Mr. Cook, Tear Down That App

iTunes is a disaster. It’s been so overloaded that it's now become the flamebearer for bloat. Minor deck chair reshuffling will not be enough to make things right. iTunes needs to be broken up into about 6 separate applications to simplify it, reduce bloat, make it more manageable and make it approachable for mere mortals.

So here’s a suggestion. Split it up into the following apps:

1) Music This will be a plain jane music manager à la SoundJam for those aficionados that like to buy, rip and/or otherwise curate their own music. Having this be a separate app would allow folks to simply approach their music collection and play/manage music. It would also reduce the likelihood of iTunes obliterating people’s music collections because it has become such an unwieldy mess (particularly with it’s craptastic integration with Apple Music).

2) Music This would be much like the Mac App Store, but dedicated to buying music. This will allow Apple to focus on UIs that promote discovery, which are now crowded out by the myriad other features duct-taped into iTunes.

3) iOS App This would be much like the Mac App Store, but dedicated to just buying apps for iOS devices. Perhaps the Mac App Store and the iOS App Store can be done in just one app. That way, you just have check/pop-up boxes to let you filter for apps in specific platforms. This would have the added benefit of making sure all the App Stores are kept up to date.

4) Movie & Show This would be a store dedicated to buying and/or renting movies and TV shows. Again, by making it separate, the UI design teams can concentrate on making discovery UIs that make sense and are tailored to this type of content.

5) Apple This would be an app dedicated to subscribers of Apple Music, where curation, playlists, and discovery can be tailored to shovel ready DRM music subscribers.

6) Apple Device Content This would basically be an enterprise-like IT device manager app to let people route their different buckets of content to different devices. Not only is management of all our devices through iTunes a disaster of confusion right now, Apple has left people to fend for themselves in managing their home networks

For a company throwing toaster/refrigerator-sized rocks at Microsoft for making a needed convertible laptop/tablet device, Apple seems to have no shame in requiring you to run iTunes to sync photos from to your iPhone. Way to live in that glass house Mr. Cook! As we begin having houses full of connected devices (Internet of things and all that), we need something dedicated to this important purpose.

If you have a family with 4 Macs, kids accounts, and multiple iTunes accounts, good luck getting them timely updated, and the right data/media from one to the other. Apple provides no tools to consumers like it does to the enterprise. The good news is I have a suggestion here.

Apple has a pretty sweet UI with the Airport Utility where it creates a little device map of your wireless devices. One could see this utility being expanded where you hang other home devices (e.g., iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs, iPods, Macs, HomeKit devices, storage devices, printers, scanners, etc.) off this map, and each device could show its abilities, users, content batches, update statuses, scheduled activities, etc. Then users could manage and cause updates and backups to take place on all their iPhones and Macs, and even move playlists, photo libraries, and music around all the devices. Here is a crude mock-up where media from one device could be selected, and drag-n-drop linked/copied to other devices.

Crude Mock-up

Crude mock-up

Heck, Apple might even think of updating its Time Capsules from their pathetic and embarrassing 3TB limits up to 8TB and have the Time Capsule’s be something more of a content router and smart server (Synology-like) for the home. Maybe even add Siri/Echo-like abilities to it. That would go a long way providing a user facing-application for HomeKit. At least it would give whoever is stuck being the home IT Manager a fighting chance of keeping order, and would make it more unlikely that iTunes would accidentally obliterate a music library.

There, you’re welcome Apple. Now hop to.