back to article Apple in shock talks with Reg reader

Apple has engaged in a shock conversation with a man who admits to reading The Register. Last Friday, after noticing in these pages that Steve Jobs is actually reading and responding to messages from the outside world, Irish software developer Jason Croghan took it upon himself to email the Apple cult leader and inform him …


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  1. ratfox

    Poor Steve

    Gedikian - not the other

    I don't think it is good for you when your boss forwards you complaints from the customers...

    Cheer up, have a beer

    1. Peter 39

      on the contrary ...

      Actually, I think it *is* good if he forwards them. He wouldn't do that if he didn't care about it being fixed, would he?

      Of course, if you were the one responsible for creating the PoS then things might be a tad different

  2. kevinmidwood

    So many issues with iTunes for Windows

    iTunes for Windows isn't just bloated and slow. It steals focus like crazy (like every couple of ticks on the progress bar after you upgrade and you get "Updating iTunes library"), it causes you to lose highlight position by auto-scrolling to the next song while playing music, it pushes unnecessary software like Safari via the updater, and it locks up while downloading podcasts. Speaking of podcasts, around the time that iTunes 7.6 was released, Apple changed the podcast sort order in iTunes, but they never released an update to change the sort order on clickwheel iPods, so even to this day podcasts sort differently between iTunes and non-touchscreen iPods (even the models that are still sold). On my 16 GB iPod Nano and my iPod Classic the "2600: The Hacker Quarterly" podcast appears first, but in iTunes it appears last on the list. "The Economist" sorts under "E" in iTunes and "T" on the iPod. This is a strange thing for a company with vaunted UI and design standards to do.

    1. Jay Croghan

      I did!

      The conversation went on for 30 mins, I mentioned most of what you just said and a whole lot more. Hopefully they pay some heed though!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Group hug please

        I'm glad to see you're taking the first step to recovery by admitting you read El 'Reg.

        Doubtful that it'll make much difference (I am an optimist generally though), I've stated before that I love my iPod Nano but the software is crap, i've been using iTunes for quite a while and it's always sucked badly under Windows, why on earth an app to sync an MP3 player needs to install a service is beyond me, surely just allowing Windows to associate the iPod with iTunes should be good enough?

  3. Neur0mancer

    I like this

    I also agree with it. iTunes for windows is a buggy piece of shit.

  4. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down

    Maybe he should have added

    That it likes to wipeout your jailbroken iPhone too if you plug it into a iTunes infected computer.

    1. Antidisestablishmentarianist
      Big Brother


      ...or what. Expecting an Apple product to play nice with something jailbroken.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Paris Hilton

        Too many words...

        Naive expecting an Apple product to play nice.

        There, fixed it for ya.

        Paris, she plays nice.

  5. John Lilburne

    Hardly the worst Apple app.

    If iTunes is bad what of iPhotos?

    1. Ivan Headache

      Yes, what of iPhoto?

      In daily use here managing a collection of close of 10,000 images and other files. Fully integrated with every other app (including Adobe CS3) that is used daily here producing all sorts of training and promotional material.

      If you are having trouble with it, I suggest you make sure your updates are done and you have plenty of RAM. Also you may be using it incorrectly - I have many clients who insist on moving images out of iphoto to other locations by rummaging around in folders just so they can do something with an image. Completely unnecessary. Everything is done from the iPhoto window (or though the library browsers in other App).

      I haven't had a single issue with iPhoto since version 8 (iLife 09) came out. (Apart from a few face recognition errors.)

      I know this will probably be flagged as fanboy defence - but I use this app day in day out every day. and 'it just works1' I have other DAM software that I have spent money one - large amounts in some cases - but iPhoto works better than they do.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Ben M

    Sense of humour

    Someone from Apple giggled? Really? Who knew anyone in Cupertino had a sense of humour.

  8. Tom 35

    Don't forget Quicktime

    I run iTunes on my older computer that I used for web stuff. An AMD 2500+ @2GHz with 2 GB RAM.

    iTunes can't play a video, I get a few seconds of slide show followed by frozen video (sound keeps playing), but the same file plays fine with other players (at ~20% CPU). This is a 480x272 file, and if my iPod can play it whey can't iTunes running at 2 GHz?

  9. Carol Orlowski

    Why on Earth was iTunes a Top 10 Reg Recommend application???

