should be about the quality of the experience, rather than the quantity.

    My 2¢.

  3. “Hey, Apple: I have $15 per month set aside just for you. Come take it!”

    If Apple won’t take it, I will! How about auto deposit for convenience?

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  4. Hmmmmm, Just my thoughts on this, but:

    Subscription has got to be a real bear when it comes to software that dies on a regular basis. I mean, do you keep checking back in to be sure the money has been paid (what happens if you download music and never reconnect back to the internet and reset your computer clock???? Do you still get to keep the music???? LOL

    How about software that makes the music internally distruct every 30 days? What happens when someone breaks the code and now all your music is semi free???

    Just my thought, but its a WHOLE LOT of problems with very little payback. Maybe thats why Apple does not want to mess with it. ???


  5. One thing I love about iTunes 7 is gapless playback. I’ve got quite a few albums where the tracks run together and it’s nice to hear them without a stutter again.

    There’s parts of the new UI that I like, but other parts I don’t. I don’t like the new position and icon for the “browse” button. Also the lack of a visualiser button is annoying – indeed I thought that the browse button was the visualiser until I clicked on it…

    It also does indeed seem to be buggy as macbones points out. My console.log file contains loads of output from iTunes, some of which indicate memory leaks, and others bad calls to undocumented APIs.

    This version still needs some work. Roll on 7.0.1 I say.

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