Thurrott reviews Apple’s iTunes 7: ‘the best software-based media jukebox I’ve ever used’

“Say what you will about Apple Computer, but there is an undeniable sense of quality to the products they create, whether it’s a sleek Macintosh computer, ultra-thin iPod portable media player, or elegant software like iMovie HD and Keynote. Apple’s products are almost always Spartan in their simplicity, even to the point of alienating some people by leaving out functionality that would crowd and overpower similar PC-based solutions,” Paul Thurrott writes for Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows.

Thurrott writes, “The company’s latest software, iTunes 7, is no different. It is both professional looking and functional, beautiful and rewarding. It is, dare I say so, the best software-based media jukebox I’ve ever used. And if you’re Microsoft, struggling to release Windows Media Player 11 (WMP11), iTunes 7 is a shot across the bow, a reminder that the hardware products and services that Apple wraps around iTunes are the best selling solutions in the market. Clearly, Apple intends to keep it that way.”

Thurrott writes, “iTunes 7 is a major upgrade to my favorite digital jukebox, and with this release, iTunes jumps firmly into Windows Media Player territory: No longer is iTunes a simple digital music player, as it was for the first several major versions. No, iTunes is now an all-in-one digital media management system and a front-end for synchronizing digital music, photos, videos, TV shows, and full-length movies, and podcasts and audio books, with an iPod. It is, quite suddenly, the real digital hub in many millions of people’s lives. And oh my, you’re going to really like this version.”

“I should note at this point that the Windows version of iTunes 7 has been plagued by a number of high profile bugs. Its new visual browsing features seem to tax the PC’s processor more than do previous versions. It takes up more RAM. It crashes occasionally. Given Apple’s behavior in the past, I think we can make a few assumptions here. First, the initial iTunes 7 release is really just a public beta. It will be updated several times in the days ahead. And all those problems people are reporting will begin to disappear,” Thurrott writes. “…I have little doubt, too, that the OS X version of iTunes is vastly superior to the version Windows users get. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.”

Thurrott covers various points in sections titled:
• General UI changes
• Categorized Source pane
• Automatic album art retrievable
• New view options
• Integrated iPod management
• Integrated download manager
• Gapless playback support
• iTunes Backup
• iTunes Store changes

“Apple’s iTunes 7 is the best version of iTunes yet and is, without question, the finest media player on any platform, even when you factor in the problems that are currently dogging the Windows version. That said, I can’t give iTunes a 5-star rating until Apple fixes these problems, because Windows users in particular will be screaming bloody murder–and rightfully so–that Apple would run roughshod over their systems in such a fashion. From a pure usability standpoint, however, iTunes 7 is the best there is, and Microsoft could learn a thing or two from the professional and clean user interface that Apple offers. Windows Media Player 11 may have indeed gotten there first with such things as categorized and visual browsing, but iTunes does them right. And of course, iTunes is 100 percent compatible with the finest portable media players on the planet. There are many reasons why I prefer iTunes over competing solutions, and with iTunes 7, the list has only gotten longer,” Thurrott writes.

Full comprehensive review here.

Related articles:
USA Today reviews new Apple iPod nanos, updated iPods, iTunes 7 (each earns 4 stars out of 4) – September 21, 2006
Apple Support docs address some iTunes 7 issues – September 20, 2006
Disney’s remarkable 1st week iTunes movies sales should have studios clambering aboard Apple train – September 20, 2006
Report: Apple iTunes 7 update coming soon – September 19, 2006
Disney sells 125,000 movie downloads via Apple’s iTunes Store in first week – September 19, 2006
PC Magazine review: iTunes 7 ‘Apple’s best effort yet’ (4 stars out of 5) – September 15, 2006
Apple’s iTunes 7 shows some glitches – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV model ‘the gold standard for the digital home of the future’ – September 12, 2006
What’s new in Apple’s iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006
Analyst Gartenberg: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV ‘will be hard for other players to match’ – September 12, 2006
Apple debuts iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006

43 Comments

  1. “Hit the eye icon (when you are in either of the first two views) this allows you to view everything in the playlist in seperate categories ( podcast, video, music etc)

    Is this what you our missing.”

    No, that’s just the genre/artist/album window. You use to be able to get up a single bar that would split, music, podcasts, video etc. As I said, in terms of your library as a whole this has been replaced by the various options in the sidebar area. Can’t find it for playlists.

  2. Hmmmmm????

    “and with this release, iTunes jumps firmly into Windows Media Player territory:”
    WMP is crap and always will be. JMHO! WMP 11 sort of works occasionally, kinda. Hey, I think quicktime 7 beats WMP hands down, say nothing about iTunes 7. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

    N.

  3. I’d like to see these two things added to iTunes:

    1. Allow us to rate albums in addition to songs. I have some albums that I’d give 5 stars to but they don’t necessarily have any single song that stands out.

    2. Allow us to rate artists as well.

  4. I am wondering if he has other applications on his computer that are crashing, too, and if he is blaming the software and not his computer configuration. His implication that the Mac version of iTunes is more stable than the Windows should be a sign that it is NOT the iTunes that is at fault.

    Being that he reviews numerous types of applications and hardware, he may be taxing the limitations of Windows; thousands of unused drivers, bloated .bat files with ancient and unused lines of code, etc.

    I have a friend that is a Windows programmer, and it totally amazes me on how much DAILY irrational behavior (and the time wasted fixing them) he tolerates with his computers. My personal level of tolerance, deviation from “norm” is based on a light bulb being rated as 99.9%. About once every 1000 days (3 yrs) the bulb will fail. I expect all things to be that way. With the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance, my cars (Honda) have been very close to that, and my Macs exceeded that level of reliability. To expect and to perform daily troubleshooting and repairs is insane.

  5. Hi, I’m Paul Westmont.

    My life used to suck because I used a Windows computer. It was especially bad when i browsed the inernet. I constantly got Pop-Unders and got so mad that sometimes I even swore in public.

    But now I actually USE a Mac instead of just reading Mac blogs. When I found out I could block all pop-ups I got really happy.

    Be like me. Be my friend. Get a Mac.

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