Apple should fix iTunes, improve AirPlay, and consider getting back into the speaker game

“We’ve heard the refrain over and over again: music is in Apple’s DNA,” Dan Moren writes for Macworld.

“It’s been uttered regularly by Tim Cook,” Moren writes, “and even if Steve Jobs didn’t put it in exactly those words, it was clear from the direction he steered Apple — introducing products like the iTunes and the iPod — how important music was to both him and the corporation he headed.”

“But even as the company continues to push its Apple Music venture, there are a few places where Apple would be better served by re-examining the way it approaches music,” Moren writes. “From services to software to hardware, Apple’s gotten pretty comfortable about where it stands with music—but not necessarily because it has the best solutions out there.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, and yes, on iTunes and AirPlay, and, certainly, Apple should use the Beats brand to make a line of kickass Bluetooth speakers, but one idea that Moren didn’t mention: Each of these speakers should have Apple’s W1 chip inside!


  1. I miss the old versions of iTunes. Back when it was actually simple and easy to use. It was fast and sleek and “just worked”

    Now, it’s a bloated Microsoft/Android inspired mess.

    I even asked MDN for any suggestions for syncing my music to my iOS devices…

    …they never responded:/

    1. ITunes looks bloated and hides us controls away unnecessarily to simplify things but actually has the opposite effect. Supposedly each area of iTunes is isolated and doesn’t take away CPU/memory unless you are using it. Yay! But in reality, I find the iOS version to be the problem. On my iPad mini 4 it is even more “simplified” to the point of making a osX device necessary to work with your library, song names, and playlist. Weren’t we living in the age of the iPad as main computer now? Trying to create a playlist on the iPad is painfully slow for me. I certainly have been overlooking things that I am just now learning. That shouldn’t be necessary. It really should be easy for anyone. My next ‘learn again’ experience will be genius playlist creation on iOS, because I’ve seemingly forgotten how to, or they’ve changed it. How about genre playlist, am I just obtuse? I still can only add an album one at a time. There is only one way to do that quickly too by rapid tapping on the top Check mark, I think, because there is such a delay with no visual feedback if something is going to take a while. Even on OS X the visual feedback from booting up to something loading during installation has downgraded over time. The movement of a loading bar tells you it has not locked up! Is it back to being my fault that a computer is hard? Why did rating go from behind cover art to under (…). For a while there was hamburger menu and … I was really in hell. Anyway I understand your frustration, and wish Apple had left well enough alone until they were willing to do something groundbreaking, not just break something for the sake of people clamoring for a new visual appearance. Sheets of glass is a neat idea,but I still miss the dark look with shine. The shine should have just become reactive to real world light instead of everything going flat. It’s time for UI to move ahead again, just don’t leave generations behind.

  2. It sure didn’t take long for Cook to abandon the Mac and the Mac faithful that kept the company afloat during it darkest days. That’s for sure.
    The last time iTunes was decent was Snow Leopard. Now it’s just a bloated, klugie mess that sorta works.
    Apple needs to get Jony Ive back on hardware design and as far away from software design as possible. Secondly, I don’t know what kind of restructure Cook put in place, but he seems to have forgotten the QA department. Nowadays, you stand a 50/50 chance of bricking your device when installing updates.
    Cook needs to wake up and listen to his customer base or risk becoming Apples version of Steve Ballmer.

    1. If hardware design were physics, Jony Ive would be Einstein. If software design were opera, he’d would be a lounge singer.

      We don’t need a UI that looks like an extraterrestrial circus poster with radioactive green, invisible ink blue, lipstick red, and searchlight white, with paper-cut fonts, and white-on-white text. Basic rule: design the UI for members of the homo sapiens species who have normal vision.

      1. No Jony is a joke in both areas. There was a time when Jony could bring the vision of Jobs to physical reality. Now he is just lost. Physical design of Apple gear is conservative if not boring. But worse, Apple design is hindering competitive performance and costs. Thermal throttling of processors and removal of desirable features is a direct result of Ive’s incompetence.

        But yes, Ive’s worst disasters have been in software. ITune 12 blows. His first GUI design, ios7, will go down in history as one of the worst thought out moves in iPhone history. He needs to go focus on architecture and leave Apple product design to competent engineers. Though it seems Apple replaced all its senior GUI experts with ex Microsoft employees when Ive and Cook were promoted to kinf and queen of the castle.

