iTunes 10

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KB
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Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:16 am Post

Just downloaded iTunes 10... What... the... heck?

I know Apple likes to go against its own Interface Guidelines to keep "cutting edge" or something, but iTunes is now the most horrible interface on my Mac! To whit:

• The new application icon. Okay, I understand why they did away with the CD, but the replacement looks like something from ten years ago, and really cheap. Still, I'm in a glass house there, as half the users hate the Scrivener icon too, so I can live with this one. No one will ever agree about an icon.

• The zoom/minimise/close buttons. What on earth...? Why are they vertical? Having them vertical in itself is neither here nor there - I don't think either vertical or horizontal is better - but this goes against every other Mac application and sticks out like a sore thumb.

• The column headers. These are just horrible. Concave shading instead of convex with only half a divider between each.

• Disclosure triangles replaced with "Show/Hide" rollovers. There used to be a disclosure triangle next to the headers in the source list "SHARED", "GENIUS" etc - so that you could close them. These are no gone. Instead, a "Show" or "Hide" button appears when you rollover each one. There are two things wrong with this: 1) It hides a part of the interface and therefore functionality which should really be obvious at-a-glance; 2) It relies on text rather than an icon, which I was always led to believe was wrong in good UI design.

• The all-grey icons. I could live with everything else, just about, but the all-grey icons are such a bad idea that it seems inconceivable this interface was put together by Apple, who usually design the best interfaces out there bar none. It's no longer possible to find what you are after with a quick glance, which is the whole point of colour - having different coloured icons means that you can look in the general direction of the part of the list you are after and have your eye drawn to the colour you associate with the icon for the feature you want. No longer. Now I have to spend time actually looking at each icon consciously (or reading the text next to it) rather than knowing immediately which icon I'm after because of the position-shape-colour association in my brain - now it's all down to the shape.

Fortunately, there is a description of how to restore the interface to a better iteration here:

http://blogs.computerworld.com/16879/fi ... ace_issues

I guess I'll be going through that later.

What do other people think? It probably seems silly to get upset over an interface, but this one has really baffled me - I just do not understand the thinking behind any of these changes. I suppose it looks nice and swish in a screenshot, perhaps, but at the expense of so much functionality.

All the best,
Keith

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AndreasE
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Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:39 am Post

OK. I'm warned. I just upgraded recently to iTunes 9.2 and was rather underwhelmed by what had changed. I instantly missed the triangle that showed/hided the covers, and I have yet to find something worth the change. Actually, I'd rather go back to the version before if I knew how to do that.

So, I'll skip iTunes 10. Thanks for the warning. :evil:

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Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:58 am Post

Think "windows users". From what I can tell iTunes is starting to regress to the lowest common denominator when it comes to compromising for cross platform compatibility. So go to your local "computer store" (which in the US is likely a Walmart" but I don't know what the equivalent is there in the UK) and look at a Win7 system. Suddenly it all makes sense.
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Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:19 pm Post

http://erambert.me/itunes-109/VIDEO-TUTORIAL.mov
http://erambert.me/itunes-109/

This is a UI modification/hack for iTunes 10 for those who like the old interface better (download link is that grayish Mac icon on the right :roll: )
Last edited by signinstranger on Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sun Sep 05, 2010 12:36 pm Post

AndreasE wrote:I just upgraded recently to iTunes 9.2 and was rather underwhelmed ... I'd rather go back to the version before if I knew how to do that.


Me too.

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Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:49 pm Post

Jaysen wrote:Think "windows users". From what I can tell iTunes is starting to regress to the lowest common denominator when it comes to compromising for cross platform compatibility. So go to your local "computer store" (which in the US is likely a Walmart" but I don't know what the equivalent is there in the UK) and look at a Win7 system. Suddenly it all makes sense.


Mmm. Unlikely.

Most Windows users regard iTunes as the worst UI ever excreted onto the platform. This has never bothered Apple before, so I don't see why they should suddenly start caring now.

Making the buttons vertical has shaved a good few pixels from the title bar, which has, in turn, allowed them to make the volume control a little bit easier to hit with a mouse (and perhaps a finger). The grey scale icons I can't say I really noticed, but hasn't Apple long held the view that garish colours distract the users? The muted colours remind me more of NeXTStep than Windows; I think that's where the influence is coming from.
Last edited by Rayz on Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sun Sep 05, 2010 3:51 pm Post

This is all the interface I want or need from a music player:

Image


That iTunes can barely even be used on a 15" MacBook Pro for all of the monstrous screen width it requires to be functional is... really kind of pathetic. But that is nothing new. iTunes was synonymous with the Play-Doh of music players since version 1, and has been Apple's vanguard of dumb interface decisions for ages now. I've grown to expect each new version to be comically bad, and progressively worse than any other version that has ever come before.

