The iTunes 10 UI is an abomination

So, iTunes 10 looks like Apple’s college intern office bitch slapped the design together over the weekend while on a bender. What happened to those LEGIONS of UI designers they employ?

Let’s Talk About That Icon

It’s pretty damned terrible. It’s so bad that I don’t even care that the software runs faster than before (and it does). The improved responsiveness has taken a backseat to shame. Ping? HOST UNREACHABLE. It’s an embarrassment to use or to be seen using. Here are two pieces of shitty MS clipart that my wife found in Office 2007 in less than 45 seconds:

These sad eighth notes are all brown notes.

If these two crazy kids tried to get shitty on cheap woodworking glue and Mad Dog 20/20 one weekend and “made an oopsie”, you’d get something that looks a lot like that icon.

Oh, and here’s a serious question: why are the window controls vertical? Chewbacca lives on Endor! It does not make sense! Stylistically and conceptually the whole thing feels clumsy and a bit like an attempt to get “in your face.”

iTunes 10 Window Controls

Almost every damned widget is A) yet again custom to iTunes, not the OS; B) different than it was before. They’re almost all universally ugly. Things that should be buttons are just sort of decal looking sections of the screen and a lot of stuff has tremendously crappy bezels for no real reason.

Uneccesary

Is There Anything They Did Right?

The speaker management window is a tremendous improvement?

This however is a welcome improvement

I think I like this hybrid cover art view they’re pushing for column based browsing.


You Like Third Party Library Servers?

Too bad. iTunes 10 has munged with the DAAP protocol (which, admittedly, is Apple’s protocol, so it’s their right) and broken 3rd party DAAP servers. So, your Drobo, your Synology DiskStation, your Netgear ReadyNAS, and those Western Digital disks that support streaming music? They’re all basically going to need firmware updates when the someone figures out what to patch or change in MT-DAAP (or Firefly, if you prefer) to make it work again; you can make a pretty safe bet that Apple won’t rev the protocol back to help fix this problem.

Final Thoughts

I have to believe that someone, somewhere is laboring away on music library management software that isn’t encumbered by goofy widgets and ridiculous business decisions. It’s probably not coming from the Linux camp (see: Rhythmbox, Banshee, Amarok, Clementine, & Guayadeque for an idea of where they’re reinventing the wheel). Songbird is wrapped in XUL interface hell (never mind technical backend “iffiness”). I think iTunes has been the dominant player in this space (at least in OS X) for so long that no one even bothers trying anymore.

Sigh…

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3 Responses to The iTunes 10 UI is an abomination

  1. Scifinds September 2, 2010 at 2:34 am #

    I guess I will stick with the old version I have until Apple reads this post and makes the necessary changes.

    • Ryan September 2, 2010 at 2:37 am #

      How I so desperately wish I had this power. PS, I’ve updated this post some, if only to end it on a slightly (ever so slightly) less petulant note.

  2. Chip Carson September 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm #

    You forgot that someone from Radio Disney was definitely hired to create this icon. Just look at the activities section on their website. They didn’t even change the color palette.