    1. They just need to include 2 game controllers in the box and kill the awful remote. Then hopefully developers would release some good local multiplayer games on the Appletv4.1. Step in and steal nintendos customers who haven’t bought the wiiu or are going to by another tablet game system. Take my money.

  3. Apple can only chase one butterfly at a time and it assumes its customers are all in the fourth grade. It also thinks that TV shows and movies are songs.

    iTunes needs a UI overhaul without unearthly colors and white-on-white text.

    iTunes does everything but my laundry, so maybe someone can give me some tips for that. iTunes needs to be broken up into apps. A software engineer is qualified to do this, but I’d suggest: 1) a Media app that knows the difference between videos and music, 2) a Store app that knows the difference between videos and music, 3) a Device app that syncs and backs up iDevices, 4) a Utility app that allows the user to rebuild the shared library and eliminate duplicate files, and 5) the aforementioned laundry app if I missed that feature in iTunes.

    The iTunes store needs to learn that Scope is not just a mouthwash. It’s a search tool. I don’t want to search the entire known universe. If I’m searching for a movie, I am not happy to find a song.

    iTunes lets you put the library on an external disk, but if the disk is not online when you start iTunes, then without notice, it builds a new empty library on the internal disk where there isn’t enough space for the media files. That’s why it’s on an external drive. Why is iTunes too stupid to remember its own configuration? Why do I have to make ~/Music/iTunes unwritable to prevent it from putting the library where I don’t want it?

    I recently contacted customer support about a problem. They recommended I re-download everything. All 2.4 TB of files? A utility feature would have solved the problem. Apple should not assume that I am in the fourth grade, that I have only 100 songs and 12 videos, that I want to listen to music 24/7, or that everything always goes right.

    1. “iTunes lets you put the library on an external disk, but if the disk is not online when you start iTunes, then without notice, IT BUILDS A NEW EMPTY LIBRARY on the internal disk where there isn’t enough space for the media files.”

      It does? And you’ve set your iTunes Media folder location to your external disk in Advanced Preferences pane?

  4. When I turned on iTunes Match, iTunes wiped out 11 years of playlists. It took a lot of Googling, Time Machine restoring, and backing up my playlists to get them back. I figure Apple owes me more than a $25 refund for my time. Google Play Music works better and stores all my music and playlists for free.

    1. You should start making bootable clones of your hard drive with programs like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. It would have only taken minutes to get back to where you were.

      Relying on Time Machine exclusively is a recipe for disaster.

  5. Apple’s iTunes interface is more complicated and hard to understand than Microsoft Office Ribbon.

    But then Apple makes it even worse with a light grey flat wash over everything, poor font choice, lack of obvious controls, persistent service ads (Genius always shows on playlists even when off) … the list is endless. More beach balls on iTunes than any place in California too. Apple is just embarrassing at this point. iTunes 10 was the high point, it seems.

  6. Apple also needs to incorporate Miracast. Airplay is great when you want to play something on one device and have it appear on the TV. But that ties up two devices. So in Youtube, you are playing it on your phone and showing it on TV, which makes no sense. It’s better to pull it up on your phone and then toss it to the Apple TV which should automatically connect and play the video from Youtube rather than from the phone. Same for all the other apps. But Airplay ties up both devices.

  7. Here’s one gripe that is annoying to me but clearly Apple just doesn’t care. I take care to properly tag my music collection. So for example if I buy a Greatest Hits collection, i will update the song metadata to have the actual release date and album of each song. So what happens when you are on the screen and update a song’s metadata? As soon as you exit the edit mode, iTunes suddenly scrolls automatically. Or if you have a filter applied (which is hard to tell because Apple offers no good clear filter indicator), then inconsistently iTunes will sometimes remove filter the track immediately. Other times it won’t and you have to reapply the filter.

    Other gripes: iTunes genres are hopeless, the font is unreadable, the responsiveness is slow, the controls layout sucks, and classical music categorization remains poor. Duplicates filtering is poor and Apple seems unable to discern the difference between a studio and a live track.

    By now you would think Apple would have these fundamental things figured out. It shows that Iovine doesn’t collect anything, he just wants to run a music feed by subscription. All top 40 crap all the time, no deep cuts ever.

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