By now, a lot folks with an iPhone have been running iOS 4, the new name for iPhone OS. But if Apple has seen the point in renaming the OS, at what point will it admit that iTunes is horribly named at this point in time?


By now, a lot folks with an iPhone (4 or otherwise) have been running iOS 4, the new name for iPhone OS. The new operating system for these great devices is nice, and overall seems to be a hit. But more interestingly, Apple made the jump to renaming its mobile OS — even going so far as to license the name from Cisco, who uses the IOS moniker for its routing and switching software.

And the move makes sense too; I mean, with the iPad and iPod touch, “iPhone OS” is a misnomer. But if Apple has seen the point in renaming the OS, at what point will it admit that iTunes is horribly named at this point in time, considering all the functions it fulfills?

More to the point, is iTunes in need of a new name for all of its functionality? Or is there perhaps a different/new application that should take on the tasks that iTunes has handled for the past few years? This line of thinking isn’t a new one, but now that the mobile operating system has gotten the new treatment, and brings additional functionality which allows PDFs to be synced and reviewed using iBooks, there’s a better argument than ever.

Here’s a quick review of the things that iTunes facilitates a sync function for at this point in time:

  1. Music
  2. Videos – Movies, Music Videos, TV shows, Home Videos
  3. Photos
  4. PDF documents/books
  5. Books
  6. Browser bookmarks
  7. Address Book Contacts
  8. Calendars
  9. Email Accounts
  10. Audio Books
  11. Applications
  12. Podcasts
  13. Notes

With so many disparate pieces of information and media content being pulled in from so many different applications, I don’t understand the need for iTunes, in its current state, to remain the hub for syncing all this data to our mobile devices. My point here is that iTunes isn’t the single repository for all of the stuff we push to our devices — while it does manage some media, it also tries to play middle man to various applications’ data sources that we decide to pull from.

OS X still includes a little utility (that I’m not sure many people even use anymore) called iSync. Seems like a good name — it certainly conveys the idea of what one may want to do with such a program! So a possible solution could be to re-purpose iSync as the central place to push/pull all of the content listed above, to the iPhone/iPod touch/iPad.

The other, less invasive change (though Apple marketing would have a big job with re-branding efforts) would be to slap a shiny new name on iTunes. iMedia? iStuff? iHub? iXfer? But I don’t know where to begin with such a nebulous collection of functions iTunes is in charge of.

So, what names would you give to iTunes, to better relate all that it does? Or should iTunes even continue to be a jack of all trades?

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  1. Rob Crawford Tuesday, June 29, 2010



  2. iCan’tKeepTrackOfAllThisStuff!!!

  3. Brandon Martinez Tuesday, June 29, 2010


    Just started using it as my PDF manager; it’s already been taking care of my music, movies, and tv shows (obviously). Also, now that PDF is officially supported, it’s that much easier to manage those (I was using Yep before).

  4. Nick, your last name is wrong. It has the small i at the end instead at the beginning…

  5. Andrew Allsop Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    The thing with iTunes is that it’s the primary brand that is established in the consumer market like
    iPad, iPhone etc whereas iOS isn’t the main brand you purchase into. Like you said, it would be too much (unnecessary) work for the re-branding. Plus it’s a strong enough brand to not need to be completely
    Descriptive of it’s uses.

  6. iTunes started off as a music management program that now encompasses a whol;e lot of other media and personal data, so I can see how iSync fits with that.

    However, iTunes is also the name of the world’s most popular online music store, with massive brand recognition. Do you mess with this, now that the store sells not just tunes, but video, books and apps?


  7. Funny, I was just compaining about this an hour ago!

    My wild idea is that iTunes will stay the same until Mac OS 10.7 when all of the extraneous syncing iTunes does will get blended into the Finder app.

    The idevice would show up in the devices list of the finder (like it does now) and when you click on it, instead of seeing the folders in the finder window, you would get the sync management screen that is in iTunes.

    I guess music, TV and Movies would stay in itunes and rename to iMedia or something, and move iBooks to it’s own desktop app.

  8. Ismail Patel Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Keep it iTunes and let all the syncing me done by a new and updated iSync Application. duh! Apple probably forgot!

    1. Although, if they were to use iSync, they would have to make a windows version. I don’t think apple will spend the hours on iSync for window.

  9. I agree with above… ‘iMedia’ – the problem with iSync is that you’re not going to open ‘iSync’ to play your music or watch a movie.

  10. I think it would make sense to have a smaller app (perhaps a repurposed iSync) would handle all aspects of syncing, including choosing what stuff to sync, and it would be the app that launches automatically when the device is plugged in. This should be quicker than launching iTunes. Of course, iSync would of course hook into iTunes and other apps to retrieve the data to sync. iTunes should simply manage and play music, movies and TV shows. I’d create a desktop iBooks app for managing ebooks, audiobooks, and other documents – and make it function as an ereader as well. Then, rename the store to the iShop or something, and both these apps can hook into it.

    Finally, you’d have your photos in iPhoto or Aperture, and home movies in iMovie, all of which could be synced (right now home movies have to be exported from iMovie into iTunes to sync, which seems weird to me). And contacts and calendars are of course in their respective desktop apps.

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