Wednesday, July 06, 2005

iTunes 4.9 Review

As most into tech now know, Apple released iTunes 4.9 on Tuesday with podcast support. Until iTunes 4.9, I hadn't listened to a single podcast. Sure I knew about them, just didn't have the time to figure this stuff out. iTunes solves all that. The Good
  • Apple updated all iPods to support Podcasts, even back to the original with scroll well. A friend of mine has the click well "brick", and podcast support seems to work here just like in my 4G
  • Subscribing couldn't be simpler, just like buying an album, only free. Same thing with episodes, one-click easy and free
  • Good organization. Searching only works when you have an inkling of an idea as to what you want, good taxonomies can still be helpful.
  • Podcasts in AAC format. Bookmarks, art at bookmarks and links. They make the MP3 podcasts look dated and this is just getting started. Check out Podfinder and New Music Tuesday for example
  • Getting new episodes and synching, just as you would expect, just work, very sweet
  • iPod Integration. With AAC Podcasts, bookmarks are really sweet. Plus you have the show notes if you click on the middle button enough, real nice. And the fact that shows resume from where you left off, exactly like Tivo and what you would expect, is great.
The Bad
  • Glitches abound. Don't get me wrong, these don't detract from subscribing and listening to podcasts, but they still need to be fixed.
  • Podcasts Settings Default. The Keep setting should default to All unplayed episodes. Feels closest to Tivo but recognizing you don't want an episode once it's played, could just be me.
  • Time. How come the Music Store doesn't have time for each podcasts? I don't think this is that important, but it annoyed me.
  • Release Date. This should just work, every episode should have the release date in meta data without issue. Don't know what the problem is here, but needs to be fixed in a lot of podcasts
  • Descriptions. The need to have links. Adam Curry's The Daily Source Code is most in need of this, silly not to have them in the description, even in the pop-up
  • Click on Podcasts in the left on iTunes, the summary data on the bottom says X Songs, this should be X Episodes
  • Subscriptions are locked up on a copy of iTunes. I have 3 different computers, why can't iTunes at least use .Mac to keep them in sync, ideally the iPod. This is the same complaint I have with me having 3 computers and wishing iTunes, via the iPod , kept all the libraries in sync. I would buy so much more music at work if I could just get it immediately.
Conclusion iTunes 4.9 with Podcasts is a great addition to the program, and it really demonstrates Apple's agility. Are all the features you can think of in iTunes 4.9? No, but they don't have to be since the basic functionality is here now and works. Properly prioritizing functionality according to user need is one of Apple's great strengths, I can't wait to see what they add next.