Macworld: We Need a Server Version of iTunes


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I don’t know anyone who doesn’t agree that Apple’s workhorse media application iTunes doesn’t need to be fixed. It’s slow, clunky and suffers by embodying a vision of how people manage and interact with their media that’s becoming more and more painfully antiquated every day. Over at Macworld Kirk McElhearn argues that what’s needed is a server version of the software, something that can centrally manage all of a household’s media. He sketches a picture of how such a device would work that’s logical but probably never going to happen — mostly because it’s disk-based. I’m pretty sure Apple has no further interest in helping people manage their media through the use of hard disks located in the home. The next truly significant revision of iTunes, whether in server form or not, will surely be in the cloud. Read the article here.

  1. I couldn’t agree more. iTunes is a case study on feature creep. What made it so beautiful at first was its simplicity. It let people manage and listen to their music without thinking about it. It was lean. And fast.

    With each addition, Apple has crippled the program. I don’t want my music player to give me recommendations. I have for that. I don’t need iTunes to be my social media home, either. I already have one of those too. The truth is that the app has become almost as slow, bloated and painful to use as the Windows Media Player of ten years ago. We really need a fresh, light-weight alternative.

  2. Hi Khoi – something of a fan and a sometime lurker. Hate to come in with a nit, but the opening sentence contains a triple negative that results in the opposite of what you intend to say: I don’t know anyone who doesn’t agree that Apple’s workhorse media application iTunes needs to be fixed. The assertion that you don’t know anyone who disagrees with is “Apple’s… iTunes needs to be fixed.”

    Anyway, count me in with the chorus. iTunes is an unfocused application whose very name has become a misnomer. It manages and plays all sorts of media, manages iOS devices (maybe Apple should break Organizer out of Xcode, dress it up a bit and let that be a standalone sync and load manager for iOS devices?) and acts as the front end to two stores, one for media and the other for applications that can’t run on the system iTunes is on!

    A disk-based server version requires the designation of a server at home, which would need to be a machine that’s always on. Given Apple TV’s loss of its hard disk (which was never that roomy to begin with), I think you’re right that the next revision will run on/in the cloud. Bummer.

  3. Having amassed a formidable collection of CDs and DVDs, I also have no interest in cloud media collections. I abandoned iTunes for mt-daapd and now use/develop forked-daapd. It works.

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