The iTunes Experience


Apple make carefully designed and beautifully presented products that amaze and delight their owners. They also make iTunes. Which is amazing, but not in any good way.

Yesterday number one dad got a new iPad. I heard the news with dread. Because it meant that I’d be the chap installing it. In theory this is easy, just back up the first iPad and then restore the backup to the new iPad. A doddle. Except….

The new iPad refused to talk to the version of iTunes on dad’s laptop. So I fired up the Apple Upgrade Manger. Which found an upgrade for itself. Which failed. Eventually I figured out that it was trying (and failing) to uninstall the old version. Nothing I could do would persuade the darned thing to get out of the way so that I could upgrade iTunes. Time for Plan B. Install a new version of iTunes on the desktop and use that to do the upgrade. Installation went well, tried to sign into iTunes and authorize the computer. Turns out that iTunes is incapable of remembering dad’s password for more than ten minutes. Go through the password reset. Authorize the computer. Plug in the old iPad to perform the backup. Fail. The iPad will only talk to the iTunes library on the broken laptop. One wrong press now and I wipe the iPad by restoring an empty library onto it. At least you get the warning now. I’ve known people wipe their iPods when they get a new computer. Why Apple persist in such a stupid library arrangement in this cloud connected world is beyond me. Anyway, no dice.

So decide to just register the new iPad so that we can do something with it. Find that that iTunes has forgotten dad’s password again. Get another password.  Finally get the registration completed and start restoring applications onto the new iPad. Three hours in and we now have something working.

I’m going to have to back up and rebuild dad’s laptop so that I can do a clean install of this idiotic program. I looked up the procedure to back up the iTunes library. It seems that there are two ways you can do this. Copy the files and hope or buy a program to help you do this.

I’ve thought for a while that Apple are probably quite happy to give users a horrible experience if they use iTunes on a PC. I’ve found PC installations to be very fragile and completely impossible to get off a machine. There’s no way I’d install iTunes on any of my PCs, in fact I keep an “emergency Mac” around with iTunes on it that I use to keep my Apple devices up to date. I’ve found the Mac version of iTunes to be a lot better behaved, thank goodness.

One of the great things about iOS 5 is that you can do pretty much everything without using iTunes. As for me, I’m off for a lie down….