You still can't load an album or do anything other than pause and play, with the standard player. You have to expand the interface to the whole library view to change a track. Brilliance.
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Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:03 pm Post

AmberV wrote:This is all the interface I want or need from a music player:

Image


That iTunes can barely even be used on a 15" MacBook Pro for all of the monstrous screen width it requires to be functional is... really kind of pathetic. But that is nothing new. iTunes was synonymous with the Play-Doh of music players since version 1, and has been Apple's vanguard of dumb interface decisions for ages now. I've grown to expect each new version to be comically bad, and progressively worse than any other version that has ever come before.

You still can't load an album or do anything other than pause and play, with the standard player. You have to expand the interface to the whole library view to change a track. Brilliance.


Yup. It's always been a bit of a train wreck.
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Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:49 am Post

I decided to skip this version after watching the keynote and for the first time thinking that Mr. Jobs looked sick, tired, and not convinced that he had anything good to sell. Take a rest, Steve, and also more nourishment!

Every one of the products underwhelmed me, including the new ATV, which is cheap but has no storage, while a Roku-XR player offers far more services, for less cost. Today I upgraded an AppleTV with software called ATVFlash; it adds full Internet browsing and many web-streaming channels. Time to say bye to the cable TV company.

But the feature in iTunes 10 that really turned me off is PING. I've spent a lifetime building up musical tastes and interests that I enjoy. Do I want to share them with others? No. Go build your own interests; it's called privacy and enjoy it. The whole social network phenom leaves me quite cold.

BTW, I've found over and over that it's faster and cheaper to buy new music from Amazon. They beat iTunes on most singles and nearly always on album price. And their mp3s play fine on iTunes. For now, I'm sticking with 9.2.1 until they make 10 into a better Apple product.

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Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:20 am Post

If it eases your mind, Ping is not enabled by default, same with the Genius feature (you had to opt-in with that one too), which is either clueless or laughably incorrect.

Do agree on Amazon though. I'll sometimes search using iTunes, but once I find something I'll look it up on Amazon and buy it there. It's generally about a dollar or so cheaper, and considering that they give you MP3s, they product is incalculably more valuable as it will long outlive any corporation.
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Mon Sep 06, 2010 7:06 am Post

Same here. Always buy on Amazon now. Much cheaper and the special purchase offers mean you can get a lot of single tracks for free.
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Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:48 am Post

As I've said on another thread, I don't get hot under the collar about interface and button icon changes in general, so I have no objection to this version from that point of view. I'm not keen on the new dock icon, as it doesn't stand out so much. I have my dock hidden on the right, with the icons pretty small, so it doesn't take up much screen-space and I don't keep running my mouse over there by accident. But it means I like the icons to be pretty clear, and this one's not.

Ping? What on earth's the point? I suppose if you're one of those people who feel it's important to build a "web-personality" as if having a global image is something essential ... to them I would say "Try getting a real life!" So it won't be turned on, any more than Genius is. I could wish they had made a way to remove it from the pane, but it's ignorable.

I have the columns of the main screen strictly reduced, even on the MBP 17" ... I never look at the other information. As for the mini-player, while I can see that being able to change to another track without opening the full screen might be useful to those who do that often, I can't actually think when I have done that, so it doesn't affect me. In fact I typically listen to music with iTunes hidden. On the other hand, the WinAmp interface I think is horrible ... I guess I like minimalist and am happy to go to the full screen if I need more.

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Mon Sep 06, 2010 3:56 pm Post

And there's no rollover/hide option for the Store - that's irritating.

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Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:26 pm Post

Glad I refused the update.

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Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:22 am Post

While I may be one of the few people on the planet that actually likes iTunes, I agree with every single thing Keith said. I could just about live with the changes except for the ugly, confusing, retrograde, all-grey icons.

When I get home, I'll be checking out the links for returning to the previous look. Or at least to return to colour (and maybe "proper" zoom/minimise/close buttons).

If anyone knows of a reasonable rationale (heck, any rationale) for the UI changes, please post. As Keith explained so well, its hard to understand these changes. :?
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