Dear Apple, Please Split Up iTunes Like Einstein Split The Atom

iHate iTunes. On every device!

Thanks to iCloud (a service I slightly loathe less) I no longer require the presence of a desktop, laptop or crappy netbook (for those people who are into those) to sync the music that I love. 

That said iTunes still sucks—as in worse than Microsoft Windows media player (whatever they call it nowadays) sucks. 

But it could be better though. 

I could not figure out how/why iTunes (a powerful product with powerful features & lots of potential) was so frustrating to use—until now. 

iTunes is designed by the Junk Drawer Method: when enough cruft has built up that somebody tells the team to redesign it, while also adding and heavily promoting these great new features in the UI that are really important to the company’s other interests and are absolutely non-negotiable, the only thing they can really do is hide all of the old complexity in new places.

With the introduction of Apple Music, Apple confusingly introduced a confusing service backed by the iTunes Store that’s confusingly integrated into iTunes and the iOS Music app (don’t even get me started on that) and partially, maybe, mostly replaces the also very confusing and historically unreliable iTunes Match. (

Apple for some reason keeps cramming their beloved iTunes app with too many features, sacrificing intuitive design for the sake of…moar features!

Instead of engineering iTunes as if it were going to be ported to Android, Apple needs to consider dividing iTunes into 2 separate apps!


iTunes Radio

Sad fact: I prefer to use Pandora over iTunes Radio for several reasons:

  • Pandora starts playing music immediately upon opening the app (if I hate the station I can always switch elsewhere)
  • Pandora’s user interface is easier to navigate
  • Pandora is adept at discovering music that I will like in the future (something every other music service that I have tried has failed at)

While the last point is probably due to the longevity of using their service, Apple can easily fix iTunes Radio by separating it from the basic iTunes app as well as play music as soon as the app is opened.

Just as Facebook (a social network that I loathe) wisely separated its messaging service from its main app, Apple needs to separate iTunes Radio from the iTunes app to make it easier to navigate & reduce friction when it comes to finding ones favorite tunes.

Bonus: Ditch the built in social service. The last thing Apple needs is Ping 2.0 (as social networking is not Apple’s expertise). 

iTunes Music

Reducing iTunes to just a simple music app that organizes the music that you love would resolve so many issues with the UI!

However Apple could improve it further (assuming they would consider splitting up the app) by: 

  • Allow users to easily broadcast what they are currently listening to upon Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, et al (basically one button shares to all of these sites at the same time)
  • Tap song to create a quick ring tone (even better: allow users to select which 15-30 second ring tone they prefer—in another of course!)
  • Provide lyrics to the song that is playing within the app (as SoundHound seems to lack lyrics to many songs—especially for rap music)

Keeping it simple for iTunes Music would go a long way towards reducing frustration for fans & frenemies alike. 

Of course Apple may prefer to keep the apps together due to pending plans of relaunching iTunes Radio/Music/Social Networking/Etcetera with a killer design in iOS 9 (among other platforms). 

But until then iTunes+ is killing me softly…with their songs…

Hat tip: Daring Fireball

Image Credits: Lithium Atom by Halfdan, Feature Creep via DevIQ, iTunes Radio & Music Icons by Apple, Music File icon via Find Icons