Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

iTunes 5.0

So yeah, iTunes 5 is out. I’ve given it a spin on both the Mac and the laptop, so here’s my rundown:

Searching
The new search feature is nice. I don’t know how much I’ll use it but I suppose if you have a huge iTunes library it might be handy. incidentally the toolbar that pops up is standard across many Mac apps in Tiger, and a find tool that works in a similar way to the iTunes tool is integrated into all of the open/save dialogs.
Parental Controls
Not a parent so this doesn’t really interest me. You can use it to block access to the music store or podcast menu, or to allow access but block out an ‘explicit’ content, in case you’d prefer that your child didn’t learn how to pimp ho’s and crash some charlie from his/her homies, yo. You can also disable music sharing so that you can hide all those naughty songs on your computer and keep your offspring all sweet and innocent. The settings can be locked using an administrator account and the feature works much the same on both platforms.
Windows synchronisation
Until now Windows users with iPods have been unable to use iTunes to automatically synchronise their contacts and calendar (though Apple’s use of open standards has meant that an array of third-party tools have appeared offering this already). The Windows version can now synchronise with Outlook or Outlook Express. But not Thunderbird. Which makes it a bit useless for me. The Mac version also doesn’t support Entourage, or Thunderbird, or any mail client other than Mail, really.
The Interface
Let me make this clear: I’m not a fan of the new interface in iTunes 5. I liked the brushed-metal look of the 4.x series that is common with many other Mac apps, however Apple have changed it. It’s still metallic, but not brushed, and more squared-off. I suppose there’s less ‘wasted’ space in the new version but it also looks a bit more cramped now, and doesn’t really match in with any other Mac app I’ve tried – Camino is probably the only exception, and that’s not even an Apple product. It looks a bit better on Windows, where image is less of an issue, but I still don’t like the integration of the menu bar into the title bar. Still, the new look makes little sense when you consider that Apple have just officially launched QuickTime 7.x for Windows which looks almost exactly like iTunes 4.x. Dave2 agrees with me with regards to the interface though t’other Dave does not. I suppose it’s up to personal preference, really, but I’d prefer the 4.x look back.
Lyrics
Didn’t see this until Dave2 pointed it out, but you can now add lyrics to a file. And as Dave says, it’s only going to be a matter of time before someone writes an app that adds the lyrics in automatically.
QuickTime 7
The Windows bundle includes QuickTime 7, hence the huge size of the download. It is nice but what I don’t like is how Apple has added all the options that would appear in QuickTime Pro, but greyed them out. However, because Apple have used their own menu-drawing code, instead of the native Windows code (which they do use in iTunes), you can actually click on these options, even though they’re greyed out, and get a QuickTime Pro sales pitch. That said, the interface is nicer, as is the QuickTime control panel, though I still wish it wouldn’t set it to run on startup every frickin’ time I upgrade them damn thing. No means no, alright? Same with the Quick Launch icon.

While I’m in a general Apple-style area, I have to say I’m impressed with the iPod Nano’s pricing. In the UK it’ll be £139 – the same as a 4GB iPod Mini (which you can still buy from the Apple store if you search for it). Sure, you only get 2GB instead of 4GB, but you do get a colour screen, the ability to view photos, a couple of extra applets like a world clock, and a device that is about 1/3rd of the size. The 4GB iPod Nano is £179, or £10 more than the 6GB iPod Mini. If I had some spare cash, I’d probably consider the 2GB model but right now I’ll bottle up my envy and stick with my Mini.

19 Comments

  1. I’m not so sure about it… Most of it seems like last minute after thoughts. Like the placement of the volume controls, the god awful rounded corners and the minimised player. I’ve reverted back to 4.9 already

  2. I’ll just stick to my beloved Winamp :d

  3. These bullets are for you!

    Okay, lots of things have happened recently, so I’m doing another bullet point post.
    This post covers various things; in a list of bullet points.