    As for Apple, it beggars belief that they need such elementary design pointers for a product that is currently on version NINE! I love my iPod touch, but I loathe iTunes with a passion.

  10. Jay Croghan
    Thumb Up


    I'd just like to point out Gedikian is a good bloke and hopefully he can give us Windows users something worth using!

    1. Anthony Shortland
      Thumb Up

      Steve Gedikian

      this is Steve Gedikian of nullsoft/winamp a few years ago I believe? if so yeah definitely good bloke. Maybe apple isnt evil to the core afterall!

    2. Gannon (J.) Dick

      Worth using ?

      "... hopefully he can give us Windows users something worth using!"

      I use Windows only occasionally, but after a 30 minute conversation with Apple about Microsoft, what I could most use is a strong soap to wash my hands ...


      and again.

      and again.

      and again.

      and again.

      and again.


  11. Richard Wallace

    Everything apple produces is poor on a PC

    Everything Apple does on the PC is poor, even their website. No consideration for bandwidth restrictions etc. I have a 6MB connection and all my machines (6 including 1 mac) have issues, you'd expect a large company like Apple who slag everyone elses coding off to cover the basics.

    I love the iPhone and whilst I'm not a fan of flash, it annoys me that they don't listen and even include simple essentials that many others do. Surely they should at least consider demand rather than try to dictate trends. If I remember correctly they always used to slag Microsoft off for this and yet they are much much worse than MS now.

  12. da_fish27
    Thumb Down

    Pretty much all windows versions of Apple software are crap

    Quicktime is pathetic (can't play a simple 480p video on my old (yes, but mplayer on linux or even windows movie player plays 720p fine) laptop), same for iTunes.

    Music is something that is playing in the background, not the thing that should take the most CPU and memory. mpd on linux is unperceptible, and with a frontend, it does everything iTunes does (well, except the store, obviously).

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Runs just great on my dual core Mac

    Who gives a toss about windoze itunes users really?

    1. Richard Wallace

      Obviously a Mac fan, but also blinkered

      That's like saying who care's about Audi, BMW etc cars that work. Everything should work regardless of the manufacture or platform. If you don't care about it, intend for it to work or are intentionally making it bad to convince people towards a particular brand, hardware, OS etc then what's the point in even developing it.

      I believe it's done badly on purpose, but surely this drives people away from their products, it does for me as I don't trust them for that reason only.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Gates Halo

      So considering this was a post about itunes for windows, you still

      decided to post your pointless comment here.

      Typical mac fanbois. Nowt better to do.

      Lets get 50% of mac owners in the red corner and 1% of windows users in the blue corner.

      You KNOW whos gonna win...

  14. Fihart

    "Who gives a toss about windoze itunes users really?"

    Precisely the problem with Apple. Is this the first time they've actually heard that iTunes is one of the worst, most inscrutable, bits of mainstream software most people have ever encountered.

    I have an iPod but recently bought a mid range Sony player. Beats the pants off the iPod as hardware -- and it has drag n drop, so no barmy control freak proprietary software to clog your computer and try to own your music.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Are you sure???

      "a mid range Sony player. Beats the pants off the iPod as hardware -- and it has drag n drop, so no barmy control freak proprietary software"

      WE are talking about Sony here.... maybe just control freak software that you know about?

      1. Fihart

        @ Atlas Shrugged

        I own players from Apple, Philips, LG, Samsung, Sony -- plus three or four nasty Sigmatel chipped Chinese horrors.

        I think I'd know if Sony had pulled any fast ones -- though I was careful NOT to install any of the software on their CD -- in fact kept it in the wrapper just in case !

        The reason Sony are now okay to buy is that they've realised that everyone hates Sonic Stage, their terrible proprietary system which stifled sales of the earlier Sony players.

    2. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


      The same "All your ps3 are belong to us" Sony?

      The same "rootkit" Sony?

      Be careful with Sony. Caveat Emptor.

      I'm just saying.

      1. Fihart

        @sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

        I can tell you worse about Sony -- like the Korean friend living in London bought a Sony camera, needed a Korean language manual -- not allowed to download from Sony Korea because camera not bought there.

        Yesterday, at car boot sale, for 50p I bought a Sony camera memory stick 256meg -- in original pack but as old as the hills. Features "Magic Gate" which seems to be some sort of DRM nonsense. The blurb makes it sound like an advantage -- how we all laughed.

        But seriously, have a look at their players.

