Apple recently announced iTunes 9.0 was comin' at us with a raft of cool, new features to make our lives easier. That assumes our lives are unnaturally focused on the care and feeding of our music collections - or at least the part of the collection that sits in iTunes. I sometimes imagine that iTunes is just an elaborate Tamagatchi toy - compelling us to feed, tickle, and stroke our digital music-pets lest they whither and die.
For the most part, the ballyhoo over iTunes 9.0 was lost on me. The new features might be cool, but I would probably just throw them onto the slag heap with all the other iTunes tricks I ignore. The one feature that caught my eye, however, is the new ability to manage iPhone/iTouch applications.
I've longed for a way to easily arranged all my little iTouch apps according to some categories that make sense to me - e.g. Screen 1 would have all the stuff I use everyday, Screen 2 would be games, Screen 3 would be reading material, etc. and whatever. Today this is only possible through spastic finger gestures on the iTouch screen - finger gestures that really don't lend themselves to anything useful other than Primal Scream therapy. The new capability in iTunes would let me do all of the work on my PC, and let iTunes tell iTouch what to do.
Tonight I discovered iTunes 9.0 was ready for me, and I clicked 'yes' to start the upgrade. First off, the new version (including iTouch app management) clocks in at a whopping +100Mb of downloaded software. I have written software for fun and profit for over 25 years - mainframes, mini-computers, PCs - and I cannot recall EVER having developed a piece of software that large. That, in itself, made me suspicious of just what the hell is inside iTunes. It also worried me that something could go wrong. That's a lot of code.
When I clicked 'yes' to install the iTouch app manager feature, nothing happened. It would download, but it would not install. No explanations were given beyond Steve Jobs' assurance that something went wrong. 15 minutes later, I finally coaxed the new software to tell me that it wants a Windows update first. A very specific update.
Mr. Jobs wants quid pro quo from Mr. Gates - and I think with that, I'll just forget the whole thing. It seems like a lot of effort for a stupid Tamagotchi.