  4. I am very happy that Apple removed that brushed metal look. I really didn’t like it.
    Thanks for the review. I didn’t know about the new search features. That “will” be helpful with my library of over 10,000 tracks and more being loaded into iTunes every day. Not all are going to the iPod, but I rotate audiobook/podcast content as I want to listen to them so I don’t waste space for music. 🙂

  5. I like the new iTunes interface updates. I think the UI is a little more well thought out and less cluttered compared to 4.9. I don’t think it is ugly (it is different though), but I can see why people don’t like it.
    Especially when Apple has about 3-4 difference interfaces now for OS X and its apps. Makes no sense really. Stick with something will ya? Don’t care what really, just be consistant.

  6. I just can’t resist that sleek little Nano. The iPod mini had no appeal to me (I also didn’t trust its hard drive), but this… ooooooh baby.
    The hardest part is deciding black or white. I’ll look at both but I’m leaning toward black. I’m picking mine up tonight. I’ll let you know what I think of it.

  7. I think it looks better on Windows than 4.x did. However, I just don’t see why iTunes can’t just use (or have an option to use) standard windows widgets and such.
    Drawing apple-style scrollbars and such makes the program run much slower than it needs to, and it gets annoying on an older PC.

  8. I actually like iTunes 5, except that it doesn’t appear to have the option to leave the iPod icons in the list when not connected so you can manage the playlists to be sync’d (for Shuffle or Nano). Did they move it?
    As for the nano… damn I love mine. The only issue is it appears the dock connector doesn’t play sound like it’s supposed to, so I think I just got a defective unit which I’ll exchange for a good one. Other than that, I’m very pleased with it!

  9. Oh, one thing I have found out, to my annoyance…
    Part of the install bloat (apart from QuickTime 7) is it installs Bonjour, with no way to uninstall it
    Pesky, sneaky Apple…

  10. What’s “Bonjour?”

  11. OK, It looks like it’s Apple’s new Rendezvous technoledgy.

    Bonjour, also known as zero-configuration networking, enables automatic discovery of computers, devices, and services on IP networks. Bonjour uses industry standard IP protocols to allow devices to automatically discover each other without the need to enter IP addresses or configure DNS servers.

    And Windows needs this why?

  12. > And Windows needs this why?
    So that gadgets like the [Roku Soundbridge](http://www.rokulabs.com/products/soundbridge/index.php) can share the iTunes library without resorting to the nightmare of Windows Media Connect.

  13. The only thing I can’t work out is the facility for Windows Users to sync iPods with Outlook or Outlook Express. Can you enlighten me?
    I’m seriously tempted by an iPod Nano.

  14. Sian: Go to Edit, Preferences, and select iPod (you’ll need it plugged in). It should be on there – certainly the equivalent options on the Mac are.
    Dave: Rendezvous/Bonjour is supposed to help make network shares and printers easier to find and connect to. I’m not entirely convinced that it does, though.
    iTunes also uses it for finding shared libraries on other machines, though in the past it had its own Bonjour runtime libraries and didn’t require it to be fully installed.
    As for removing it, try downloading the Windows binary and then uninstalling it. Dunno if it’ll work but it’s worth a try.

  15. Yes, I know what Bonjour is. I don’t see why it needs to be added to an already fat OS. Apple needs to keep some of it’s technologies to itself unless the user *WANT’S* it. iTunes discovered other instances on the net just fine before Bonjour (fine if it was partially installed as part of iTunes), we don’t need the full package.

  16. Just disable the Bonjour service in Windows. Go to Start, Control Panel, Administrative Tools, Services. Find Bonjour and disable it.

  17. If you do uninstall Bonjour… iTunes gets b0rked really quickly, like refusing to open b0rked. Thats kinda sucky IMO

  18. I just disabled the service, removed the Namespaces for Winsock2 in the registry (searched for mdnsNSP.dll) and then removed the C:\Program Files\Bonjour directory completely. I wonder if there’s leftovers…

  19. Hi. I have written an application that will sync Thunderbird contacts with your Ipod. http://davepaine.co.uk/CMS/content/view/27/69/. I hope you find it useful.