OK, I'll stop ranting about OS X now, and rather think constructively. It's no help in having yet another twit barging about whats wrong with an OS without trying to solve the problem too. I will try to make a list of improvements to OS X and its default applications that would make me more comfortable to recommend Mac to more inexperienced users instead of Windows. Which I really would like to, because it's a better OS in so many ways, but not in too many others.

I think I'll make this a series of posts and not one gargantuan, and rather take one application at a time. And naturally I will start with iTunes. I chose iTunes because I have the latest version, and is quite sure my problems are not fixed in a release until a few weeks ago. On later posts, I may talk about applications in non-most-recent versions of OS X, as I still use Tiger...

I have iTunes 7.6.1 (9), running on OS X 10.4.7 Tiger.

But iTunes. iTunes is a multimedia application trying to merge all listening of music, watching of music videos, online TV shows and radio via podcasts, and movies. Quite a lot to strive for of one application, but they have done a quite nice job there. I will propose some improvements on default behavior, some may which have been solved in plugins or secondary apps. I want this in the default iTunes.

  • Improvement #1: Artwork
    In my opinion, album artwork should be available without an iTunes stores account.
  • Improvement #2: Multiple Collections
    Since I have a rather large music collection of many artists and albums, I would like to separate my collections. I have a removable HD of 500 MB where most of the music lies, and music videos, movies etc. And a way to "annotate" a collection with what it contains. E.G. my video collection would be imported as "Music Videos" not "Movies".
    - Take inspiration from Amarok. They have done a great work with collection, although as s single one.
  • Improvement #3: Collection
    File Management When managing files in a collection, I would like to set how to manage my files ad folders. E.G. I want to a) Keep files within same collection, no move to central repository. b) Be able to set folder structure manually, e.g.
    {$COLLECITON}/{$ARTIST|limit:1}/{$ARTIST}/{$ALBUM}/{$TRACK - }{$TITLE}.mp3.
  • Improvement #4: Ringtones
    I see no reason why ringtones (for my iPhone) must have been bought in iTunes store. As a member of a musical family, I might want self made music into ringtones, or to convert from a rare CD (or even LP) i have to ringtones.
  • Improvement #5: Music File Format
    There are many file formats out there. And I miss native OGG and FLAC support for iTunes (and iPod and iPhone). Another good thing would be DivX, and DVD .VOB. Secondary fix would be to change the quite disappointing "File is not a video file." error message into "File is not in a supported video format.". At least when I have another program that reads the file without any problems (see MPlayer). The same goes for Quicktime Player. I actually feel ashamed on behalf of Apple, when the renegade open source applications beat the heck out of Apple in multimedia file support...
  • Improvement #6: Album View
    Album view of a series of "unknown" albums are separated into each "album", which takes much more visible space than anthing else. I propose to treat "unknown album" as the same album for a given artist. So instead of seeing two albums with songs, and five "unknown albums" with one song each, merge those "unknown" to one.
  • Improvement #7: Missing Files Detection
    If in an online collection, a file is missing, iTunes should be able to recognize that as that file has been removed, and should be removed from the cached collection.

That is all I have for now. All in all, iTunes is a good application, but with these changes, I would really start to like it too, and stop irritating myself over what I feel is lacking. I thought of writing about iPhoto next time, but that has been removed from the default installation of OS X. But I will find another application. On the list is:

  • Finder and file management.
  • Preview and image collections on Mac.
  • Calendar and Address Book management.
  • iPhone and iPod Touch interaction with Mac and the Internet.