Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Apple Software Update and iTunes 7.0.1 (Rant)

Recently I installed iTunes 7.0. One of the options it included was to install Apple Software Update. At first I thought, great just what I need, more garbage on my hard drive and eating up memory. Then I thought about how annoying it was to do updates of iTunes. Sure iTunes tells you there is an update available, but all it does is direct you to a web page on Apple's site. From there you have to download the file and run it manually, making sure to shut down iTunes (which is probably running since it was what prompted you to do the update) so that the installer can proceed. Then afterwards I always have to delete QuickTime links it puts all over the place (no option in the installer to not drop these links) and remove QuickTime from my system tray (the installer does not look at the preferences from the old version of QT, or just chooses to reset them.) It's definitely the worst user experience from an Apple product, and it's the most popular Apple product by far (since every iPod owner has iTunes.)

So I decided to install Apple's Software Update, in hopes that it would make this process better. What should a software update program do? Well it would be nice if it could do incremental updates, particularly when the software package is pretty big (and iTunes clocks in as a 35+ MB download these days.) That's pretty hard, though, and few programs pull this off. Next it should be able to download/process the update in a transparent manner to the end user. If it needs to shutdown the program being updated, then it should allow you to do this from within the software update program. If it is going to require a restart after it is done, it should warn you this ahead of time.

So today I load up iTunes and get a warning telling me I need to update iTunes to 7.0.1. This is exactly the same kind of warning I got pre iTunes 7.0. So why did I install this Apple Software Update program? I actually decided to launch it, and it claimed my software was up-to-date.

So of course I had to go through the above painful process, one more time. But wait, it gets worse. When I ran the installer for 7.0.1, it tried to install iTunes in a different place than where it was currently installed. I didn't remember previous versions screwing that up. Next, it asked me if I wanted to install the Apple Software Update program! Of course that program is already installed... Finally, once I got done it told me I needed to reboot Windows. Great, thanks for warning me ahead of time.

All in all, a very disappointing experience. It seems that iTunes is taking steps backwards, not forwards. Maybe Apple should concentrate more on basic software functionality instead of re-designing their UI to compete with Vista... (I know Vista copied OSX, but does that mean you have to change things?)

1 comment:

Mike Gale said...

This Apple Update system is even worse than you report here.

I won't go into details (too much time to dso properly) but it's truly user hostile. If you know what you want to do it seems that Apple is determined to make your life very uncomfortable.