why iTunes (and iPhoto) suck

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
First of all, it is not my intention to flame, just to get a discussion started and to hear your opinion. I have been using iTunes and iPhoto for quite some time now, but on some aspect they really, really suck. It's not that I feel the "whole app sucks".



1. Indexing



The most important one: why do iPhoto and iTunes re-index files in its own folder structure, if there is Spotlight?

Why does iTunes simply not read the metadata out of a music file, adds those in the Spotlight database, and leave the folder structure alone? If I create a "playlist", it could simply add a parameter "playlist_Itunes=my Jazz Folder" or "genre=jazz"?



iTunes IMHO should be a GUI around Spotlight, targeted at music. Heck, I think iTunes should be a plugin: "view my files as iTunes". Same for iPhoto.



2. Small annoyances



My iPod does not support OGG. Neither does iTunes, but there's a Quicktime plugin to play OGGs from iTunes. But when copying to the iPod, I think iTunes could convert my OGGs to a temp folder as AAC, and then upload them, and leave my OGGs alone.

Now I have been forced to convert OGGs (which is superior to AAC in my opinion) to AAC, just because iTunes refuses to be 'intelligent'.



3. Inconsistency



When I have a smart folder open, I cannot delete files from it. I can from the library though. This is inconsistent with the Finder behaviour. To avoid this, I had to go to my smart folder, select the files to be deleted, click "INFO", change "GROUP" to "BLAH", go back to the main music library, sort by "BLAH" and delete them.

(I don't get the 'mark files' thing, could anyone please explain how this is ment to be used? I thought I could mark my files and delete them in the music folder)



4. Basically....



Mainly I hate iTunes because it dictates a certain "use" too much: a new folder structure, using the apple AAC format, inconsitent behaviour...

iTunes is ignoring cool technology, made by the same company, which is odd.

iPhoto is basically the same, but I am not using it very much a.t.m, so I can't judge that app.



What do you think?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    jlljll Posts: 2,709member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dacloo


    1. Indexing



    The most important one: why do iPhoto and iTunes re-index files in its own folder structure, if there is Spotlight?

    Why does iTunes simply not read the metadata out of a music file, adds those in the Spotlight database, and leave the folder structure alone? If I create a "playlist", it could simply add a parameter "playlist_Itunes=my Jazz Folder" or "genre=jazz"?



    It has to work in 10.3.9 too.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dacloo


    4. Basically....



    Mainly I hate iTunes because it dictates a certain "use" too much: a new folder structure, using the apple AAC format...



    Both things can be changed in the prefs.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dacloo


    1. Indexing



    The most important one: why do iPhoto and iTunes re-index files in its own folder structure, if there is Spotlight?

    Why does iTunes simply not read the metadata out of a music file, adds those in the Spotlight database, and leave the folder structure alone? If I create a "playlist", it could simply add a parameter "playlist_Itunes=my Jazz Folder" or "genre=jazz"?



    Because:

    1) for the most amount of iTunes's and iPhoto's lifetime, Spotlight did not exist.

    2) iTunes and iPhoto need to be able to run on Panther.

    3) iTunes needs to be able to run on Windows, and Apple won't port Spotlight. Windows Desktop Search isn't an option either, as it isn't commonly deployed; I'm also not sure to what extent it supports such extended attributes.



    Quote:

    iTunes IMHO should be a GUI around Spotlight, targeted at music. Heck, I think iTunes should be a plugin: "view my files as iTunes". Same for iPhoto.



    Should be ≠*could realistically be.



    But if you do want that, look no further than Windows XP, which has just about that. For folders that predominantly contain music, Explorer windows show music-related columns, including length, artist, etc.



    Would it be nice to have a Finder that becomes an organizer not just of files, but also of specific kinds of files, such as songs and photos? Sure. Is it realistic to replace iPhoto and iTunes with such? Not at this point, nor any time soon.



    If you want to see a nice tech demo of what this could work like, look no further than a decade ago, in BeOS. It didn't have a mail viewer either: the Tracker simple treated messages as files, too.



    Quote:

    2. Small annoyances



    My iPod does not support OGG. Neither does iTunes, but there's a Quicktime plugin to play OGGs from iTunes. But when copying to the iPod, I think iTunes could convert my OGGs to a temp folder as AAC, and then upload them, and leave my OGGs alone.

    Now I have been forced to convert OGGs (which is superior to AAC in my opinion) to AAC, just because iTunes refuses to be 'intelligent'.



    OGG isn't even a codec; it's a file format. You probably mean the Vorbis codec.



    And it's not iTunes refusing to be intelligent; I don't think it's particularly realistic to expect it to transparently transcode all files it comes across. That'd be very wasteful in terms of CPU resources, too. Plus, if you're gonna transcode them anyway, just leave them in the new format, eh? Oh, I know, quality loss; boohoo.



    Face the facts: Vorbis isn't a popular codec. Every time the iPods are refreshed, I see some trolling and Slashdot and heise and OSnews and the likes about how iPod should support Vorbis, but in the meantime, Vorbis hasn't actually gained much adoption at all. Neither among vendors, nor among users.



