Yes, it’s time to talk about iTunes. I went on a little bit of a Twitter rant earlier in the week about the problems with iTunes. This topic has been covered very ably by 9to5mac, The Verge, and many other sites. Now I’m going to add my two cents to the mix.
Above is an image of just one of the many bugs I have encountered with iTunes recently. This bug doesn’t crash iTunes or make it unusable, but it makes Artist view basically unusable and I would like to be able to use that view again. As I tweeted, this problem was around before 12.4 was released.
But the problems with 12.4 are less about bugs than they are design. 12.4 took what was already a lackluster user interface and made it even worse. The sidebar is now permanently displayed again, which is awesome for the Music section of the app. But for Videos, Podcasts, AudioBooks, and literally every other section of iTunes, it is pointless.
Actually, it is worse than pointless. Because you cannot turn it off and still use all features of the App (you do need it in the Music section), it is actually a nuisence. All it does is waste landscape real estate, and make it harder to keep the app window small and manageable. Above are photos of the nearly empty sidebar for my TV show and Podcast sections of iTunes.
I feel Apple has two options on how to fix this mess. Option 1 is to go along with what everyone else wants and to split iTunes into separate apps like on iOS. Make Apple Music its own app. Make a Videos app, a Podcasts app, and integrate AudioBooks with iBooks like on iOS. For syncing with iOS, Apple already has the trademark for iSync from when other phones synced with Mac OS X. Bring that name back with a new purpose.
Option 2 is the less good option-I feel Option 1 needs to happen sooner or later. Option 2 is to go back to iTunes 12.3’s UI. Make the sidebar optional again. I actually didn’t hate iTunes 12.3 from a UI perspective. It had bugs and issues with performance but the UI was workable for me.
I know none of this is news to people who follow Apple. iTunes has gotten slammed by every tech critic around. And Apple needs to fix it. Fast.