Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

iTunes 4.1 for Windows

You probably know by now that Apple iTunes is now available for Windows. Admittedly, only XP and 2000 users get to join in the fun – if you use 95, 98, Me, NT or Server 2003, then you’re seemingly out of luck. But I’m an XP user so I’m okay.

To sum up, here are the pros and cons of the program:


  • Looks gorgeous – the main window is only slightly different from the Mac version and with ClearType font smoothing enabled it looks like a dream. Dialogs use proper XP visual styles too, so they look nice.
  • Quite intuitive to use
  • Built-in crossfader (although longer fade times would be nice – I usually have mine set to 30 seconds whereas iTunes only allows up to 14 secs)
  • Will attempt to play all music at the same volume. A very nice touch.
  • Sound enhancer looks interesting
  • Doesn’t occupy that much disk space.


  • CPU and memory usage – while playing in the background it can sometimes demand as much as 33% of the CPU on my machine (which meets the minimum requirements for the application). Constantly needs at least 6MB of memory and typically more like 10MB. Peak memory usage was not far off 40MB.
  • Also, it seems to leak memory quite badly.
  • No support for Ogg Vorbis. Why not? It’s a free, open, cross-platform format.
  • 20MB download – takes at least an hour for us poor souls on dial-up. That could easily be reduced if BloatShield InstallShield wasn’t used as the installer and if QuickTime 6.4 wasn’t included – a lot of people already have QuickTime and it could easily be downloaded separately. Without those two it could have been a mere 10MB, if that, by my reckoning.
  • Installs a variety of services for CD-RW and iPod support. Great, but I have neither, and they’re only using up memory. What’s worse is that they have to be disabled manually. Also, both iTunes and QuickTime install background helper apps without asking whether I wanted them, and QuickTime magically forgets that I don’t want its helper app whenever I update it.
  • Help could be made a bit more accessible, like providing context-sensitive help in dialogs and putting a link on the Start Menu.
  • Added: Thanks to Dave’s comment I remembered another few gripes. The first is that you can only resize the window using the handle in the bottom right – you can’t drag any edge of the window like, well, any other Windows program.
  • The maximise button doesn’t maximise, it only switches it between ‘full’ and ‘compact’ – if you want to maximise it you have to enlarge it using that annoying handle…
  • Macs may only have one button-mice (a silly thing in my mind) but most PCs have at least two buttons, usually three and perhaps more. Introducing a context menu would make the program so much more useful.It does have a context menu, my mistake. But it could be made much more useful.

I am quite impressed at iTunes but I think it has some way to go before I’ll use it in favour of dBpowerAMP, my current favourite. Support for Ogg seems to be quite a glaring omission in both the PC and Mac versions, considering that almost all players now either support it natively or through a plugin.


  1. You forgot one “con”. It doesn’t follow Window’s UI guidelines. To change the size of the window, you HAVE to go to the lower right corner and drag it around. That “feature” in Mac’s OS has always annoyed me. What harm is there in allowing a user to adjust the size of a window from any location?
    Also, iTunes still uses that horrible brushed metal look that everyone INCLUDING Mac people hate. You would think that they would have done something about that by now… πŸ™‚
    One other thing that I don’t like about it. Up until about 4am last night, I was under the impression that you couldn’t “preview” a song before buying it. I read in Leo Laporte’s Leoville forums that you double click the song in order to get a 30 second preview. I supposed that was supposed to be obvious in some way since there is no other way to get a preview other than double clicking a song you haven’t purchased yet. I suppose I would have found it if I had dug through the documentation or something. However, putting an entry in the context-sensitive menu (right-click) that let you play the 30 second preview, wouldn’t have killed anyone either. πŸ™‚
    Other than that, I am going to be putting my house up for sale in about a month after I wind up buying half of the iTunes Music Store now that I have access to it. I have already bought an album and a song, and have a “wish list” a mile long. My goal is to replace all the “KaZaa’d” songs with purchased songs, if I can find them all. Apple’s goal of 100,000,000 songs sold by April 28, 2004 shouldn’t be that hard of a goal to achive. Just think how much money the RIAA would have made by now if they had just worked something out with Napster… $100,000,000 a year is a huge amount of money. It could have been a ton more if they had just started with iTunes for Mac and Windows back when it first started…

  2. Dave, I like the brushed metal look, so dont assume everyone hates it πŸ™‚
    As for Ogg support, this is where Apple tends to be stubborn. They usually only support the standards they like (in this case AAC). The only way to change Apple’s opinion historically speaking is to submit comments asking for them to add Ogg support. If enough requests are made, Apple will give likely give in. However, the way the iPod syncs with this software would require apple to add ogg support on the iPod as well, which would probably take more time then adding it to iTunes.
    The QuickTime issue was done because Apple likes to make things easy. The newest version of QuickTime is required for the Music Store, and Apple doesn’t want to confuse people or make it any harder to install when they don’t have 6.4.

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  4. I’m not going to download it yet, if I do, I know I’ll start craving an iPod.

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