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June 04, 2002

iPods, iTunes and Music Consumption

I've been thinking more and more about this. The new Powerbook has turned up, and spent a couple of evenings importing my favourite albums and cd singles. Or MP3s of things I own on vinyl but can't be bothered to cable the computer up to import.

And it's taken on a really useful role in our house - playing a constantly changing bed of music throughout the evening.

But there's a fundamental design flaw in iTunes, based on the a corresponding flaw in Apple's philosophy of music consumption.

The computer is not *mine*. It's, like I've said before, a shared utility in our house. It can cater for my exclusive tastes, but also has to know to turn them off at any given time if it's not appropriate. In our house, this mythical feature has come to be known as 'The Dubstar Filter'. And I can't be bothered to maintain a playlist of all the stuff that my wife likes too.

Apple designers: In the next release of this software, please provide two things.

1) A folder-style view of the music library, so I can easily group tracks by artist or album
2) A way of turning off an entire section of the hierarchy instantly. At artist, genre or album level - I can't be bothered to individually turn off about 40 songs from my playlist every time I'm using my Mac in public.

This way, family conflicts will be easily resolved - and it troubles me that this wasn't considered when Apple were designing the thing in the first place. They need to think about this aspect of the Mac-as-hub-of-the-home model a bit more.

Posted by Tom Dolan at June 4, 2002 03:49 PM


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