Before I get rolling here, let me warn you -- I'm not a frequent user of iTunes. I don't spend all of my time purchasing new music, videos, and movies, nor do I obsess over creating playlists to share with my friends.
However, I do use it often enough that after firing up iTunes 10 last night, I immediately found some things I wasn't fond of and some other items I quickly loved. Am I going to lose sleep over the things I don't like? Nope. But I hope that it gets TUAW readers thinking about what they like and dislike about the new iteration of iTunes.
- What's with the close / minimize / maximize buttons being vertical in the top "toolbar" of iTunes 10 (see example at right)? As I stated to my cohorts here at TUAW this morning, doesn't that fly in the face of 10 years of experience with OS X and even violate Apple's Human Interface Guidlines? Fortunately, there's relief. A tweet from @rudyrichter showed how to fix this -- pop into Terminal and type or paste in "defaults write com.apple.iTunes full-window -1", press Return, relaunch iTunes and life is back to normal.
- I miss the colorful icons in the sidebar. There used to be color in the icons for Library, Store, and Shared Items. What happened to the color? It looks so ... drab over there now. If anyone can come up with a defaults command to bring the colors back, I'll give 'em a nickel. Hey, they also removed color icons in the preferences. I want my color back! Everything is so grey and boring. Perhaps that's Apple's way of saying "focus on the content we're trying to sell you, not the application."
- Why do I have to be in the iTunes Store to 'like' a song? I'd like to be able to go through my library and 'like' any song or album without having to go to the album listing in the iTunes Store first. Our surmise is that Apple's algorithms would have a hard time matching arbitrary track names from user libraries with specific songs, but it would be good to have some clarity here.
- Why are there only a handful of artists to follow in Ping? Sure, I know it's a new feature, but couldn't Apple have worked with a few more "artists" other than Lady Gaga and Katy Perry? I am hopeful this will change soon, although many of the artists I like are so old they don't know what computers are.
Why is the filter field gone in the apps window for an attached device? This was a text field on the Sync Apps list of app names; you could type in characters (i.e., calc) and have it filter the list to show only those items with those letters in the name.Update: Apparently the top-right search field, which ordinarily would search your entire library or the store, now does double-duty for searching your installed apps. Thanks to Chris Pirillo, among others, for pointing this out. It's confusing enough that we keep forgetting it works that way now.
- I love the idea of Ping. Of course, I also like Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Glue, and a handful of other social networking apps, so it's natural that I'd be partial to this idea. All of the follow requests in my email this morning were a fun surprise, and it appears that the Ping servers might be a little overloaded today (some slow responses), but I think it's going to be a popular addition to iTunes 10.
- The new Album by Artist view is nice. It's refreshing to see artists listed alphabetically with their album covers displayed on the left side of the list, and then see the individual tracks on those albums. Apple could have just done away with CoverFlow -- does anyone really look at album covers that way? I was glad to see that Steve Jobs highlighted this new view in the keynote yesterday.
- You can now hide items in the sidebar that you don't want to look at. Hover your mouse over devices, genius, or playlists, and you'll see a small "Hide" link appear. While it doesn't hide the title of the section, it does collapse the sub-items so you don't see a long list of playlists cluttering up the sidebar. Sweet.
- In Ping, It's a nice touch that you can minimize the large Artists We Recommend You Follow and People We Recommend You Follow lists that precede the Recent Activity list. At the risk of being repetitive, I don't want to follow Lady Gaga. Ever.
- The new icon. Finally, we don't have the tired CD icon blasting us in the face from the dock. I'm still a bit confused as to why the application is still called "iTunes," when music is only part of the total media universe that is sold or consumed through it. Wouldn't iMedia or something similar have been a bit more apt? Still, with the branding momentum behind the name 'iTunes' it may be hard to switch tracks at this point.
iTunes 10 has only been roaming in the wild for a few hours now, so I'm sure there will be time to discover other likes and dislikes. With that, I'm opening discussion to the readers. Leave your comments about iTunes 10 below. Just remember to be nice to each other, respect each other's opinions, and no running in the halls, OK?