Monday, November 26, 2007

iTunes 7 Issues = Apple's Demise?

Ok, the title is a little extreme, but I have had some major problems with the newer updates of iTunes that really aggravated me.

(By the way, after reading about the problem online to find a solution, I have found that the problem is affecting many users, running both Windows and Mac operating systems).

I use iTunes to listen to music files that are permanently downloaded on my computer (now, at college, I also use a program called Ruckus that lets you listen to unlimited music but not keep it). So I don't even do anything really complicated with iTunes; I just open it and listen. I don't own an iPod, so I don't even have to use it to transfer music to a portable device.

I had been happily using iTunes for years, prefering it to Windows Media Player, WinAmp or any alternative service. However, if I was a little less tech-savvy, I would have never touched iTunes again after this recent ordeal.

I had updated to a version of iTunes in the low 7's (not the most recent 7.5) before I went to school, and after the updated, I noticed that my music would skip during playback, a few times per song, even if there were no other programs running and my computer displayed lots of extra ram and processor capability. However, I dealt with that problem for a few months without thinking much of it.

More recently, Apple tricked me into updating to the newest version, 7.5 (iTunes displays a pop-up box every time the program opens, so I must have absentmindedly clicked "Yes" to update one time).

iT 7.5 is probably the worst piece of software I had ever encountered. The very first time after it downloaded, my computer crashed attempting to open it. Each subsequent time, even with no other programs running and extra computing capacity, simply opening the program would freeze the computer.

Apple also makes it difficult to correct the problem; they do not bundle un-installation software with iTunes, so I had to troubleshoot at their website to find out that it's best to use Windows to uninstall the Apple software.

Luckily, i found this site, which provides a previous version (in the 6 family, which works fine) and also walks the reader through the other steps necessary (which include temporarily copying and deleting a specific file).

Anyway, I'm happily running version 6 now, but pissed at Apple for wasting a couple hours of my life trying to make the new versions work, and ultimately, downgrading back to an early version.

(Interestingly, Apple has recently attacked Microsoft in ads, claiming many Vista users are reverting to XP because of issues with the new software. Go figure...)

So how is this relevant to the stock market?

Well, for many Windows users, like myself, iTunes (in conjunction with the iPod) is the only interaction they have with Apple products. If a Windows user has issues with the only piece of Apple technology on their system, how likely will they be to buy more Apple products?

Like I said, I don't even have an iPod, so this didn't my daily routine too badly. However, for the millions of iPod users that religiously update their iPods, how will it feel to update to new, supposedly-better software, only to have it freeze their computers?

Apple has experienced recent growth in their personal computing problems because Apple software HAD been significantly prettier, smoother, and better than Windows alternatives. But if this problem is not corrected shortly, I fear that many wishy-washy Windows-running Apple-users may be turned off forever.

(I am possibly looking for an entry point into Apple stock after its recent correction... But I truly feel as if this is a serious issue, and want to see it corrected first).

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