iTunes 9 Wishlist: 10 Ways Apple Can Improve Its Media Organizer

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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?

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