    And why would it? AAC is a perfectly sufficient codec, and it's an open standard. Vorbis is slightly better, quality-wise, at 128 kbit/s, but the difference is near-impossible for most human ears to notice in blind tests. For low bitrates, AACplus, which iTunes sadly still doesn't support, beats everything else, and for high bitrates, you might as well just use lossless.



    Quote:

    3. Inconsistency



    When I have a smart folder open, I cannot delete files from it.



    Yeah, you can. You just have to hold the option key.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    And it's not iTunes refusing to be intelligent; I don't think it's particularly realistic to expect it to transparently transcode all files it comes across. That'd be very wasteful in terms of CPU resources, too. Plus, if you're gonna transcode them anyway, just leave them in the new format, eh? Oh, I know, quality loss; boohoo.



    iTunes actually is that "intelligent": For the Shuffle it offers the option to recode the songs to be transfered to a lower quality format. Unfortunately, the quality is fixed and the Shuffle is the only iPod this option is offered for.



    For instance, I import all my music in Apple Lossless and would appreciate if iTunes transcoded - either on the fly or by keeping a lower quality copy - my music while transferring it to my iPod (of choice) because the lossless format is harder on the battery and harddrive lifespan due to increased harddrive access.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    Face the facts: Vorbis isn't a popular codec. Every time the iPods are refreshed, I see some trolling and Slashdot and heise and OSnews and the likes about how iPod should support Vorbis, but in the meantime, Vorbis hasn't actually gained much adoption at all. Neither among vendors, nor among users.



    Where do you know heise from?
  • Reply 4 of 13
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RolandG


    iTunes actually is that "intelligent": For the Shuffle it offers the option to recode the songs to be transfered to a lower quality format.



    I'm aware of that, but as you point out yourself, that is a hardcoded feature. You can't customize it. You can't specify a "preferred format" for any iPod.



    Quote:

    For instance, I import all my music in Apple Lossless and would appreciate if iTunes transcoded - either on the fly or by keeping a lower quality copy - my music while transferring it to my iPod (of choice) because the lossless format is harder on the battery and harddrive lifespan due to increased harddrive access.



    I would love it as well.



    Quote:

    Where do you know heise from?



    Because it was one of the first IT news tickers, and happens to be one of the biggest today?



    (Davon ganz abgesehen bin ich, genau wie die heise Mediengruppe, in Niedersachsen.)
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    (Davon ganz abgesehen bin ich, genau wie die heise Mediengruppe, in Niedersachsen.)



    Na dann, passiert ja nicht soo häufig, dass man hier jemanden aus D trifft.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dacloo


    (...) Mainly I hate iTunes because it dictates a certain "use" too much: a new folder structure, (...)



    You can set iTunes to use Your file structure.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    trydtryd Posts: 139member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dacloo


    Mainly I hate iTunes because it dictates a certain "use" too much: a new folder structure, using the apple AAC format, inconsitent behaviour...

    iTunes is ignoring cool technology, made by the same company, which is odd.



    So you "hate" iTunes for no reason.

    It does not dictate a new folder structure. There is a setting for leaving the files where they are.

    There is no such thing as "Apple AAC format". AAC is an open ISO standard (from MPEG). If other musicplayers don't use it, it is because they prefer proprietary MS formats.

    So it doesn't support OGG/Vorbis. Very few (if any) others do.

    I also don't get the "inconsistent behaviour" thing. Of course you cannot delete something from a smart playlist. The playlist is made from a set of rules - you have to change the rules to change the playlist.



    I don't see any real reason for your complaints. None of them are based on reality.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    newnew Posts: 3,244member
    tough crowd. I just wanted to say that I thought deeper integration with spotlight was a good Idea. Try using Quicksilver.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by New


    tough crowd.



    Well, it's not a party room, but a venture for serious discussion. Starting a thread with "blah blah suck" is sure to get some rather "tough" responses.



    Quote:

    I just wanted to say that I thought deeper integration with spotlight was a good Idea.



    Ideally, yes. Realistically, not for a long time.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Preferences:

    I can turn off indexing in iTunes, but I ran into sync problems with my iPod.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    Well, it's not a party room, but a venture for serious discussion. Starting a thread with "blah blah suck" is sure to get some rather "tough" responses.



    True. My subject name is there to provoke a discussion, newspaper often use the same 'trick'. No offense to people who might, well, be offended :-)



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    Because:

    1) for the most amount of iTunes's and iPhoto's lifetime, Spotlight did not exist.

    2) iTunes and iPhoto need to be able to run on Panther.

    3) iTunes needs to be able to run on Windows, and Apple won't port Spotlight. Windows Desktop Search isn't an option either, as it isn't commonly deployed; I'm also not sure to what extent it supports such extended attributes.



    Valid points indeed. But with Tiger being out, and this being their "flagship product", I expected a technically different version for Tiger (and everything beyond this version) using Spotlight.

