Tuesday, 28 January 2014

iTunes and iOS7 Music Apps Need Some TLC

Earlier this week Apple released iTunes 11.1.4  - a minor release which appeared to do absolutely nothing different - even the widely publicised change which decoupled the Wish List from iTunes Store was missing in action. Personally, I couldn't give two hoots about where the wish list is stored or managed. I'd much rather Apple picked on some bugs that would actually make a difference to the whole Music listening experience.

I confess to rather liking iTunes - and at the time of writing I've not found a better media player on the Mac, although Vox 2 has just been released. (For the record, I was a big fan of WinAmp back in the days when I used PCs.) I've regularly commented on the bug fixes around iMatch that I'd like to  have fixed once and for all, so I won't repeat them yet again. I've created a Keyboard Maestro macro to partially overcome the problem of corrupted play counts, but the fact is that my iTunes library metadata has now become so corrupt that it bears little resemblance to reality anyhow. So, I might as well stop thinking about it.

I still see iTunes as an all round media player so I'm not necessarily in favour of splitting out different media types into separate players like some folk (and like iOS). Especially as there is no need to keep all your media types in a single library - I currently do, but I'm thinking about splitting out music from TV and Films. I would, however, be happier if OS X took the same approach as iOS and stopped using iTunes as the shop front for iOS apps and media. I can't really see the point of keeping reference copies of all my iOS apps on my Mac (except of course when they are no longer available from the App Store, although even then,  I'm not sure that I really want to keep apps that are no longer supported).

What I'd really like right now is for the Music app on iOS7 to get some serious TLC. My biggest current issue is the shared library function - I cannot get my iTunes Home Share library to load and play on any of my iDevices. On my first generation iPad Mini, the library (usually) eventually loads but tells me it's empty. On the iPhone 5, the library loads but as soon as I select an album to play, it fast forwards through the songs without playing a note. On my iPad 3 the remote library never even fully loads. Without being able to use my main music library remotely, my play counts get even more out of alignment with reality as play counts of iMatch songs don't get recorded or reflected back anywhere.

I'd also like the Music app to be able to sort items without having to refer back to the settings and I want more sort options, like sort by album or song title - and is it really too much to ask to have a search facility within the Music app itself? Lastly, it would great if the shuffle function worked on the currently selected album, or artist, not the currently playing song. For those of us with large music libraries (and fading memories!) some of these basic abilities become more and more of a necessity and less of a wish list.

And given that iDevices are more popular than iPods these days, the least that Apple can do is make the music software as usable as it is on my iPod Classic...

...and "just works".

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