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11 things we really hate about Apple iTunes

Love iPods, can't stand the software...

We may love our iPods and iPhones but there are just some aspects of iTunes, Apple's dominant media-management and -player software for the devices that drives us mad. Here’s our top 11 pet hates.

8. Uh, where's the TV shows?

Our cousins in the US are up in arms about the loss of NBC shows from Apple's iTunes store. They should check out the UK 'selection'. The cupboard is well and truly bare. Clearly Apple is reliant on the content providers on this one, but with services such as iPlayer and 4OD on the loose, iTunes needs to up its game.

9. Weak dockable player controls

Here we are, seven versions into iTunes, and the player still doesn't have decent dockable controls. The iTunes toolbar (accessible by right-clicking the Windows taskbar, the choosing Toolbars, iTunes) offers only the most basic player functions, and doesn't even show you which track is currently playing.

As for the Mini Player, it can't actually dock anywhere: at best you can configure it to stay on top of other applications if you venture deep enough into the program's settings menu (look near the bottom of the Advanced tab). What we really want is a dockable iTunes toolbar with volume, seek, play/pause, and other controls, and an optional song-info ticker. Firefox and Internet Explorer users can get that kind of goodness from the FoxyTunes extension, which adds customisable iTunes controls to the browsers.

10. Rotten at exporting playlists

Want to use your carefully crafted, years-in-the-making playlists with another program or a non-iPod player? Sorry: They're locked up like gold bars in the Bank of England.

While most music managers employ the industry-standard M3U format for playlists, iTunes marches to the beat of its own proprietary-format drummer. Yes, you can export an iTunes playlist, but only for importing it back into iTunes again.

Thankfully, developers have come to the rescue. Eric Daugherty's iTunes Export turns any iTunes playlist into an M3U file, and iTunes Sync makes it possible to sync your song library and playlists with a variety of non-iPod players. Best of all, both utilities are free (thank you, developers!).

11. No e-books

On the subject of e-books on iTunes, Steve Jobs famously declared that "people don't read books anymore". (Guess they listen to them, though, as audiobooks have been a staple on iTunes for years.)

Admittedly, smallish iPod screens don't lend themselves well to reading on the go, but the iPhone and iPod Touch are perfect for the job. Heck, they could easily challenge the Sony Reader for e-book supremacy, as their sharp, roomy touch screens let you turn pages by swiping a finger - just like in a real book.

For now, book lovers can get their fix from eReader, a free iPhone/Touch app connected to eReader and Fictionwise bookstores. But iTunes and e-books seem like such a natural fit. Maybe together, they could encourage people to read more.

However, the iTunes news isn't all bad...

NEXT PAGE: Three things we love about iTunes

  1. Inefficient updates, DRM and monitoring music folders
  2. 'Pushing' of other programs by iTunes installer, and the mystery checkbox
  3. Rotten at exporting playlists
  4. Go on then: three things we love about iTunes

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