        Sony has decided to try to wrench back a share of the portable music market. Obviously, the first thing to do was to attack Apple's weakness (iTunes) -- by sparing users any need to load software in order to use the new Sony players. The screens are great, the battery life exceptional and there's a proper volume control.

        1. ChrisC Silver badge

          Is Sony Korea a special case for downloads?

          "not allowed to download from Sony Korea because camera not bought there"

          Odd, because I've downloaded product manuals from other overseas Sony sites without any issues - they've never even asked if I owned the product in question, let alone where I didn't buy it from.

          1. Fihart


            Apparently Sony have a problem with Koreans buying in neighbouring countries to get round Korea's rather "structured" retail system.

            The department stores are owned by the familiar industrial giants (Hyundai etc) and presumably they protect Sony's margins in a manner that makes Hong Kong, Singapore etc seem temptingly cheap.

  15. OrsonX

    Mac not so hot either

    Thought I'd be lovin Apple after getting my Mac, but:




    and as for iTunes... SMART PLAYLIST STILL DON'T SYNC CORRECTLY!!!!!!! after forever!!!!!

    1. Teoh Han Hui


      But you can have your Firefox and VLC on Mac OS X too...

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


        Sorry to nitpick but you can have an Apple and not like the company. Just like you can run windows and hate M$ as well.

    2. cd


      Seamonkey (also use for email) >> Firefox >> Safari

      Graphic Converter >> Picasa >> iPhoto

      Basically, ignore the iApps for sanity's sake.

      iTunes is hostile and crap on macs as well, but back 5 versions was pretty good. Sad, really.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If you do support...

        I'd go with the iApps etc any day, simply because they are stable, provide good performance, and are easy to come to grips with. I know that if I put them in the hands of friends and family, I will rarely be called out to help.

        Conversely, I've bitterly regretted putting tools like VLC in the hands of average computer users. I've only resorted to that because the video from a friend's obscure camcorder wouldn't play back in Quicktime, but had calls for help almost every 10 minutes. VLC is a very powerful tool, but with a skeletal UI and a tad unpredictable too, i.e. something will work in one version and not the next. I've also wasted a lot of time discovering that something would only work if you tweaked an obscure variable deep in the bowels of VLC's settings.

        GraphicConverter is fantastic for, well, converting graphics, but I don't see the connection with iPhoto. The beauty of iPhoto is that even my youngest children can take snapshots of their toys, plug the camera into the Mac, drop into iMovie, upload for friends/family, and everything just works. Without exception, I've shown them the bare bones of the process and they've repeated it by themselves from that moment on. Same with the other iApps (including iTunes). They just work, which keeps everyone happy (and consequently me too).

        The great thing about the Mac is that you have all this choice. If simple, consistent, and reliable is what you need, it's all there out of the box. But if you want all the other tools, the Unix command line, or even the ability to use Windows, it's all there too.

  16. R Cox

    Also iTunes on Mac

    ITunes on Mac is nothing to write home about. It is a decent music player, but it is one of the few products Apple has made that is user hostile. It really has to be as it's function is not to help the user, but control the content.

    As a video player, iTunes is crap. Why does it need to play the movie within the iTunes frame? Why can't it open a new window? Even if I open a new window, it still plays in the main iTunes Windows. And it is slow. I recall when I tried to watch movies on my top of line Powerbook G4 it would not even play without skipping. iTunes is the most bloated piece of crap, a pox on the Apple name. Decoding the DRM video requires 60% of my Macbook CPU. Playing a similar movie on VLC only requires 30%.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Wow - that is bad to hear..

      "on my top of line Powerbook G4 it would not even play without skipping."

      HD videos play just fine on my laptop - on a slower DSL line. Of course, my laptop is only a 3 year old Macbook Pro Intel Core 2 Duo - not a shiny new 4 to 9 year old piece of kit. Perhaps you should down grade to one of those Intel thingies.

    2. MD Rackham

      Have you tried...

      ...taping a penny to the top of the Powerbook?

      Used to keep the old Garrard from skipping.

  17. Pawel 1

    It probably won't happen, but...

    why wouldn't iTunes devs set-up bugzilla for it? - allows you to report a bug. But once a person can see that their bug report actually progresses, and is attended to by a developer named John Xyz, they're more likely to report another one. They may prefer to keep security bugs out-of-sight - but that's easily done with Bugzilla.

    1. Teoh Han Hui

      Closed culture

      I wish Microsoft has a bug tracker for Windows too, but...

