iTunes 7.0 is a Laggard

More info about this image

060918_itunes7.jpgLike every other possibly drooling nerd, I downloaded the latest iTunes release from Apple. For the most part, it’s the biggest upgrade to the software in some years. Probably since the iTunes Music Store was added. My belief is that without iTunes the iPod would be an also-ran. I’m sure you have statistics that tell me otherwise, but without iTunes and it’s tight iPod integration, there would be no compelling reason to use an iPod. Few
seem to get that, but others nail it dead on.

There have been a number of reviews/walkthroughs, tuaw, CNET 7.8/10 and Ars Technica, which if I were to parrot, would cause a hemorrhage or aneurysm or embolism of some kind and a redundancy quotient higher than we’re comfortable with.

060918_graph.jpg

Managing an iPod has never been easier. The iPod tabs get a huge makeover and the visual graph that shows how much space each type of media takes is a great way to instantly see the storage status. If you want to, you can set quotas for whatever you want; more space for music v. videos? No problem. Very nice.

Also very nice is gapless playback. If you have a 5th generation iPod, this works out of the box. There have been reports of it causing problems for Windows users, but I believe if you mess with your crossfade settings, that may be a cure for some users (like turning it off then on again or turning the audio “Sound Enhancer” off then on again).

060918_browse.pngBut then there is the issue of Cover Flow, the whimsical and addictive media cover browser that Apple bought and includes right inside iTunes 7. The only problem is that if you don’t have some killer hardware, it’s slow as shit clicking the new browse buttons. My once snappy iBook with 1.5 gigs of RAM turns into a Commodore VIC-20 with cassette drive. Do any of you people even know what cassettes are? And once I click one of those buttons, the entire interface turns to laggy sludge. Stopping playback, skipping tracks and selecting playlists causes a wait like nothing I’ve seen since at least the first Clinton term.

If you have upgraded to iTunes 7, do you like it? Is it slower than version 6? Does make you want to kick something as hard as you can and then run right to the airport and buy a one way ticket to Cupertino (except that Cupertino might not have an airport serviced by the major carriers so you’d be stuck in San Jose or San Francisco and the traffic, God, the TRAFFIC! making you angrier) where you’ll spend 37 minutes carrying your PowerPC 7200 and it’s 1 gig hard drive into the lobby and hurling it at the first person who walks by resembling Steve Jobs?