Contrary to popular belief iTunes and the iPod aren’t perfect and are in fact host to a number of my own personal peeves, including:
iTunes Music Store previews stop when browsing
If you are previewing a song in the music store then it will be abruptly halted the moment you visit another page. Let me just clarify that, people are here to listen to music they might want to buy and you are forcing them to spend most of their time sitting in silence while they browse. Can you get any stupider? It’s easy for Apple to fix, simply add underneath “Music Store” in the “Source” list a “Previews” play list. Every time a user clicks on a track add it to that ready to be played after the current preview finishes it’s 30 second play. Leave them there for a couple of hours perhaps and let them jump back and re-listen to a preview they are still considering, even if it streams again.
iTunes DVD audio ripping
I own a fair few number of DVDs, some of which would lend themselves quite well to listening on my iPod, indeed a few of the comedy ones are available from the iTunes Music Store but I’ll be damned if I’m paying another £7.95 for something I already legally own.
iPod & iTunes OGG support
OGG is an open-source audio codec with a lot going for it and I’d really like to be able to use this format. I understand Apple don’t want to offer it because they want you to use their own AAC format. Bear in mind that Sony wanted everyone to use ATRAC instead of MP3 and look where that got them
iTunes movie preview full-screen
Modern PC’s multi task and so do many of it’s users especially when downloading, so why is it that any movie preview in iTunes takes over the whole screen the moment you click it long before it has anything to show you? Even more annoyingly if you switch out to another application it will abort loading the movie! What am I supposed to do while waiting if I can’t use my machine, make a cup of tea? More likely I’ll just abort the preview and go do something else. To fix, why not see the idea for audio previews above or better yet fire off any movies off into QuickTime where they belong. I mean I did pay for QuickTime so I could save this sort of stuff locally and now you’ve changed the game…
Shuffle per playlist
Apple have partially fixed this at least in iTunes now, when you switch playlist it remembers whether you were shuffling when you last used that playlist but the iPod won’t take note :( Really, it should be a setting on the playlist itself “Shuffle: Use player status, Always on, Always off”. Music should shuffle but shuffling the multi-track audio-books I’ve ripped from my own CD’s should definitely not.
Pioneer iPod adapter
Well this isn’t really Apple’s fault but this adapter has two annoying problems. The first is that it only displays the first eight letters of each song name and won’t scroll them unless you go into a menu… And that scrolling setting only lasts until you come out of the menu! Secondly when choosing artists, playlists, genre’s etc the unit actually starts to play the first song from that selection… while you are trying to switch and causes a not insignificant delay. This makes it impossible to scroll through artists, you’d take forever. Why it can’t just wait a few seconds before firing off the track or wait for you to press next song I’ve no idea.
Sony lost the portable audio market they’d practically owned with the Walkman brand for over a decade for fear of cutting into another business unit’s profits, specifically their music labels. We’ve seen this pattern time and time again, British Telecom lost it’s stranglehold on UK telecom customers by dragging it’s heels with mobile technology for fear of cutting into its payphone business. Nintendo lost the console market by refusing to use CD-ROM technology for fear of lost profits on cartridge production/piracy. Atari refused Jay Miner the chance to develop a 16-bit system for fear of damaging the revenues of the 8-bit systems he had designed them. He left, created the Amiga and handed it over to rival Commodore who would dominate Atari for the next 10 years. The moral of this story is move with the technology because your customers will. If you’re not there for them, somebody else will be.