Much of iTunes functionality is based around content that Apple or the user doesn’t own. And as we all know, the media companies that own the content are particularly paranoid about how digital assets are managed. In the 10+ years that iTunes has been in existence, I’m sure there’s a tangled web of legal obligations that makes improvements a huge technical headache.
Many have asked the question “What’s keeping Apple from innovating in iTunes?”. Legal obligations to media companies may be the reason, though I wonder if such obligations are really keeping Apple from at least reworking some parts of the interface and syncing architecture.
Surely it is in the best interest of media partners (and app developers) as well to have a better iTunes experience for customers – the people who actually buy content? And more importantly, if this is the reason behind iTunes stuck in its own limitations, can Apple untangle the web of legal obligations, and come up with new ones that fit a new iTunes vision? As Craig points out, developers at Apple have to think about iTunes legal terms for other parts of the world, too.
In the past day, however, several readers also offered another possible explanation: iTunes for Windows. I don’t know why, on a technical level, it wouldn’t be possible for Apple to produce a great new iTunes experience on Windows, but I agree: when iTunes changes, it would make sense for it to change on Windows too.