John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Thank God: iTunes Set for Major Overhaul

Apple’s iTunes media software is long overdue for an overhaul, and before the end of the year it will get one.

Apple is reportedly working on what’s being billed as the biggest update to iTunes since it debuted more than a decade ago. Sources familiar with Apple’s plans tell Bloomberg that the iTunes 11 overhaul will bring to the software tighter integration with the company’s iCloud storage service, improved search and discovery — presumably via Chomp, the app search engine it acquired earlier this year — and a new sharing feature that will allow users to send songs to friends.

Beyond that, details are slim. But, hopefully, Apple has put its considerable software and UI design acumen to work on streamlining iTunes or, better yet, rethinking it entirely. Because that’s really what it needs. Remember, when iTunes launched back in 2001, it was a music jukebox — nothing more. In the ensuing years it became a digital storefront for music. And video. And apps. And books. It became a device-syncing system and an app-management tool. And each feature was patchworked on with a bucket of preferences and dialogs that ultimately overburdened it with unnecessary complexity. So, while iTunes certainly works, it no longer “just works” — in other words, it no longer fulfills Apple’s dictum of intuitive simplicity.

And it really needs to. As Macworld’s Jason Snell observed earlier this year, “as a portal to iOS devices and the iTunes Store, iTunes is too crucial to Apple’s business to ignore or run on auto-pilot.

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