Already the program handles music and video playback and purchases, podcast downloading, iPod synching, iPhoto synching, Address Book synching and iCal synching. Maybe it would seem like less of a problem if its name didn’t so specifically reference music, but it’s not just a nomenclature problem, it’s a problem with Apple’s overarching approach to synching.
Even as iTunes handles so many synching responsibilities, iSync, which was once the darling of Apple’s sync strategy, continues its parallel existence as a disregarded ghetto for synching one’s mobile phone and… and not much else, except perhaps a handful third-party developers brave enough to build synchronization features into their own applications. It’s a mess. Along with the equally neglected .Mac service, Apple has shown precious little dedication to making iSync a first class experience for this increasingly crucial computing task.
As Apple progressively aligns the moons for its long-standing digital hub strategy (in which a Macintosh computer resides at the gravitational center of a series of orbiting digital gadgets), synchronization will play a greater and greater role in ensuring harmony across devices and the integrity of the Apple experience. But the strategy needs an overhaul; iTunes clearly isn’t a viable long-term solution, iSync needs renewed purpose, and .Mac needs to wake up to the modern Web. I’ve said it before (and repeated it to anyone who knows me many times) so I won’t repeat it at great length here, but digital synching, as it stands now, is broken.