iTunes 11 is out for Windows, sucks way less

I generally don’t mind using most Apple software. Heck, I quite like some of it. There is one glaring exception, though: iTunes for Windows. I only use iTunes to purchase music, and the experience is still atrocious every timeβ€”long load times, an unintuitive mess of an interface, and more rough edges than a pile of rocks.

Well, iTunes 11 came out late yesterday. Much to my surprise, the Windows version is actually a huge improvement over previous releases. The interface has gotten a makeover and is substantially more streamlined and elegant. Hiding the menu bar makes some features harder to access, but the leap in usability is sizable and very palpable nevertheless.

Not only that, but the thing actually loads quickly now. It opens as fast as any regular program, and jumping back and forth between the iTunes Store and the media library is quick and snappy. Before, doing those things would make my PC hang, even though I’ve got a quad-core processor and a reasonably fast solid-state drive playing host to my Windows installation and applications.

I’m still going to use Foobar2000 for music playback, since I’m too comfortable with the interface to switch. Still, I’m pleasantly surprised that Apple finally managed to make iTunes for Windows relatively painless to use. Kudos.

Comments closed
    • Grape Flavor
    • 7 years ago

    I dunno, Xbox Music is pretty nice, and the 6-month unlimited streaming trial is a sweet deal. I don’t see the advantage for a Windows user in tying themselves to an Apple product that is never going to recieve equal treatment to the versions on Apple’s own hardware.

    Unless you’re already invested into Apple systems of course, or are still resisting Windows 8, which I can tell is a fair number around here. πŸ™‚

    • pedro
    • 7 years ago

    Could never go back.

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    and yet here i am, still using winamp 15 years later.

      • fishyuk
      • 7 years ago

      Oh, the memories though you’ve made me feel old…which I guess I am now…bah!

      • LoneWolf15
      • 7 years ago

      If WinAmp worked with newer iPods, I’d still be using it myself.

    • brucethemoose
    • 7 years ago

    I only use iTunes to /update/sync/backup my iPhone, nothing else, so this is a welcome change. But there are still far better ways to get music, organize it, and listen to it.

    • hoboGeek
    • 7 years ago

    In my opinion, Apple made this program work so bad on Windows just to give users enough incentive to buy a Mac. So it’s a matter of choosing a PC or a device… This is the way I see it.
    I decided to keep my PC; I have an Android phone, I don’t even need a specific program to load my music on my device. It’s a simple file transfer process. And my phone doesn’t require signing up for a specific plan. In Canada, the cheapest iPhone plan is around 65 $ / month, and doesn’t give you much 3g data.
    I pay 25 / month and I have voice/text/data unlimited in the city.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      I pay $65 a month for unlimited across Canada data/voice/text/video messaging, caller ID, 150 long distance minutes (unlimited to other Sasktel customers regardless where they are). (Actually a bit cheaper in my case as it is bundled with my other Sasktel services).

    • kvndoom
    • 7 years ago

    itunes serves exactly one purpose on my computer: transfer music playlists to my ipod. The other 99.999% of the time it is never used.

      • heavychemist
      • 7 years ago

      Same here. If I could load music onto my Ipod without it, I would never use iTunes.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 7 years ago

        There are a few third party programs that can do it nowadays

        • Darkmage
        • 7 years ago

        I use MediaMonkey to manage my playlists between my Android phone & tablet, iPod Touch and Sansa Mp3 player.

        It’s not without flaws, but it’s a one stop shop.

    • R2P2
    • 7 years ago

    I’m disappointed by the lack of Spinal Tap references in the coverage I’ve seen of this. I mean, c’mon, how do you miss “iTunes GOES TO 11”?!

    • apertur3
    • 7 years ago

    Another FB2K devotee here πŸ˜‰ But glad to see they are making progress.

    • djw39
    • 7 years ago

    Everyone is saying how much faster this version is, but for me scrolling through the “Albums” view with all the cover art is incredibly choppy. CPU (Core 2 Duo 3.3 GHz E8600) is 100% maxed out, and GPU unused. Is anyone else seeing this? Know of a setting I should flip?

      • fishyuk
      • 7 years ago

      Ditto, I still have some HD content purchased from itunes a while back I can’t play on my AMD Fusion APU system. Installed 11 in the hope GPU acceleration would be enabled but still choppy as hell. HD content plays fine in Arcsoft, Media Center etc etc.

      If there is a setting I’ve missed then would love to know it. I don’t have any iProducts anymore so dont’ buy from them (and wouldn’t unless it would play) but would love to watch some of my existing stuff.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t know about the windows version but 11 is extremely snappy on the old Mac Mini 2006 with Intel GMA 950 graphics and a Core 2 Duo @ 2Ghz running OS X 10.7.5.

