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Bloated Genius

Apple unleashed a lot of new stuff on Tuesday, if you haven’t heard.  A new iPod Nano, a new iPod Touch and a new version of iTunes, 8.0.  The new Nano is pretty neat, the Touch isn’t that impressive, but what we need to talk about is iTunes.

iTunes has been my default media player for years, and suffered from the same issues pretty much that whole time.  Namely, it takes up a lot of system resources to run it.  Sadly, Apple doesn’t seem concerned with making they’re biggest program run any better.  But I love the way it organizes music, plus I’m an iPod user, so I won’t be changing any time soon.
iTunes 8 continues the trend of adding new features without increasing perfromance, but at least this time around the new features are pretty cool.  What you’ll notice first is the new grid view, which applies itself to ever playlist, from music to movies to podcasts.  Items are grouped by criteria you choose (genre, artist, etc.) into icons.  You choose the icon and it gives you a list of the content inside that criterion.  So it’s fundamentally pretty similar to browsing folders on your hard drive.  This new view is neat looking, sure, but I wouldn’t say it makes browsing music any faster.  But neither does Coverflow and everyone loves that.
The other, more interesting, new feature is the music genius.  Basically, iTunes scans everyone song in your library for… something.  When it’s done, you can choose any song and iTunes will create a playlist of songs it thinks go well with that song.  Of course, you can turn on a sidebar that recomends more songs for you to buy, but that’s lame.  The playlists I’ve gotten so far have been pretty good, but that could be inherent in that I’m listening to my own music already.
There’s a new visualizer included too, and it’s pretty neat.  But, uh, does any use visualizers any more?
The only other iTunes 8 change I noticed is that they made it so you can’t turn off those little arrows that point you the store.  You know what I’m talking about?  The little grey arrows next to a song’s title, artist, album, genre, everything.  I don’t know why Apple chose to make this feature mandatory; how many people really need a quick way to go buy the song they are already listening to anyway?
None, that’s how many.
At least, I hope it’s none.