partial recall

a blog of ideas, links, and musings.

iTunes is the Trojan Horse

I am a Mac addict. There, I admit it. I’m also a technology nut. I love gadgets – anything with bells and whistles. I’m also interested in anything that can potentially enable me to be more productive and organized. The recent announcement of the iPhone brought out the same reaction I always have when Apple introduces something: “Wow, that is so cool! I have to have it!” Then I excitedly tell my wife how I need to have this new gadget, but she quickly brings me down to earth with statements like, “So, do you want your children to have the luxury of wearing diapers?” or “Have you considered how expensive college will be for our children when they can attend?” So, she brings me down to earth, rightfully so. However, that does not stop me from working hard to state my case. I’ve been resourceful in the past, but sometimes it’s hard when I have a wife who prefers Windows pcs over Macs, Pepsi over Coke. But I digress.

The Genius of iTunes


iTunes Trojan Horse

So, why is iTunes a Trojan Horse? I do not mean that Apple has any malicious intent to use iTunes to harm our devices or the digital information we own. Rather, I believe iTunes is Apple’s most powerful weapon for selling more products, for expanding existing markets and for reaching new markets. How? Let’s look at a brief history of iTunes (see more here):

  1. January 09, 2001 – iTunes was originally released for managing music on an owner’s computer
  2. October 03, 2001 – iTunes integrates with the first iPod
  3. April 28, 2003 – iTunes Music Store support
  4. October 16, 2003 – iTunes for Windows
  5. October 27, 2004 – Supports photo sycing
  6. May 09, 2005 – Supports video syncing; supports calendar and contact syncing (Mac only)
  7. September 07, 2005 – iTunes can sync calendars and contacts with Microsoft Outlook

The “video” capabilities have grown to include both television, movies, and other types of video. So, with each new version of iTunes, Apple extends its reach to manage new types of content, and it also makes this available for Mac and Windows users alike.

The Sync is the Kitchen Sink

Sync IconSure, the iTunes Store is important, because Apple wants you to purchase content from them. However, the sync ability is the most important feature of iTunes. Of course the end game for Apple is to entice people to buy their hardware and to purchase content from their store. But to truly entice users to spend money on either hardware or content, they have to have sync done right. How might this be done?

Well, for one, sync needs to go two ways. Previously, sync meant updating your iPod with content from your desktop or laptop computer. Calendar and contact information was handled on the desktop or laptop, and then this content was updated on the iPod. With the introduction of the iPhone, however, we’re now talking about the ability to update content on either the device or the desktop/laptop, and have it update both ways. I applaud Apple for pursuing specific standards, particularly the CalDAV standard. For Apple to be successful, they will need to continue such efforts to pursue standards for two-way (or more) syncing all kinds of content.

Recommendations

I would recommend the following to happen for Apple to be successful:

  1. Change the “iTunes” name to something more encompassing to reflect the purpose of the application. Perhaps “iHub” or something that shows how many types of content can be held and synced using this application.
  2. Two-way content editing means that with the iPhone, I should be able to CRUD calendar or contact items on my phone, and then sync back to my desktop/laptop and vice versa.
  3. Web Syncing does not mean forcing people (including non Mac owners) to use the .Mac service. It means working with partners Google and Yahoo to come up with APIs or other webDAV solutions so content can be synced with external web applications. If Apple can handle two-way syncing with external web PDA-like solutions, then it will have won the game.

Conclusion

There is so much content the mobile user wants at their fingertips – music, video, calendar, contacts, etc. Apple’s iTunes application is rapidly becoming the hub that syncs and manages many types of content. For Apple to be even more successful, iTunes must be renamed and it must handle two-way (or more) syncing between device(s), web application(s) and/or desktop/laptop application(s).

Tags: [, , , , , , , , , , , ]

Author:

Categories