      Is it possible that iTunes is still updating your library after the upgrade?

      • adisor19
      • 7 years ago

      That sounds like 3D acceleration is not used.. which would be a fail from Apple if that’s the case.

      Adi

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        wtf?! why are you being so reasonable?

          • rrr
          • 7 years ago

          Using “Apple” and “fail” in the same sentence makes anyone seem reasonable.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            Ugh fanboys.

        • fishyuk
        • 7 years ago

        Yep, it doesn’t seem to use the GPU even in 11 which I was hoping for. Of course any Mac will have a core or better CPu so no issue. Just a shame, my box was running home server, hence the low power CPU and it wouldn’t handle HD as the server OS didn’t leverage the drivers. I’ve since switched it to Windows 8 (still technically my home server) and it runs HD perfectly in everything barring itunes due to GPU acceleration. Know its not an Apple priority but wish there was a way to enable it. Want to watch S4 of Galactica I bought back when I had an iPad

    • Darkmage
    • 7 years ago

    Apple developers are just not Windows developers. iTunes on Windows was always the weak link in the ecosystem.

    I’m encouraged that they finally got their poop in a group and released a version that has acceptable performance. I’m still not going to use it, but I am encouraged.

      • Washer
      • 7 years ago

      Apple developers are who they hire. iTunes has been available for Windows for years, Apple knows the majority of their iPod/iPhone/iPad owners are Windows users. Why not hire people experienced in Windows development to improve their experience?

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]Apple developers are who they hire.[/quote<] Balderdash, the vast majority of Apple developers they hire are your typical .NET monkey that they retrain on site. If they had previous apple experience that is a plus.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          then why does it suck so much?

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Because they hire trained window developers of course.

          • Washer
          • 7 years ago

          I should have said “Apple’s developers…”. I was referring to the people Apple hires being exactly that… who they hire. Apple can choose to hire developers experienced in their own platforms or experienced Windows developers.

          Your statement makes little sense though. I’m doubtful Apple is hiring substandard talent. Why would they? There’s almost certainly a waiting list of top flight candidates wanting a job. Even more… it really makes me confused why Apple’s Windows software sucks if they’re hiring developers experienced with Windows. (Unless low quality Windows software is desired. Which I bet it is. Which would be standard Apple behavior. Behavior I refuse to support.)

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            we agree!

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]Your statement makes little sense though. I'm doubtful Apple is hiring substandard talent.[/quote<] They are not hiring substandard developers. One of big issues that they are using non windows tools to develop for windows and windows API's. It's a lot like a developer trying to port a PS3 game over to Windows. More times then not those results are not favorable.

        • Darkmage
        • 7 years ago

        It’s probably along the lines of it being really expensive to hire a decently large team of top-notch Windows developers to only work on duplicating functionality on one application. Besides, why not gently push people into investing in the rest of your ecosystem by showing how much better the experience is with Apple products? Remember all the tweaks Adobe used to make to Photoshop that would make the performance worse on Windows?

        When new firmware came out for my iPod Touch, iTunes would consistently fail to flash the device properly. At least three times in a row I had to make an appointment at the Genius Bar and have them flash the iPod from a Mac laptop. (I lost my songs in the process, until the next sync) I had one of the “geniuses” recommend that I purchase a Macbook so I wouldn’t have these flashing problems.

        Yeah, I’m [b<]totally[/b<] going to buy a $1000 laptop so I can upgrade my $200 mp3 player...

    • superjawes
    • 7 years ago

    Did Microsoft inadvertently create a meme with that IE commercial?

    I’m okay with this.

    “[Thing] SUCKS!!!…less.”

      • BIF
      • 7 years ago

      Oh God I hope not!

      This meme is ALREADY tiring me out. Like a Seinfeld episode about bodily functions. Stop it now please! πŸ™

    • vargis14
    • 7 years ago

    Well I had to upgrade all our aging 3gs phones, so i grabbed 2 i phone 5s for me and the wife and a 4s for mom.
    Just so happens last night after i got back from getting the phones i installed the latest itunes. Just so happens it was 11. Will take a bit of getting used to but so far me like:)

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    iTunes SUCKS!!

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      I see a guerrilla marketing campaign with some geek posting all about how much iTunes sucks and stuff.

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<] Still, I'm pleasantly surprised that Apple finally managed to make iTunes for Windows relatively painless to use [/quote<] only in the rdf do we give the largest company in the world props for doing what a small team of nerds are able to do (develop a light weight media player, for examples see the dozens that are out there)

      • trackerben
      • 7 years ago

      iTunes also does a load of DRM-related tasks which don’t concern open developers. Apple’s middleware was always a pain to use and is the main reason why I avoided all their media gear until the iPad came out. Let’s hope this latest iteration is the real goods.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        what’s your point? so does zune, and it runs great. their software WAS garbage, and it should have been fixed years ago.

