iTunes 11 is the best thing to happen to Apple’s media hub in a long time. But while the cosmetic changes are nice, there are still plenty of underlying problems with iTunes that need to be addressed. At its core, iTunes is still just a shopping mall with a snazzy jukebox attached. But it could be so much more.
Here are five fixes we wish were in iTunes 11 and are hoping for in iTunes 12.
A music subscription service like Spotify
Apple has reportedly been trying to get all of the major labels on board for some kind of radio service like Pandora, but that has yet to materialise. And even then the value of Pandora is rapidly diminishing because Spotify is so much better. Some sort of streaming service, however, would be better than the none that we’ve got now.
A web player for iTunes Match
Sure, Apple’s got an interest in making sure that the iTunes store is always just a click away, but the competition is offering a better service here. MOG has a a gorgeous HTML 5 interface you can use anywhere, and Spotify has said it will have one by next year. Google Music will let you store 20,000 songs in the cloud for free and stream them from anywhere for nothing. So why would you pay $US25 for a less useful iTunes Match?
Pandora’s Music Genome and Spotify apps are awesome for discovery because you can find new music and try it out without paying a toll. Unless Apple gets licenses for a music subscription service, or at the very least makes Genius more helpful, iTunes might just keep sucking at discovery forever.
Better social sharing
Consider Spotify, which has nailed social music with deep, deep Facebook integration. In the Spotify client, you can see what friends are listening to and easily send tracks them. If you’re not Facebook friends with someone, Spotify makes grabbing a URL easy.
With their one billion and 500 million users respectively, meaningful Faceook and Twitter integration is no longer optional. Apple needs to bite the bullet and bake social into far more strongly iTunes so that people can advertise what they like to each other. Apple sells more tracks, your music collection gets better, everybody wins.
Keep the iTunes store separate