Hate The Current Desktop iTunes? Some People Are Rethinking It

iTunes has been around for more over 14 years and even with the arrival of Apple Music and other third-party services, it probably isn’t going to go away any time soon (think of how long people have been clinging on to DVDs!). For years, the app has been a workhorse on almost everybody’s computer: it is responsible for managing everything, from music, to videos, to e-books, and even in syncing your iOS devices with your computer.

Sure, it’s a great all in one app, but the way it looks and functions right now does not make it look like an Apple product – quite frankly, I find iTunes to be a bloated mess that I dread updating each time I need to do so. The desktop iTunes is too crammed with tons of content that it’s pretty difficult to work with – a far cry from most of Apple’s intuitive software. So yeah, we can safely say that it needs a major overhaul.

However, it’s been a busy last few weeks for Apple, considering that it recently released the iOS 9, a line of new iMacs and their accessories, and the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. We’re pretty sure everyone in Cupertino has their hands full – redesigning iTunes at this time is not feasible.

Fortunately though, a group of college students in Fachochschule Potsdam, a vocational college in Germany, did it.

Their task?

Dividing iTunes into 16 different applications as part of the Rethinking iTunes program…which is a school project for them. Needless to say, the results look amazing – let’s take a look at samples of their work:


This was done by Ivo Hermann, one of the students.

The current desktop iTunes doesn’t present the albums of each artist – in his words:

…the album view doesn’t clearly separate the artists, and the artists view shows the full tracklist for each album, which wastes a lot of space and means that you can’t get an overview of all of an artist’s albums at a glance. Further, an album is a closed work of art with its own story, but iTunes doesn’t adequately present this.

Hermann’s concept combines both the iTunes albums and artists view. It then shows a timeline of the songs, giving you a clear idea of the amount of time that elapsed.


Created by Moritz Kronberger, this concept focuses on making file sharing easy – and bearable – between iOS devices and the Mac itself.

In the current setup, it’s a pain in the neck to get your iOS device to sync to iTunes – the whole process is long and tedious. In Devices though, you only need to plug in your iPhone and poof, it’s synced and connected.

Adding and transferring your files is also pretty convenient: you can either resort to dragging or dropping, by clicking the “Add” button. During the transfer, a status bar is shown, which is useful for showing the progress of large and multiple files.

Movie Time

Meanwhile, this is designed by Stefan Hintz.

The current setup on iTunes makes it hard to discern which movies are for rent and which ones are for sale. Picking a filter is also pretty difficult, considering that it’s rather hard to locate. Getting information about the movies is not user-friendly as well – as Hintz puts it, you need to switch between cover view and detailed view.

In his concept, called Movie Time, the movies are presented in a timeline which is in accordance to the dates they were released. The categories are also sorted according to genre, allowing you to seamlessly view each intuitively.

The interface is split into two: the timeline and the detailed view, which gives you additional information of the current film you selected.

Music Finder

Credit to Adina Radke for creating this.

iTunes changed the way we download and listen to music. However, it has failed to adapt to the changing times: the overall design is rather outdated and confusing. With the rise of Apple Music, iTunes needs to keep its act together and improve.

Radke’s concept, MusicFinder, is based on the Apple Finder. Considering that it’s based on that, it’s arguably more organized and pleasant to view compared to the current iTunes.

Is dividing iTunes into 16 apps feasible?

Though the students have done a great job on Rethinking iTunes, we’re sure Apple wouldn’t dare to divide iTunes into 16 apps – the idea of 16 apps seems impractical to me, too. The full list inclusive of the above mentioned: Albums, App Control, Apple Books, Apple Tags, Demand, Devices, iGear, iRadio, Movie Time, Music Finder, Podcasts, Push, Shows, Simplay, Sync, and Vision.

Doing may be counterproductive on Apple’s part, but bear in mind that certain users only use one or two features on the desktop iTunes suite. Regardless, Tim Cook and his design team should take a close look at these concepts – they are way better compared to the current iTunes setup.

The app might be dying a slow death, considering that users would rather stream their music rather than download it. Especially now that Apple Music doing better than what the naysayers were predicting with retaining over 6.5 million paying users, the future looks to be moving towards that service..

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