      1. Rattus Rattus

        bug tracker for Windows?

        Who's got a server farm big enough to store that many bug reports?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Remember that Apple

    is a hardware company. Their software tends to be free (iTunes, Safari) or relatively inexpensive compared to other commercial programs (MacOS). They don't have much incentive to make programs run as well on other people's hardware, because they don't make any money from it.

    I've found that Apple does respond well to criticism posed in a civilized manner (as opposed to rants/flames). For example, iTunes 9.0.0 wouldn't minimize to the mini player, unlike previous versions. I'm not sure how many other people contacted them about it, but it was quietly fixed in 9.0.1 .

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Remember that Apple

      >is a hardware company. Their software tends to be free (iTunes, Safari) or relatively inexpensive compared to other commercial programs (MacOS). They don't have much incentive to make programs run as well on other people's hardware, because they don't make any money from it.

      They certainly do have incentive to make iTunes usable since it's the only way for users to interface with the iTunes Store, i.e. their giant revenue stream and a fundamental part of their business model.

      >I've found that Apple does respond well to criticism posed in a civilized manner (as opposed to rants/flames). For example, iTunes 9.0.0 wouldn't minimize to the mini player, unlike previous versions. I'm not sure how many other people contacted them about it, but it was quietly fixed in 9.0.1 .

      Of course bugs get fixed in subsequent iTunes releases. However, this doesn't alter the fact that it's a fundamentally bad program to begin with. Think about what it actually achieves.

      1) It allows you to add media to your iPod, something that could be done a thousand times faster with Windows Explorer, without the lag when changing between libraries/devices that's ever present in iTunes.

      2) It allows you to browse for new media, something that can be done a thousand times faster using *any* of the various web browsers in existence.

      3) It allows you to play various media on your computer, something that can be done with far less system resources using many of the various alternatives (Foobar, VLC etc.)

      There's really no excuse for it to perform so badly.

      As for Apple's response to criticism, you only need to browse their support forums for a short time to find threads reaching hundreds of pages with issues that haven't been addressed. Normally it requires the threat of litigation before Apple do anything to fix known problems with their products.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Apple is Hardware?

      if this were true you'd be able to get it with windows/*nix.

      anyway, my partner has a podule and her laptop has itunes, I no longer use said laptop. whilst I like what the ifone brought to mobiles, nice touch screen, good interface, classy design. And I admit I was tempted, there was no way, even if hell froze over, that I was going to allow that buggy pos anywhere near my box. oh and the jobsian handcuffs weren't very attractive also. now after several itterations of the ifon we see that crapples approach of; hype and sell asap before anyone realises that its more style than substance, is flowing over to the padule too, hence the delay in launch whilst they make sure they have enough for the rush, because folks wont come back later...

      st. Eve Tempted man with an apple. (book of jobs)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo


    Yeah well if you choose to suffer with Windows is it any surprise that your software is shit??

    Get a Mac.

    iTunes is the world's number one content distributor. Deal wit it PC weenies!

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Lest we forget

    That other pile of steaming dog-egg code that is quicktime.

  21. JeffyPooh

    Update to 9.1.1 is 92.44MB

    Requiring a 92MB download for an update is Symantec-quality software (that's as bad an insult as I can think of right now). Worth considering is that we have iTunes on a desktop and a laptop. So these stupid x.x.1 updates will plug-up our 1Mbps Internet connection for about half an hour. And it seems to happen ever month or so.

    Every major software product team should have at least one mid-range PC connected to the Internet via dial-up. And every team member should be forced to use that PC for a full day at least once a month. Otherwise they're out-of-touch with a sizable fraction of their user-base.

    1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
      Thumb Up

      I lol'ed irl.

      "Requiring a 92MB download for an update is Symantec-quality software"

  22. Adam T

    iTunes suckiness

    This comes at an ironic moment. I gave my old 1st gen iPhone to an aunt last night and she brought her laptop around so I could install iTunes on it for her.

    Sweet mother of mercy. I've had to backup and restore her entire OS to factory settings because it's so conflicted with everything to do with Windows (Vista Home Premium edition here). Apple's knowledgebase fixes are way out of the realm of everyday user knowledge.

    (and to be fair, Microsoft's official resolutions are no better... my aunt would be screwed without me - how many old people know what a batch file is, eh?)

