iTunes: worth another look?

I agree to some extent with Jack Schofield (Apple’s Safari gives Windows users another problem, Guardian Technology Blog, 30th May 2008) when he states that “Apple’s ability to program Windows is a bit of a joke.” There are at least three things wrong with iTunes (especially on Windows Vista):

  1. the arrogance of the assumption that when you import your media library you want it to translate all your Windows Media Player files into AAC files! This both doubles your storage requirements at a stroke and fills your alternative media player’s libraries with duplicates.
  2. the complete failure over several release cycles to cope with Vista’s User Access Control and create a usable version that doesn’t break permissions on every update.
  3. the adoption of the updater as a trojan horse to install the Safari (web browser) for Windows.

The latter was the straw that broke the camel’s back and my reason for uninstalling iTunes a couple of months ago.

However, that said, there is one feature that I have not been able to find in other media software; that is the slick way that podcasts are linked into iTunes and more especially apple’s iPod players. Why can’t other media players do what iTunes does and synchronize the new podcasts to my MP3 player and delete the ones that I’ve listened to on the next update? That feature (which presumably only works on iPods) and the announcement (reported by your correspondent elsewhere) of the availabilty of some selected Open University courses on iTunes U make me think that it may be worth giving iTunes another chance. Perhaps it would be worth getting an iPod too; especially now they do movies (for rental and download)! Plus the iPod touch looks so sexy. Just like an iPhone but without all that redundant phone stuff!

Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University