I blew off work this morning and instead played through the most recent update to Agent A. The game is fantastic and the update plays just as well as the original and I’m excited at the idea of further chapters being released in the future. Then I played through Old Man’s Journey. And now I’m playing through Monument Valley 2.
All three of these games are fantastic, easy-to-play, beautifully made, short games. That last point is key. They’re short. Which means you finish it pretty soon. And then it just sits there in a folder labeled “completed games” waiting for a content update or the death of the device, whichever comes first.
This is a problem. I don’t particularly want these apps to hang out in a back corner of my screen, waiting to be noticed again.
To be clear, this is not a storage issue or a battery issue. It’s a clutter issue. I have a lot of apps. Some I use, a lot I just want to try out or only need occasionally, but they’re still sitting there, taking up space.
Maybe this is a me problem, not an everyone problem, but I don’t think so. It’s a bit of a given that not everyone uses their iPad as much as I do or is addicted to trying new apps as I am. On the other hand, digital clutter is a growing problem. It can lead to (or be a sign of) depression, anxiety, and just general stress. And this is happening all across our devices.
And I contend that iTunes is one of the biggest culprits. Actually, let me take that back – app developers and our (customers) desire for new product is the culprit. But iTunes is definitely an accomplice.
iTunes sucks is an easy song to sing. Hell, lots of people have been singing that song for a long time now. As I write this, the Apple World Wide Developer Conference has just ended. They announced some new hardware. Some upgrades. Even a few software improvements on different devices. But no new iTunes. Seriously, Apple, what the hell?
Here’s what I need to make iTunes, and iOS App Store by extension, functional:
1. Split iTunes into a bunch of different apps. Apple had the right idea in 2010 when they built the App Store for Mac OS (then OSX), but they stopped too soon. This is not a new idea, but I want to see iTunes broken into separate media player, media library manager, and media stores. I’d even go so far as to say that “iOS App Store for Mac” and “iOS App Manager for Mac” should not only be separate apps, but they should be separate entities from media player and management. Ideally, all these applications would function together but still be accessible outside of the umbrella that is iTunes.
2. Within that theoretical “iOS App Manager for Mac” give me all the standard management tools: let me create folders, user profiles, time stamps, screen shots, playlists, ratings, and so on and so forth. Let me take my Agent A app and note that I completed the most recent chapter, delete it from my mobile devices, and schedule a note to re-install it (with all progress saved) as soon as it gets updated. You know, like Steam and PlayStation Network and Google already do.
3. Let me actually delete apps from the store. Let me take the ones I don’t like, note why I don’t like them or don’t need them (this doesn’t need to be a public review) and actually delete them, not just hide them.
4. Last, let me decide which legacy apps I want to install on my devices. Don’t force me to delete something or not install something because it’s old. Alright, we can work with this last one, but the point remains: Apple, fix your shit.
I’ve said it before but Apple, “It just works” sold me on your products over a decade ago. But that hasn’t been true for a while now and I wish you’d fix that.
Just to close with a few more complaints, here are my other gripes with iTunes as it stands now:
Why are there no tabs in iTunes?
Why can’t I save free apps to my wishlist?
Why can’t I categorize my wishlist?
Why can’t I organize my purchased apps in iTunes?
Maybe by this time next year, Apple will have released a bunch of new apps to take iTunes place and we’ll all be marveling at how beautiful and wonderful they all are. But I’m not holding my breath.
Seriously Apple, fix your shit.