Mountain Lion is going to kill iTunes (and that’s a good thing)

“Apple, Thursday last week, surprised nearly everyone and unveiled Mountain Lion, the next major release of OS X due out at the end of this summer. Of Mountain Lion, Apple says, “’Inspired by iPad. Re-imagined for Mac.’ With this motto, Apple is taking a new approach to the entire definition of what an ‘app’ is on the desktop,” Matthew Janssen blogs for My Internet. “Gone are the days when one app serves many different functions; with Mountain Lion, Apple has re-evaluated many of the base OS X apps and stripped them down to their core functionality.”

Along with this new approach to apps you may have noticed a pattern with the names of them as well. Apple keeps names simple, descriptive, and overall effective: Mail, Messages, Calendar, Contacts (previously Address Book), Reminders, Notes, and so on,” Janssen writes. “These two ideas, Apple’s new approach to apps on the Mac and Apple’s naming convention along with the iCloud ecosystem give a great credence to the idea that Apple is finally going to tackle and get a handle on iTunes.”

Janssen writes, “With the single-function approach, Apple can create a much more enjoyable media experience on the Mac by splitting iTunes into 5 apps: Music, Videos, Books, iTunes U, and iTunes Store just like on iOS.”

Read more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Just how much sense do the names “iTunes U” and “iTunes Store” make, either? Beyond the branding, not much. “Tunes” are a mere subset of what you can get at the iTunes Store and “tunes” have precious little if anything to do with the vast majority of the content found on iTunes U. Just as iTunes should have been renamed “iMedia” or something that effect years ago, so should the store and the educational content component get names the reflect what they really offer.

MacDailyNews Note: Today is Washington’s Birthday in the U.S.A., a federal holiday and, as such, the U.S. markets are closed for the day. We will resume our normal posting schedule tomorrow.

Washington’s Farewell Address, September 19, 1796


    1. Maybe it would. If you think of a larger and more complex app as a bundle of smaller apps, then yes – the larger app is simply an artificial construct; whether that construct serves a functional purpose is debatable.

      An example would be Microsoft Outlook vs, iCal, and Address book. Is the functionality worse or better because those functions are separate?

      I’d suggest there’s a certain elegance in having several purpose-built apps that each do one thing really well.

      1. Having multiple applications is irrelevant, especially with how OS X handles different applications/windows.

        What is important is core services and application integration.
        If Mail, Calendar, Address Book, Photos, Music, Movies, act. all have access to the same pool of data, then it doesn’t matter.

        Its amazing how many non computer people can use Apple products because they organize data how people organize it in their minds and the “real world”.

        1. None of which addresses the very real problem of iTunes on Windows. That’s going to put a severe crimp in any attempts by Apple to break iTunes into multiple separate apps.

        2. Well, when I go to I am able to manage my address book and calendar exactly like I am able to on my OS X machines.

          No reason not to think that Apple will release iCloud based solutions for the remainder of the applications.

        3. Um, what? We’re talking about iTunes here. Or are you seriously trying to imply that we’re suddenly going to have *all* our iTunes media in iCloud soon? 3 words: not gonna happen.

        4. The entire point of the article is that Apple is moving these non media related activities out of iTunes into separate applications.

          iTunes isn’t going anywhere as a media store.

        1. Seems to me that “years ago” was the Thatcher era.

          Since we’ve already gone off topic, you can either have small government and fewer regulations, or you can have alrger government that takes on the job of prying into women’s vaginas or prying into who loves whom. You can’t have it both ways. Which way do you want to go?

      1. The official national holiday is Washington’s Birthday, whatever you may hear elsewhere:

        “This holiday is designated as “Washington’s Birthday” in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees.”

  1. iTunes is too well known to rename it now. Apple could easily strip out videos (Media or iMedia). Apple already has iBooks and iBookStore. Why would Apple need a different name for the store, like iTunes Store? You would just purchase from within the App, and not need a different name.

    Somebody’s been up too late at night thinking about unimportant things.

    1. Agreed. WAY too much “let’s reorganized things” when sleep would better serve least.
      I flip between music, vids, movie rentals all the time and like having one source to go to, within one app. Easy to find, fast to pick which one, as opposed to opening five apps. This idea just baffles me. The efficiency experts are not hounds of music, movies, vids, tv shows, even i Tunes U, but just trying to be ‘efficient’, sadly.