    It's just that if they choose to keep Panther and Windows support, they would never have the chance to use the new technology they created. Ofcourse, there's just too much money in iTunes, so that's why 2 different versions (the modern MacOSX version and the 'classic MacOSX+WinXP) imho would be very welcome.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    Should be ≠*could realistically be.



    Jep. I know



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    But if you do want that, look no further than Windows XP, which has just about that. For folders that predominantly contain music, Explorer windows show music-related columns, including length, artist, etc.



    What I would like best is that my folder structure was converted to spotlight attributes (lets call it a 'wizard' for new users). I love Spotlight and what it's going to be in the future, so that's why I don't want to use Windows/



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    Would it be nice to have a Finder that becomes an organizer not just of files, but also of specific kinds of files, such as songs and photos? Sure. Is it realistic to replace iPhoto and iTunes with such? Not at this point, nor any time soon.



    What would, in your opinion, be the reason that it is not possible anytime soon?

    What is the technologic/political issue that prevents Apple doing so?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    If you want to see a nice tech demo of what this could work like, look no further than a decade ago, in BeOS. It didn't have a mail viewer either: the Tracker simple treated messages as files, too.



    Jep, I used R4 and R5 for quite a while. BeOS was very, very fast (I hope Apple will improve on the GUI responds btw) and ahead of its time.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    OGG isn't even a codec; it's a file format. You probably mean the Vorbis codec.



    Yes, OGG Vorbis.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    Face the facts: Vorbis isn't a popular codec. Every time the iPods are refreshed, I see some trolling and Slashdot and heise and OSnews and the likes about how iPod should support Vorbis, but in the meantime, Vorbis hasn't actually gained much adoption at all. Neither among vendors, nor among users.



    Not true. A lot of MP3 players support OGG, and I don't see a reason for iPod to simply ignore this format besides pushing 'their' AAC. I am a game developer and OGG is used widely. Okay, I might not be 'your avarage sound user' because I develop, but that doesnt change my point :-) OGG often sounds better than AAC, especially with cymbal sounds. AAC has this phlanger effect with cymbals. And...OGG is license free. I want to support OGG as a fileformat because it is open. And yes, that is a very personal choice.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Chucker


    And why would it? AAC is a perfectly sufficient codec, and it's an open standard. Vorbis is slightly better, quality-wise, at 128 kbit/s, but the difference is near-impossible for most human ears to notice in blind tests. For low bitrates, AACplus, which iTunes sadly still doesn't support, beats everything else, and for high bitrates, you might as well just use lossless.



    It depends on what you mean by 'open'. Open standard doesn't mean it's license/patent/payfree. I might encode/decode for free, but you can't publish a game with AAC without paying a huge license.

    That is why AAC, for me, is not an open standard. OGG is truly 'open'.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    chuckerchucker Posts: 5,089member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dacloo


    What would, in your opinion, be the reason that it is not possible anytime soon?

    What is the technologic/political issue that prevents Apple doing so?



    Because, unlike BeOS, Mac OS X has an actual user base, and unlike Be, Apple doesn't mind making compromises and sacrifices when it might retain that user base as well as possible. That means backwards compatibility, and it means choosing evolutionary steps over revolutionary ones.



    Ultimately, that's why introducing Spotlight in 2005 was still "innovative", even though BeOS had virtually the same technology a decade before that: the big difference is that now, you have real-world uses for it. BeOS had the system framework, but was lacking in third-party applications, and even more lacking in users. Mac OS X has all three.



    For iTunes and/or iPhoto to move on to leveraging Spotlight and storing such attributes on the file system level, making them accessible in a much more transparent manner, enabling more complex searches, and generally making iTunes and iPhoto itself a lot lighter, you would, as you said, have to completely fork the Windows codebase off, and on top of that, you'd have to deal with migration and compatibility. You would have to go through a lot of work to make the transition for users reliable, for a real-world gain that, to most users, is quite frankly negligible.



    Quote:

    Not true. A lot of MP3 players support OGG



    Some with buggy support, some with a cap of certain bitrates, some without support of various Vorbis features, etc. Finding a player that fully supports Vorbis, including full Ogg Metadata, gapless playback, etc. is hard.



    Quote:

    And...OGG is license free.



    Not true. License free would mean public domain, which it is not.



    Quote:

    It depends on what you mean by 'open'. Open standard doesn't mean it's license/patent/payfree. I might encode/decode for free, but you can't publish a game with AAC without paying a huge license.

    That is why AAC, for me, is not an open standard. OGG is truly 'open'.



    Vorbis would be "open" for me if its license wasn't share-alike, but I'm really not interested in a GPL debate.



    I agree that the patent situation with AAC is messy.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    i cant stand how iPhoto puts every one of my pictures and puts them in a new roll. pisses me off as well
  • Reply 13 of 13
    On the sound quality front, iTunes has poor MP3 encoding. For users that require high quality encoded audio, I recommend the free iTunes Lame Encoder.



    I personally cannot hear a difference between 320kbit lame-encoded MP3s and CD audio, and I'm a bit of an audio nut.
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