Generally, Apple does software reasonably well. The company understands that the user experience doesn’t end with the plastic and the circuits, but also encompasses the on-screen interface, the dialog boxes, and even the fonts used in its applications.
So what happened to iTunes? Version 7 is, frankly, one of the slowest, most annoyingly designed applications I’ve used in years. It takes more than a minute to launch (previous versions were relatively snappy). When I drag a tune to my Shuffle (or delete a song from it), it takes iTunes a minute or two to do the update, and often this locks up the interface so I can’t do anything else. The library has been subdivided into five categories and I can’t get a total view of all of them — a problem, since some of my podcasts are in the “podcast” category while others, perplexingly, are filed under “music.” The video playback is bizarre and counterintuitive. And the bottom section of the screen is filled with a bright blue ad for the MiniStore. I don’t want the MiniStore! I want it to go away! I just want to listen to my music, and get some podcasts onto my Shuffle, and not have iTunes taking over my computer, churning the hard drive while I’m trying to work on something.
Bottom line: iTunes 7 is a terrible mishmash of poor design decisions and poorly-implemented software architecture. Whoever was in charge of this revision to iTunes desperately needs to be reassigned. And in the meantime, I need to find a lightweight alternative.