iTunes 12.2: New Version a Missed Opportunity for Apple Music

Screenshot: Janko Roettgers / Variety

Apple released a new version 12.2 of iTunes for OS X and Windows this week as part of the launch of its Apple Music service. The initial reactions from users are anything but positive. But aside from obvious bugs, there’s a bigger problem: iTunes needed a revamp, not more features. By simply adding the subscription service, Apple squandered an opportunity for a fresh start.

Apple released the new version of iTunes late Tuesday. On Wednesday, complaints began to mount, with a number of users experiencing issues with mismatched song titles, artist names and album art. Reviewers generally suggested to hold off on updating iTunes, and one even called the latest version of the app “a disaster.”

But the mishandling of existing music libraries isn’t the only problem. Apple also added its music subscription service as one more layer to an already very complex app: Users can now access their own local music files, the subscription catalog, personal recommendations and the existing iTunes download store, all in separate tabs, with crucial links missing. For example, someone browsing the iTunes store isn’t informed that an album is also available as part of his subscription tier.

This pattern continues throughout the app. The music section of iTunes has a radio tab, which showcases Apple’s new Beats 1 online radio station as well as a number of genre stations. But there’s also a whole separate Internet radio section, tucked away in a sub-menu, that also organizes online streams by music genres — except these aren’t streams curated by Apple, but actual radio networks from all around the world. Plus there are podcasts, again in a separate section of the app, even though many are published by the very same radio stations.

There’s also a section for home movies, and one for movie rentals and purchases, which is separate from educational downloads, even though both are somehow available through the iTunes store. Add audio books, ringtones, iOS apps and the ability to manage your iPad and iPhone storage, and it’s all too much of a good thing.

Apple should have taken a cue from the way it manages content on iPhones and iPads, and broken out many of these sections into separate apps. There’s no real reason why movies and TV shows have to live in the same app as Apple’s music service, and it really doesn’t make sense to manage devices with the same software also used to listen to music.

iTunes didn’t need a refresh. It needs to be broken up, and Apple needs to launch an Apple Music app for Windows and OS X in its place.

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    1. mhikl says:

      I am spending so much time trying to get rid of duplicates, find missing music that I have lost count of the hours. It amounts to days and days of hours, and I am so frustrated over the past three years. The store can’t help.
      I will be selling my Apple shares this coming holiday as I think Apple is over, at least the trust we once had has been jeopardised.

      I am still running Maverick and will not upgrade my system. I will not upgrade iTunes from 12? until I hear good reports from it. This 12 version is worse than the others before.

      Apple has no incentive to do better. There is no alternative. No one is nipping at its heals and it has buried MS. Now it just has to rake in the coin.
      Sad. I am sure you can see my frustration.

      I have an iMac mini, 2012, third gen iPad, iPod fairly recent (a prez from my bro), 8 gig iPad mini for my books. I need nothing more from Apple and only when something wears out will I replace it. I have a Samsung phone, spit!; (its a horror but was only C$120 and I don’t do a lot of talk so my plan is cheap) but there is no way I will ever buy an iPhone. No more from Apple except for replacements that I have no choice but to purchase. I have converted all the music I bought and do not use any of their pay services. And I shall never buy another song or other media from Apple Store.

      Misery is not something I ever thought I would get from this company. I just bought a second hand windows lap top. Its a dog, but does the work when I am away from home. The internet is the same regardless the product and that is all I use it for.

      Here is the cruncher: No wonder Apple gets good reviews. Since I began, politely, noting my problems, I have not received one request to evaluate Apple=two years now I think. Before I opened my big mouth, politely, I always got requests after purchases and visits to the help desk. I was told it is only the luck of the draw, by a chap at the Apple Store. Nonsense, data gathering is simple; and the more gathered, the more valid the representation of people’s needs and information for improvement and reporting. This not the Apple that Steve ran.

      I am only frustrated, I do not mean to be impolite. It’s not so good feeling so bad all the time. My music and the internet is an important part of my life in retirement.
      Namaste and care,

    2. Paul B says:

      Is there any indication that iTunes 12.2 causes issues with third-party downloads, such as Freegal from Sony? I’ve heard some rumors about this, but I haven’t dared update my own iTunes yet…

    3. Bill says:

      Since Apple Music was launced, my songs went from 5010 to 726 on my iPod touch. I cannot sync songs from iTunes to my iPod. No one at my local Apple store had an answer. Yesterday, spent hours on the call line and I kept getting bumped up the ladder and there is still no solution.

    4. I have to agree with the complaints.

    5. Tom Wolsky says:

      This article is so silly and self-contradictory. Of course you want the same app to sync multiple devices with all your content, music, TV, and movies, when all your devices carry all different types of media. Who would want to have to use multiple apps to sync devices with different forms of media when you want all your media together? That’s the point of iTunes. Admittedly a name change is long overdue.

    6. Rick Engin says:

      With the old iTunes, I could access SONGS. That option is missing and only Albums show. I paid for iTunes Match… Who refunds this?
      You are kidding with this $10.00 per month charge… I had input hundreds of CDs, why have they disappeared?

    7. Cameron says:

      I love the new app, for anyone that already understood how to use iTunes this was a nice add-on. Sure there are some opportunities but I like the idea of having everything in one app, I thought this newer redesign — since Mavericks — is the best one yet. You make it sound like people don’t know how to use an app that has been around for decades, nothing new here just new features.

    8. John Adams says:

      A lot of people will always use iTunes because they think the money goes to the artist. Whilst it is much more than streaming, it’s still not enough.

      What Apple needs to address is the root problem, digital music files are perceived as being worthless.

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