iTunes 9: nice new features, shame about the face

! Warning: this post hasn't been updated in over three years and so may contain out of date information.

UPDATE 26/11/2009
As of version 9.0.2.25, which I got around to installing today, iTunes support of Windows 7 features is greatly improved. It now has a drop shadow like other windows and supports the auto maximizing, 1/2 screen sizing etc features of Windows 7. The naff pseudo-OS X look remains, but it is a huge improvement on the original v9.

itunesToday saw the release of iTunes 9 from Apple. It has brought a range of great new features:

  • Home Sharing: share your iTunes stuff between home computers with ease. In theory, it will automatically sync purchases between computers, though this didn’t seem to work properly for me. I was able to manually copy them across just fine.
  • Genius Mixes: these are like standard Genius playlists, ie related music grouped into playlists, but the Genius Mixes are 12 automatically generated endless playlists based on your music collection.
  • Improved Syncing: you can now organise your iPhone apps from within iTunes, rather than via the very fiddly method on the phone itself. There are other syncing features, but this is the big one in my view.

Sadly all this greatness is let down by the crappiness of the iTune’s interface. Version 8 of iTunes was slow and looked hideous on Windows Vista due to its half-baked attempt at bringing the OS X look and feel of programs to Windows. Whilst Apple abandoned this nonsense with Safari, iTunes 9 still has the same naff look and feel. To make matters worse, Windows has moved on and Windows 7 has lots of nice new window placement features. iTunes doesn’t follow any of these conventions at all well. For example, when maximised, dragging the top of the window down has no effect. As I love the look of Aero Glass, I also find the bland greyness of its window jars nastily against other applications in Windows 7. Part of the Snow Leopard upgrade was to make Mac OS X more consistent. It’s way past time Apple applied this same consistency to their Windows efforts.

A further interface annoyance is that by default the grid view has fixed sized images of albums only with no obvious way of resizing or switching to Artists etc. Tucked away under View -> Grid View menu is a “Show Header” option. This puts back the controls that were there with v8. Why were they hidden in the first place though?

I’ve often criticised Apple before for putting style before substance. With iTunes 9, they’ve gone the other way: great substance, but so lacking in style. Perhaps this will be addressed by v9.1?

Improved SyncingImproved Syncing

One thought on “iTunes 9: nice new features, shame about the face

  1. does this mean that I can now connect my ipod to different computers i.e. at work and at home and sync without itunes clearing all songs from the ipod first. I hate this idea of only sync’ing to one itunes library and have found other open source players do a much better job. Can I now go back to the naffness of itunes?

Comments are closed.