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How to fix the iTunes Store

Macworld Staff | May 2, 2013
The iTunes Store has, in many ways, been a pillar of success for Apple. But that doesn't mean it can't be improved upon: Here are a dozen ways we think it could become even better.

Gently down the stream

If the rumors are correct--and, yes, the requisite grain of salt has been taken--Apple may later this year debut a streaming audio service to compete with the likes of Pandora and Spotify. But what about subscription content for television? It may be an uphill climb to convince the networks and studios, but it's indisputable that people are increasingly watching TV online. Services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime have proved that a system where customers pay a monthly fee and stream the programs they want--when they want them--can be successful. Were Apple to, say, strike a deal with the likes of HBO, it could be even more so.--Dan Moren

Play nice with the Web 

The iTunes Store has come a long way since its beginnings; though it still lives primarily inside the iTunes app, you can view webpages for apps, books, and music via your browser--these days, you can even listen to music samples there. But iTunes's Web interface is far from perfect: For one thing, you can't do anything beyond view an individual title before you're kicked back to the iTunes app. On the Mac, it'd be nice improvement to be able to browse iTunes solely via the Web--and perhaps even purchase things--without having to open iTunes itself.

This is even more important when it comes to viewing Mac and iPad apps on the iPhone. You can't even see information about a Mac or iPad-only app unless you're browsing on your computer or iPad; instead, you're presented with a splash page informing you that this app is only available for a different platform. I understand the reasoning--you don't want consumers to accidentally purchase an app they can't use--but it'd be nice to at least be able to read the description, or add the app to my Wish List, so that I remember to purchase it later.--Serenity Caldwell

Review reviews

Attempt to rate an app you haven't purchased, and the App Store warns you that you won't actually be able to do so unless you buy it. Not so for iTunes's music, movies, books, and podcasts: You can rate whatever you want at whatever star-ranking you feel it deserves, even if you've never heard the song or read the book.

On one hand, I understand that Apple wants to offer freedom to those who may have read books or listened to music elsewhere. But with this freedom comes chaos--there are plenty of excellent books and albums out there with 2-star rankings, thanks to a few people's angry reactions to cover art or pricing. You can't rate an app for "being too expensive." Why should Apple let anyone with an Apple ID do the same to an album, book, TV show, movie, or podcast?--Serenity Caldwell


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