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Summary:

With Apple’s music oriented media event right around the corner, everyone is abuzz with thoughts about new iPods, Apple TV updates, tablet rumors and more. The one thing we can all but guarantee besides new iPods is an update to iTunes. But what will this version […]

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With Apple’s music oriented media event right around the corner, everyone is abuzz with thoughts about new iPods, Apple TV updates, tablet rumors and more. The one thing we can all but guarantee besides new iPods is an update to iTunes. But what will this version bring? Social aspects have been rumored, but there is still room for improvement. So, here’s my Top 10 wish list for iTunes 9.

1. More Stable & Efficient On Windows

This particular point doesn’t apply to me, as I am a Mac user, but I do know that the Windows version of iTunes has suffered in comparison to its Mac brethren. Though some of the programming technologies in the Windows world are not as robust as their Mac equivalents, I do hope Apple will continue to optimize iTunes as it adds new features. Currently, it’s just a resource hog.

2. Better Audiobook Support

iTunes is a great application to manage your audiobooks and Apple’s partnership with Audible makes it even easier to buy them. What really strikes me as problematic though is how cumbersome it is to sync specific audiobooks to your iPod or iPhone. At the moment, it’s either “all” or “none.” When you consider that some audiobooks have multiple files and some users have insanely huge collections of audiobooks, it really seems like an issue Apple would have refined already. Due to their length, most users listen to one or two audiobooks at a time and don’t need to bring their entire collection with them. The only solution to this dilemma is creating playlists for specific audiobooks and that’s more time consuming than it should be.

3. Better File Organization for Large Libraries

As our libraries of media content grow and grow, Apple is focused on being center stage in helping us organize it all. iTunes is a powerful application and supports a wide gamut of different file types (music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, podcasts, etc.). It would be ideal for Apple to allow users to manage those specific areas on different hard drives since some of us have iTunes libraries that are growing too fast to store on just one drive. We can work around this at the moment by turning off the “Keep iTunes organized” feature when adding new content, but a more elegant solution would be welcome.

4. Ability to Import Unencrypted DVD & Blu-ray Content

We all know there are licensing issues to work out, but since Apple feels its the company’s lot in life to manage all of my digital content, why not figure out a way to manage all of the physical content I have laying around too? If I can “find a way to decrypt my DVD” (hello VLC), then iTunes can make a copy of it. This has actually been rumored and I would love to see it come to fruition.

5. Support for HD content on iPhone & iPods

While at first this really doesn’t seem like an iTunes feature, I personally hate having to maintain two copies of content with compatible versions for my Apple TV and Mac (HD content) and my iPods and iPhone (SD content). For some cases this isn’t a problem, but I find myself watching a lot of HD podcasts and they simply will not sync. If Apple could resolve this issue, users wouldn’t have to download iTunes Store content like TV shows twice (one in HD and one in SD). They could just download the HD file and be ready to rock.

6. More Robust Tagging

There are lots of apps available (like MetaX) that give users the ability to tag their content with more useful information than what iTunes allows them to do on their own. Content from the iTunes Store features some of this useful information (like movie director, actors, etc.). Why can’t I edit this for my own content directly within iTunes? Why can’t I tag my own music as clean or explicit from within iTunes?

7. Lyric & Metadata Lookups

iTunes has the ability to lookup artwork for our own music that may be missing covers, but now that iPhones and iPods support lyrics, wouldn’t it be great if iTunes could search, download and tag your files with the appropriate lyrics? Better yet, it would be even better if iTunes could fill in missing metadata information like some third-party apps do.

8. More Robust Sharing Support

iTunes 4 brought about the ability to stream playlists to other iTunes users on a local network. This feature was hacked to allow users to stream across the Internet and Apple quickly released a patch to fix this. Since then, several vendors, first and foremost being SimplifyMedia, have risen up to provide this service again. While SimplifyMedia is great, a more ideal solution would show you your entire iTunes library, with podcasts, audiobooks, TV shows, and the like. To be honest, if Apple even rolled this out as a feature exclusive to Mobile Me users, and allowed the ability to view this content streamed via me.com, that would be enough to justify a membership to me.

9. Music Videos

Probably the smallest of all the content types in my library, music videos are just lumped together in my main library. How come there isn’t a separate section for music videos?

10. Easier Syncing Between Multiple Macs

At the moment, I sync my iPhone on my iMac, where the bulk of my media is stored (simply because it has the biggest hard drive). It would be great if I could sync my iPhone or iPods there for some content, but sync it to my laptop for contacts, calendars and iPhone apps as that content changes more frequently.

In short order, we’ll actually see what Apple announces at its media event. In the meantime, what features would you like to see added to iTunes 9?

  1. I would love to be able to organize my iPhone apps on my computer and then sync. This would be so much easier than trying to arrange them on the iPhone screen itself.

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    1. YES. I’d also like an alternative to grid view for applications. I hate that list view isn’t available for them.

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    2. you can do that now!!!

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  2. 1) Support for alternate codecs like FLAC, or a plugin architecture so we can do it ourselves
    2) An option to ignore inserted discs
    3) Real multiple-library support, including an option to view all your libraries as one merged library (even though they aren’t, physically)
    4) Create a separate lossy library from a lossless one

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  3. How do you expect iPods and iPhones to support HD content? They simply don’t (currently) have the processing resources to do it, and even if they did it would destroy the battery life. Also, what about the effect on storage? They have limited capacity as it is. The compromise of having an SD version for portable devices is a much easier compromise.

