How the Mac App Store Could Lead to a Better iTunes


Much of the discussion surrounding the Mac App Store has been around the repercussions it will have on Mac application development, but I think the conversation is missing something. I feel the Mac App Store could be the starting point for a better iTunes, or at least the death of iTunes as we know it today.

On the Mac, music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, and every other type of media are downloaded and managed through one application: iTunes. This is entirely different from the way things are done in iOS, where the iTunes app is strictly for downloading media, while separate video, music, and photo apps are used for managing it.

As we learned in October, the stated goal of OS X Lion is to bring features of iOS back to the Mac. It seems likely that could include the way different types of media are managed on iOS, meaning separated apps for managing and downloading content.

It actually sounds pretty great to me: iTunes would be used exclusively for downloading media, and then there can be secondary apps for managing it. A music app for music and podcasts, a video app for movies and TV shows, and then a books app for, well, books, and so on. Oh, and also a separate app for Ping. We can’t forget Ping. While it may seem more complicated, it would actually make more logical sense from a user perspective. Where does one go to see video? The Video app. Why would a user new to the platform ever expect to find that content in something called “iTunes?”

Of course this leads to the question of how all this media is going to be synced to iOS devices. For that, Apple could bring back the long-neglected iSync application. Beef it up, make it more apparent to the user, and there you’ve got your syncing solution. It could be somewhat like the Windows Phone 7 sync client for Mac.

And it could be that the release of the Mac App Store is just the first step in this transition. It’s worth noting how similar the Mac App Store icon is to the iTunes icon. Both are circular and blue. The only real difference is the image in the middle. The icons for the iOS versions of the App Store and iTunes are also quite similar, the main difference being that former icon is blue and the latter purple:

By making the icons so similar, Apple could be setting the groundwork for a decentralization of iTunes. Since iTunes just turned 10, I think it’s time for a change from the trend of more bloat, and I hope Apple agrees.

What do you think? Do you envision a future where iTunes isn’t the master of your iOS life? Or are you happy with one application managing everything? Tell us in the comments.

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