    2. Is it simpler to buy a song/TV show/movie/book in a “store” app, then watch them in another? But, wait, it’s even better than that. The store CAN play the media for a preview. However, once you buy it, you have to open a different app. Then I get to have separate libraries that I can separately sync to my iPhone and iPad. Syncing to those devices, will, of course, have a separate app. For simplicities sake, naturally.

      Should iTunes be “snappier”? Yes. Simplifying by fragmenting? No thanks. Same headaches, different version, as far as I am concerned.

      This sounds like a reaction to the idea that iTunes is bloatware, but not really a solution.

    3. “iTunes should have been renamed “iMedia” or something that effect years ago”

      I think MDN just came up with their next MacDailyNews Poll.

      . . . of corse Apple would first need to acquire the world wide rights to the name “iMedia”

  2. I’ve often felt that “iTunes” is a misnomer- an anachronism from days of old when it really was only about the music. The “problem” is that “iMedia” is that it’s too many syllables. Maybe iServe (since it serves you up your media)? Whatever. I’m sure they’ll come up with something… 🙂

    1. And the reasons are simple, Apple still supports iTunes on Windows and PowerPC, Panther, Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion. Splitting up iTunes would be a Netflix/Qwikster moment.

  3. Just as long as there’s still an app that will let me sync my iPhone to my computer. Call me a holdout, but I’m not ready to be forced to do all my syncing to the cloud, especially when I want to sync where I don’t have wi-fi access (like, say, my office).

  4. MDN TAKE: “Just as iTunes should have been renamed “iMedia” or something that effect years ago,”


    Much like MacDailyNews should have been renamed “AppleDailyNews” or something to that effect years ago.. Actual “Mac” news articles have been a minority on this site for years.. iOS, iPad, iPhone, and Apple’s legal battles occupy most of the headlines these days.

  5. My hat off to MDN, the only source of late (including my stint at court last week for jury duty) who recognizes this holiday correctly. If we want to celebrate the presidents, then a separate holiday should be born. I abhor downplaying the significance of our first president. He was elected first for a reason. Today should wholly belong to the man who pretty much gave birth to this country through his sheer will and determination to fight and win the day, however the odds.
    Happy birthday, General Washington.

    1. Duh:

      MacDailyNews Note: Today is Washington’s Birthday in the U.S.A., a federal holiday and, as such, the U.S. markets are closed for the day. We will resume our normal posting schedule tomorrow.

      Washington’s Farewell Address, September 19, 1796

      Hey MDN, where’s the video?.

  6. I agree that iTunes needs to be broken up. I’ve thought that for years. This behemoth has more features than a Ronco gadget. It does music, videos, podcasts, books, retail sales, and wait! There’s more: it syncs iPads, iPhones, and iPad gadgets. We buy and update Mac software from the Mac App Store, but we buy TV shows from the music player.

    If only for development and maintenance reasons, iTunes needs to be broken up. What amazes me is that Apple is taking so long to do it.

  7. Presidents Day does sound a lot like “Great Leader Day,” but it really only commemorates two presidents: Washington and Lincoln.

    When Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday became a holiday, Congress combined Washington’s Birthday and Lincoln’s Birthday and called it Presidents’ Day. The result was the same number of federal holidays. They added Martin Luther King Jr. without incurring any additional cost.

    1. In doing so, the only holiday in America that bears the name of a historical figure is Martin Luther Kibg’s birthday. This effectively minimizes the great contributions of arguably two of the greatest American historical personages: Washington and Lincoln. These men deserve to each have a day in their honor, regardless of the cost. To lump them together into “Presidents’ Day”, which could conceivably be used to give equal honor to the likes of Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Pierce.


      1. Yeah, god forbid anyone honor a great humanitarian like Carter, but that’s beside the point. Anyone and everyone knows (in the USA) that President’s Day is to honor and celebrate the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington. We’re taught this in the 1st grade. Most calendars still show the birthdays separately; Lincoln on the 12th and Washington on the 22nd.

  8. Interesting article if a little bit confusing. I buy a lot of content from iTunes and the only real complaint I have is that you have to download everything which is a real pain. It’s ok for music but when you are downloading fims or especially tv shows with 10 hours worth of content, it takes forever to download. Why not have all purchases/content stored automatically in iCloud. I can then chose whether to download it or stream it instead. I would probably download the music and stream the video content. This is going to become a major issue if Apple go to all SSD on the new MBA/MBP rumored for this year becuase at most we’ll get a 256GB hard drive. My iTunes library is already more than double that and growing by the day.

