I fired up iTunes this morning and received a message asking if I wanted to upgrade to iTunes 8. Ever since, oh iTunes 7.2, I’ve always clicked no and then done some additional research to see if anything in this update would break my system. Some would say that’s just due diligence, but I think it’s becoming a serious problem.
In all honesty, I really shouldn’t have to be distrustful of getting software updates. Sure, upgrading major releases, like from iTunes 7.x to iTunes 8, may warrant some additional research. But what about minor patches?
I’m definitely started to lose faith in Apple’s iTunes sofware, and here’s why:
- Lack of transparency: Have you ever tried to search for iTunes release notes? Here, try it. It’s always strange that Apple’s own web site is never top of the list (or anywhere that I can see it). But even when I find some sort of release notes, they are vague at best. “Fixes to improve stability and performance” seems to be the cut-and-paste phrase for every release. That’s great, but what does that mean exactly?
- Lack of Disclosure: Ed Bott’s arcticle from ZDNet gives a pretty solid example of this. In it, he talks about all of the “extras” that iTunes secretly includes in its software updates. MobileMe anyone? Yea, that might be useful if I owned an iPhone/iPod Touch and wanted to use that service. But I don’t… and I don’t. So why should I have to install it on my computer? Unfortunately, that software sneaked onto my computer with the iTunes 7.7 update and it didn’t come with a way to uninstall it (and I haven’t yet found a way that the internet community can agree works without also breaking anything else). Though it sounds like iTunes 8 does allow you to uninstall the MobileMe software… but maybe it’s just a trick to get other software on my computer… (lack of trust, anyone??)
- Lack of Trust in Quality: Ed’s arcticle also points out the gap in QA that Apple has on the WIndows side. It’s been a while since I’ve seen the BSOD and I’m leery of any software that would potential raise this issue.
All in all, Apple really needs to shore up its efforts in the software that it pushes out to people. Otherwise, it’s going to start seeing people jumping off the iTunes bandwagon. After all, it’s not the only fish in the sea anymore.