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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.

Extended play

While 90-second previews are certainly better than the old 30-second limit, entire songs are better yet. Go ahead, limit them to one play only. Or limit full previews to one per day, or five per week, or 14 per month. And allow us to share those full previews with others via Facebook and Twitter. Yes, the occasional criminal type will capture the track in real time, but honestly, there are easier ways to steal music.--Christopher Breen

Liner of duty

In the days of physical media it was common to find information-packed booklets bundled with LPs and CDs. From these scraps of paper you'd learn who had played on the track or album, where it was recorded, who engineered and produced it, and whose sticks the drummer used. For those who liked singing along (or making out exactly what that death-metal tenor was screaming about), lyrics were also included. Apple provides some of this information as part of more-expensive iTunes LP versions of albums. Time to bring it to all albums in the form of included PDF files.--Christopher Breen

Background check

Many of us still download and install/sync iOS apps through iTunes. The problem is that if you have a lot of apps, you always have a little--or big--number next to the Apps entry in iTunes's sidebar, indicating that there are app updates available. And if you really have a lot of apps, iTunes will show you, and let you download, no more than 200 at a time. And each batch you download, you'll likely be prompted to confirm that, yes, you really do want to download apps that may contain 18-and-over content (usually because one of the apps contains a Web browser). In other words, updating apps in iTunes is a hassle. Apple should add the option to automatically download app updates in the background, just as Software Update could download OS X updates when available. You'll still need to sync those apps to your iOS devices, but at least the updates will be ready and waiting.--Dan Frakes

Window to the Stores

With iTunes 11, Apple gave the app a major interface overhaul. While some of those changes were improvements, one was a major step backwards for heavy users of the iTunes Store: You can no longer open the Store in a separate window. This means, for example, that if you're browsing your music library or playing a playlist, and you click an iTunes Store link on a webpage or in an email or a tweet, iTunes has no other choice but to leave your current window view and switch to the Store view, losing whatever you happened to be doing. In iTunes 10 and earlier, we could simply keep the iTunes Store open in an independent window. If Apple isn't going to break the iTunes Store out into a separate app (see the next item), the company should at least let us open it in a separate window again.--Dan Frakes


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