  9. For some people, bashing iTunes seems to be one of their favorite pasttimes. I’ve been using iTunes daily for many years and think it’s great. No problems ever. I don’t get it.

    1. That’s because you are using 5% of it. I guess you have very few apps which is kind of sad because you barely use your device capabilities. If you have a lot of app iTunes will stop working and prove to be the worst experience a user can have. But don’t worry this will never happen to you and you can continue living in a ignorant bliss.

      1. You are a bonafide idiot, dude. You have absolutely no idea how I use iTunes. All you’re interested in is spouting ignorant garbage. How to people like you get a license to breathe???!!!

  10. iTunes is the worst software written ever. It’s barely functioning, overbloaded slow and chaotic. Apple never managed to make it usable especially on the app side. Kiling it is the best that can happen to this monstrosity. I hope starting from scratch Apple could finally get something working … although I don’t really believe Apple ever being able to write a working productive software on this scale. Simply because if they could have they would have.

    1. iTunes is the worst software written ever

      HAHAHAHA! Credibility decimated.

      iTunes works well. However, it is more like an operating system than an application. As such, it could use some major simplification as well as a pertinent renaming.

      iTunes started out as a great application for playing tunes called SoundJam MP, published by Casady & Greene. It is a credit to its original developers that it has stood up to vast expansion over the last 11 years.

  11. Breaking apart iTunes functionality means they’d have to release separate programs not just for Mac, but for Windows too. Do they really want to maintain codebases for up to 5 iTunes-like applications x 2 platforms?

  12. “I agree that iTunes needs to be broken up. I’ve thought that for years. This behemoth has more features than a Ronco gadget”

    I agree. You can’t avoid having Windows friends, and one of the barriers to getting them to come over is their experience with iTunes on their Windows machines.

    It is an app that, unless you use it every day, will seem unbelievably confusing and chopped up.

    Try to be all things to all people, or be an app that tries to do all things, you get something that resembles Microsoft Word with its hundreds of vague icons.

    I only go to ITunes when I have to, which is every day, but that does not mean I like it. And have not for 10 years. Does not resemble the Mac way. Entertaining for ADHD kids who live and die for the adrenalin supplied by its complexity but………

  13. I think paring down iTunes into multiple single-function apps, and relying on iCloud makes a lot of sense… for most people. Let’s face it, they are moving towards flash storage for all their Macs sooner rather than later, and is means less storage, at least for now, a problem which is greatly alleviated by iCloud.

    However, since my music collection hovers north of 25K tracks and isn’t shrinking, I CAN’T use iTunes Match for my music. And also, what about apps/music that disappear from the App Store/iTunes Store? Motion-X Poker was one of the first iPhone apps I bought, and it still works great, but if I lose my copy or it gets corrupted, I’m screwed, because it’s no longer sold in the App Store. As I discovered when I got my iPhone 4S, this is true for a LOT of apps. And in cleaning up my music to try and get under that 25K limit for iTunes Match, it’s true for far too much music.

  14. I have over 13,000 songs and over 1000 movies in iTunes and have no problems with it. The movie files (1.4 TBs) are on a separate drive from the music (75 GBs). All have artwork. Many of the songs have lyrics. All within the database. iTunes syncs well with my iPhone and iPad. It streams well over AirPlay and to AppleTV. It is doing everything I ask of it very well.

    What is it about it that it isn’t doing for you? Just calling it ‘bloatware’ is not explanatory.

    1. >26,000 songs (200 Gb), 271 movies (230 Gb), 263 TV seasons (1.4 Tb), >30,000 total episodes (725 Gb), 373 books/audiobooks (80 Gb), 388 apps (12 Gb), all on an external RAID connected with Firewire 800 — iTunes works like bloatware to me. If i make any change to the metadata on any file, I get the spinning beach ball for upwards of ten seconds. iTunes is full of old code, and comprised of a full browser, full Quicktime movie player, full music decoder/player, and full relational database. You don’t think that could use a trim?

  15. SO much text on that blogg post and so few linebreaks. Makes me tired just to look at it so I havent read it yet but the whole “idea” seems completely bonkers. The only way Apple might change iTunes in 10.8 would be to change its name but even that is a stupid idea since iTunes now is so well known.

    Breaking it up in one app per media is more something that Microsloth would do

  16. IMHO the reason why iTunes has remained a monster application encompassing many different functionalities is its role as a Trojan in the Windows context, offering in addition the installation of Bomjour, Quicktime and Safari, thereby exposing Windows users to part of the Mac experience.

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