It’s only been a little over two months since Apple released iTunes 11 and it’s been obvious for almost as long that it’s a badly designed program. While it’s been installed on millions upon millions of computers, in terms of Apple’s foundational goal of creating technology that people actually enjoy using, it’s a total failure.
This is a big deal because aside from OS X and iOS, iTunes is the most important piece of software that Apple makes. Over the years the company has grown it from a simple music player to the multimedia platform at the center of nearly all Apple applications, and more than a few PC ones. Apple wants iTunes to be our first and only stop for purchasing and playing audio and video content and synching it to our mobile devices, so when they make a misstep with it, it really matters.
And iTunes 11 is full of missteps. Its designers implemented myriad tweaks to its look and feel, and all of them seem to be mistakes, and pointless ones at that. Why can’t I simply drag a playlist from the sidebar to my iPhone? Why don’t the arrow keys’ track forward/back functionality work like they used to? And why the hell doesn’t it display the running time of albums anymore?