Apples are only good in pie


December 1, 2012 by falcon7204

I’m done with Apple.

Apple released its latest iTunes version a couple of days ago. iTunes 11 is touted as “completely redesigned,” and “makes it easier than ever to browse and organize your music, movies, and TV shows.” (See the entire description at Apple’s iTunes website.)

They were correct about the “completely redesigned” part. It looks a whole lot more like Windows Media Player now, and among the former capabilities that were removed was the Cover Flow functionality. Cover Flow, for the uninitiated (and I wish I was among you) allowed the user to list the songs in the iTunes library by title, artist, or genre, while above was a graphical representation of the albums in the library, which could be shuffled through (kind of like the old Seeburg juke boxes) and the user could locate a desired album quickly, without having to scroll through potentially thousands of songs in the list.

Cover Flow is gone. Kaput. Not coming back, according to Apple.

The other thing that Apple did was redesign the way the library files work, so when you upgrade to iTunes 11 and decide you don’t like it, there’s no going back to iTunes 10.7 unless you kept backup copies of your library files. (It doesn’t change the physical music files, thankfully.)

There are already thousands of comments on the Apple support forums about the loss of Cover Flow. And from what I’ve read, most users are very upset about it. Granted, it’s only a music player, but still.

Apple has done to iTunes what it did to Final Cut – screwed it up completely.

One comment I made regarding the loss of Cover Flow was that the function was the only way many people had to find particular songs and artists. Whether they were unable to read, or had some sort of reading comprehension issue, the albums allowed them to listen to the music they wanted simply by looking for the proper picture. Within hours of my comment, I received a response from a user who goes by the handle of “i8nuitunes:”

Your are not alone.  I’m dyslexic and the new iTunes is giving me a headache, literally.  Total insult to the spirit of Steve Jobs, who would have thought about different user needs before removing such an obviously useful feature as Cover Flow.  Apple will try to write this off as a case of users just being “attached” to an old feature.  Not sure why such “attachment” is a bad thing anyway, but the bottom line is that I’m not “attached” to my right-brain style of processing things.  It’s attached to me, and pictorial interfaces help me deal with that.  Thanks for nothing, Apple.

If you’re reading this and you’re getting headaches too (literally or metaphorically), spread the word.  If my guess is right, there are hundreds of thousands of right-brain people squinting at the new iTunes right now and they could usefully band together somehow.  Not to address some issue of “consumer preference,” but to remind the idiots at Apple, and in the world of interface design more generally, that their customers are not sheep that can be genetically re-engineered.  They’re users, and they need user interfaces they can actually interface with.  Not headaches; I get enough of those already.

So, here’s a thought: How about a software company actually giving some thought to its users and customers before it unravels an application completely? How about ditching the “change for change’s sake” thought process and design something that “just works?” Hey, Apple, didn’t that used to be your selling point?

This is why I own an Android phone. This is why I’m writing this on a Windows PC (although I have my own gripes with Microsoft). This is why I’m ditching iTunes in favor of something like Songbird or Media Monkey. This is why I don’t own Apple stock.

The only apples I’ll have in my house are the ones I put in pies. Goodbye, Apple. Get back with me when you decide to think of your customers instead of your developers.

One thought on “Apples are only good in pie

  1. gold account says:

    users hate the horizontal scroll because NOTHING about a computer is horizontal – but soon, horizontal may be the more natural avenue for navigating. much like turning pages in a book. apple is just preparing our apple using eyes for that, physically natural, order when we start using our finger with the iPhone… and, God willing, a touch surface apple newton or tablet (oh so sweet).

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