  23. JeffyPooh

    ...and another thing

    This minor x.x.1 update (from iTunes 9.1.0 to 9.1.1 ) not only downloads 92.44MB, it also requires a friggen PC reboot !!!! Unbelievable.

    And it put an iTunes icon on my desktop without even asking.

  24. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    iTunes is a victim of feature creep.

    I don't think even Apple would deny that iTunes has become a monster of an app. It plays music, it organises podcasts, it lets you buy videos, it slices, it dices...

    iTunes handles music, audiobooks and audio podcasts—fair enough—video, video podcasts, and now it does e-books too. Only the first of those media even fits the app's name.

    Something has to give.

    1. Peter 48

      no excuse

      the Zune media player does everything that itunes does, just better, looks nicer, runs better and still manages to come in 23MB less than itunes. And don't even mention the daddy of them all, Media Monkey which is less than 10MB.

  25. jim 45

    an app that couldn't say No

    So - it isn't just me.

    iTunes for Windows has that authentic "Windows" flavor - a catchall for every sales gimmick and product tie-in that the marketing guys could come up with since day 1.

  26. Steve 114

    Bonjour, and thanks for all the fish

    Why do I have to uninstall something called 'Hello Sailor' in French, after every time I update the thing?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    thats the whole point.

    apple makes it that way on purpose. now they can say windows is slow and buggy because they made it that way.

  28. hitmouse
    Jobs Horns

    Insanely grating

    I guess they don't read bug reports too often or too rapidly. The Australian iTunes store has had "co mpliations" on the music menu for months now (never sure if it's meant to be compilations or complications) after I reported it.

    It's a bad sad when the people behind iTunes are essentially unaware of the failings of the product or any benchmarks set by products operating in the same space. However I've noticed that Google are much the same, and have lots of easily soluble but recurring problems in Picasa, Maps and Calendars that they are simply not interested in pursuing. I had a phone interview once with a Google PM, and happily noticed a slew of Picasa bugs were finally fixed after I listed them in the interview.

    As soon as my 2yr old iPhone dies, I can ditch iTunes forever, because the Apple experience has proved to be a greatly insane. No more itunes stealing focus, or reauthorisation loops, or multi-hour synchronisation of an 8GB device.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Now imagine the scenario if it were M$.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    No problems here

    I've ran iTunes on my Windows machine since I got my iPhone - I've had no problems with it at all. It usually runs in the background while I play Champions Online or Star Trek Online (which aren't exactly system lite themselves) and doesn't cause me any issues.

    Wish it synced better, but I certainly don't have any slow down issues with it.

  31. BigRedS

    I'm a PC...

    ... and iTunes 10 was my idea.

  32. Citizen Kaned

    itunes sucks....

    i hate it. am off round to the mrs parent again (4th time now) to fix his bloody itunes. the latest versions seems to die regularly, taking 1/2 his system down with it.

  33. Fading
    Jobs Horns

    let's not mention album artwork either.....

    So how about it Apple - an "itunes lite" for us that only want audio files to be managed (though I have the 4th Gen photo I don't really use the photo bit except for the album art - when itunes can find it that is)?

    If not can you please just ship a version without "Genius" (first thing I de-activate on a fresh install) - anyone with a music collection vast enough to warrant a ipod larger than a "mini" is going to have many more than one genre making "Genius" not as smart as the average bear.

  34. Richard 81

    Godwin's Law

    "an Apple employee's main objective to do whatever they believe Steve Jobs wants them to do."

    Isn't that basically how the high command of Nazi Germany worked?

    Just do what you think would please Hitler?

    1. Witty username


      Employees do what their managers tell them to do? Incredible!

  35. Dai

    iTunes should be a web app...

    Never used it on Linux (for obvious reasons) and my experience with it on my parent's windows machines lead me to suggest that the 90s called and want their idea of a dedicated and closed software interface to external hardware back. It does really, really, really suck and I'm not usually a man for repeated modifiers.

    Proper portable media players are the ones you can just drag and drop to - you know, the ones that comply with widely accepted open standards. And proper media sales operations don't require that you need to download 80megs of cruft before you start giving them money. There's these brilliant things called websites...

    In years to come historians will marvel at our collective willingness to put up with Apple's closed ecosystem nonsense just for a few glossy surfaces and fancy UI innovations. And before I get labelled as a hater I would happily buy DRM-free music from Apple (or anyone else) if they showed any inclination to let me do so without taking over my computer.

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