When I first got my iBook and started using the Mac OS X, one of the things that got me hooked right away was Apple’s built-in iTunes music jukebox software. Having alternated between Music Match Jukebox, Real Jukebox and WinAMP for many years on my PC, iTunes’ clean and simple interface was a fresh of breath air and a joy to use. So you can only imagine my excitement when Apple released iTunes for Windows yesterday!
Generally, the interface seems to be identical to the OS X version, right down to the “brushed metal” look. Features and Music Store browsing (still can’t buy if you’re not in the U.S yet).
Rendezvous (Apple’s implementation of Zeroconf )music library sharing is really amazing! I enabled sharing in iTunes in my iBook, and right away my music library appears in iTunes in my family members’ PCs! Including playlists! If I shut down my iBook, it will automatically disappear from the other PCs’ iTunes “source” window. This is how sharing resources over a network ought to be! Hopefully it catches on soon.
I can see where Apple might need to improve on for the next version though:
* CPU consumption is low on my AthlonXP 2500+ during music playback, but resizing the window is somewhat sluggish, albeit not intolerably slow. Probably more noticeable on slower PCs though.
* The maximise button doesn’t work like a Windows maximise button. This is consistent with the Mac version, but might annoy some Windows-only users.
* Scrolling in the iTunes Music Store window is somewhat sluggish. I’m not too bothered by that since I can’t buy anything from there anyway.
* Doesn’t play WMA files, even the non-protected ones. While I personally wouldn’t use Microsoft’s ever-changing proprietary music file format to store my music, the reality is that many people have been fooled by the “convenience” of built-in CD ripping to WMA in Windows Media Player (which is built into Windows, of course). Probably Apple’s trying to avoid a support issue, since the iPod, which also happen’s to be the world’s No. 1 portable hard-drive based music player, doesn’t support Microsoft’s WMA (yet, anyway).
* Doesn’t sync to any player other than iPod. Which actually makes sense since Apple would naturally want to promote purchase of their own music player! :>
* It autoloads services for synching with iPod. People who don’t own iPods might mind. There should be an option to easily disable this for people who want to do so.
Nonetheless, considering it is a version 1 release on Windows, iTunes is an excellent piece of software. It is very stable and does what it is supposed to do well. Highly recommended, especially considering it’s a FREE download. Go get it now!