          • trackerben
          • 7 years ago

          Commercial platforms are burdened with many forms and levels of DRM operation which open developers don’t have to deal with. This is an advantage which Apple’s commercial developers don’t have, but then again they do enjoy RDF shielding for their occasional lapses. Zune had mostly better hardware than software and we’ll never know now how Microsoft could have improved things as Apple appears to be belatedly doing.

          • Beelzebubba9
          • 7 years ago

          How was the Zune software on OS X or Linux?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            obviously not available, not that it’s relevant.

            you are ACTUALLY going to defend itunes performance or the lack of fixes that it should have had?!? SERIOUSLY?!!?!?

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            To be honest I can’t really defend iTunes on Windows because it is slow and shitty and I refused to use it until I got iTunes match and installed it on my work PC so I could stream my music easily.

            But the bigger point to be made is that the Microsoft software I’ve used on OS X – both Office and MSTSC specifically – are way, way, shittier than they are on the native platform. It seems to me that neither company is deeply interested in heavily changing their software development process to account for the requirements of their competitors OS.

            • PixelArmy
            • 7 years ago

            The iPod didn’t really take off until it was truly Windows compatible (not the only reason, but a big one). That was what, Gen 3?

            The % of Windows iTunes users is likely a huge % of all iTunes users.
            The % of Mac Office users is likely a tiny % of all Office users.

            It is reasonable to have expected better support from Apple for Windows iTunes than from MS for Mac Office.

            • Beelzebubba9
            • 7 years ago

            Reasonable points. πŸ™‚

            • adisor19
            • 7 years ago

            In MS’s defense, the new Outlook for Mac is written in Cocoa and is a league above better in quality compared to the other MS Office programs for OS X. When they put an effort in it, it seems to pay. Key word : when.

            Adi

        • Washer
        • 7 years ago

        Complete nonsense. Both the characterization that open source developers and applications don’t handle DRM tasks, and the characterization that those tasks are demanding enough to cause iTunes performance issues. Yeah… only if you’re intentionally not supporting development. iTunes does nothing beyond what many other programs do and those programs have always been much better performing than iTunes for Windows.

        There’s no defense for Apple taking this long to improve iTunes for Windows. It was clearly a internal decision to not support the application. In turn that’s meant years of substandard service to a significant (majority even) portion of Apple’s iTunes users. Why people defend Apple practices is beyond me.

          • trackerben
          • 7 years ago

          iTunes does one thing other media players don’t, it also performs as a conduit gateway to Apple hardware. There is unusually tight programmatic coupling between a Windows host and connected iOS devices. Many functions in iTunes do not even expose themselves if a device isn’t attached. But once one is then iTunes and its related services usually begin to drag and become operationally unresponsive at times.

          I’ve always suspected that in addition to initializing file and media i/o, iTunes is also surveying and inventorying app and media locations for whatever content it could find in order to record an ongoing DRM profile of my system. I could be wrong about this sly behavior. But whatever else it might be doing, surely this is unique to the operations Apple has defined in its iTunes app.

          I’m not defending iTunes’ unsatisfactory performance or Apple’s technical or policy incapacity to deliver good middleware. The market decides whether their approach is viable in the long run. For now it has allowed mindshare for the mediocre software so long as the hardware side is brilliantly competitive.

            • Washer
            • 7 years ago

            Even if what you’re suggesting was the case none of it should result in the application becoming slow or unresponsive. It’s worth noting that this issue is pretty much limited to the Windows release for iTunes. Which is the biggest issue here… Apple has clearly been capable of producing a reasonable performing version of iTunes. They have made decisions to put that off for ages and that is despite the iTunes for Windows release almost certainly being the most popular version of iTunes. There’s no excuse. Clearly… given that they were able to fix the issue.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            exactly

      • End User
      • 7 years ago

      Microsoft has taken the RDF crown from Apple -> “Windows 8 is doing great!” The problem is nobody believes them. In classic Microsoft fashion they have copied an industry leader but have dropped the ball on the implementation. Microsoft’s death spiral has begun.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        begun? no. it started years ago. and it’ll turn around in a while, just like apples. and then they’ll fall again. welcome to the business cycle.

        • Grape Flavor
        • 7 years ago

        Copy Apple? lol, Metro doesn’t resemble iOS hardly at all, if anything, Android is the copy here.

        Unless by “copy Apple” you mean pivoting towards tablets and touch, which anyone in touch with current trends would see as a very necessary move.

        If MS fails it will be because they’re too little, too late. The surest route to irrelevancy would have been to listen to delusional people on tech sites who are terrified of change and are still in denial about tablets and mobile.

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