    As for file organisation, I can see it going the way of iPhoto – in to one large database, inside a special zipped up folder, rather than the nested folders we currently have. I never look inside that file for iPhoto (or Aperture), why does it matter for iTunes? I’ve never understood why people actually want to deal with files and folders. Just leave it up to iTunes. What would most people gain from such a feature?

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    1. You apparently have a very small photo collection and an even smaller music collection.

      My iPhoto library for a year ranges between 8-15 GB in size. That’s not too easy to backup onto DVD when it’s a single file.

      My music collection is only 10 GB (not including podcasts). This would be a royal pain to backup to DVDs – and I have a relatively tiny collection. My wife has nearly 80GB of music alone.

      Keeping the files separate allows users to backup the files in any way they see fit.

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    2. My iPhoto library is about 20GB, my Aperture library is about 42GB (I shoot RAW), and my iTunes folder is currently a smidgin under 40GB. I back up to a 500GB FireWire 800 drive using Time Machine.

      Using optical media to back up in 2009 is the same as using a stack of floppies 10 years ago. You need to move on to a better system that is more in keeping with the volume of content we now deal with. That is why Apple invented Time Machine. No sensible computer person would suggest you back up to optical media now.

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  4. Meh… Who cares about Windows? No matter how well Apple designs their software, Windows will still drag it down. I have never seen iTunes run really well on Windows, even very fast systems with clean installs of Windows. Have you ever looked closely at just how well Windows Media Player runs on Windows? It’s a hog too. This indicates a general issue in the way Windows handles applications that need a lot of resources to run. I remember the initial hype about Windows 2000 in 1999, and then Windows XP in 2001. Microsoft kept mentioning multitasking, protected memory, and other “modern” features. Even in Windows Vista, these features still haven’t received full implementation. The reason for this is because Windows is largely unchanged since the first introduction of the NT kernel. Windows is full of conflicting code that has been pasted on in haphazard fashion for over 20 years. In Mac OS X, these features were inherited from NeXT. They have always been there, and they are built into the core of the OS. Because of these features, apps like iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, and Apple’s pro apps can function very well — even on Apple’s slowest computers.

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    1. Janine Bennett Monday, September 7, 2009

      I agree! who cares about windows, you don’t see them going out of their way to make their programs easier or more compatable for us! Let them go and buy a decent computer then they can experience the best programs!

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  5. It is already possible to have your iTunes library on different hard drives or folders (e.g. movies/TV shows on an external, music on the internal) without having to turn off “Keep iTunes folder organized.” Simply hold down Option while dragging the media into your library (from the source where you’d like it to stay). iTunes will not make a copy in your iTunes folder. This could be improved and more clearly explained, however.

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    1. Yes, but you can only view one of them at a time, and to change you must quite iTunes and restart. That’s lame.

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    2. The method that Rick is talking about uses one “library file” with multiple locations for iTunes media files. The library file is like the index to all your media, which is normally all stored in the iTunes Music folder. By using the “option-drag” method, you can leave files in a different location and iTunes will not copy that file to the iTunes Music folder.

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  6. I wish there was a change in the coverflow interface that allows to hide column view just showing coverflow screen. iPod touch / Iphone interfaces allow this: with a single click on the cover you can access to all the songs of the album. It’s a great idea and I don’t know how it have not been included in iTunes yet.

    I’m also waiting for a way to change from playlists to main library without loosing the song focus. I use “Last imported” playlist a lot, but you can’t delete songs of the library from there.

    Just one more thing related with Apple TV: it’s ridiculous you can’t choose synchronize some contents and stream some others from the same computer.

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  7. It wouldn’t upset me if iTunes automatically gathered genre information. A toggle switch for genre display in the browser would be nice for all those people who don’t like to use terminal. I also wouldn’t mind if they switched the interface to cocoa to match virtually every other program on mac os x. Tracking iPod play counts would be nice as well.

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    1. OH YEAH and for the love of god it would be nice to be able to organize iPod/iPhone apps IN iTunes.

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  8. You can untick audiobooks you don’t want to sync, so I think point 2 is void.

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  9. Rather than any of this, I would rather they re-organise the app itself so it makes sense. By this I mean:

    – it’s called iTunes, but manages device syncing, movies, photos, ebooks, notes and email accounts as well.
    – it manages movies (even though its a music app), but there’s a separate app, top separate user-level folder, and separate organisation strategy for the movies you make *yourself*, which are somehow not “movies”?
    – it acts as a master library for media, but instead of transcoding that media on the fly to fit the output device, you have to encode the movie when you import it to work on all possible current and future devices ahead of time.
    – there’s no backup and no splitting of the library allowed so you end up with a two hundred gig monster on your hard drive and only Time Machine to preserve it?
    – it’s more suited to *purchasing* media than it is to actually managing your media.

    There needs to be a separate iPhone syncing app that manages the content on mobile devices and iTunes needs to be renamed “iTunes store” or something like that with all the junk taken out of it.

    The syncing app could then connect to whatever repositories (iPhoto, iMovie, The iTunes store, Mail, Notes, etc.), for content.

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    1. Yeah, they could call it iSync.

      Oh, wait, thats how it used to work before they stupidly changed it.

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  10. iTunes works just fine for me, there aren’t a whole lot of things that I need it to do that it doesn’t. Number one on my list has to be iPhone application organization. Not just the ability to organize them on my iPhone’s homescreen from within iTunes but I’d also like to see a description of the application added to “Get Info.”

    I have a lot of applications and sometimes I can’t remember exactly what a given application in my iTunes library actually does. Aside from installing the app and trying it or searching the iTunes Store for the app, iTunes doesn’t give you any way of know what the application does.

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