iTunes Is Apple’s “Weakest Link”

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The Observer’s John Naughton wrote an interesting piece for this weekend’s paper arguing a point that many of us would raise our hands and agree with: iTunes is bloated beyond belief, and Apple needs to do something about it.

Naughton points out that iTunes is at the center of the new Apple empire. Apple’s success depends largely on iDevices, and iDevices tend to get plugged into computers. And when that happens, they need iTunes to hold their hand.

The problem is that iTunes has become less than the sum of its parts. Weighed down by the multitude of tasks it has been assigned, iTunes has become slow, unwieldy, and confusing.

Naughton writes:

“You can do very little with an Apple device without hooking it up to iTunes. Until now, this has given Apple a key strategic advantage over all other competitors. But, as Britain discovered with the Suez canal in the 1950s, being unduly dependent on a single strategic asset can also have serious downsides.”

So here’s my suggestion. Break iTunes into separate tools for separate functions. An app that plays audio content. An app for browsing and buying in the Store. An app for managing iDevices. Break it up into its component parts, let each one do its thing. Independently, and when required.

But that’s just my opinion, and I’m a fan of simpler applications that do one thing well. Others might well disagree, preferring to keep all this stuff in one place.

What do you think? Are you happy with iTunes as it is, or would you like to see it change? And if so, how? Assuming you agree it’s broken, how would you fix it?

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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