iTunes needs to become a cloud app

Summary:I've been spending more and more time with my new Android phone, it's becoming clear that Apple is woefully behind in one key aspect: the App Store.

It's becoming more and more obvious that Apple is getting ready for its next step trying to hold onto global domination. There's a big iPhone event coming on September 10 , and, of course, iOS 7 is around the corner.

Our early hands-on with iOS 7  even shows that the refreshed OS isn't half bad .

Even so, as I've been spending more and more time with my new Android phone , it's becoming clear that Apple is woefully behind in one key aspect: the App Store.

If you use Google Play for Android, you begin to understand what an app store experience should be. Sure, it's an app on the phone or the tablet.

But the real power is in the Web experience that is both rich and comprehensive -- and, more to the point, it allows you to manage your apps from a large-screen Web interface. You can buy apps online, you can install them online, and you can review and manage them online.

iTunes doesn't offer this. iTunes requires the installation of an almost universally hated, bloated application that bogs down PCs and incessantly annoys Mac users. On my OS X Server, iTunes constantly launches on its own even though no mobile device has ever been connected to it.

UPDATE: I've noticed that some commenters are confused about whether I mean a downloadable app that you can get from the cloud vs. a Web site that runs in the cloud. I mean that iTunes should cease to exist as a PC or Macintosh application and you should be able to do what iTunes does on those platforms, but using your Web browser. Go to the Google Play Store Web site, and you'll see what I mean.

It doesn't make sense that Apple is even continuing to maintain the PC and Mac application. At this point in time, it's far more effective for them to build one highly responsive AJAX-based application for the Web and ditch all the issues of installing, distributing, updating, and trouble-shooting a PC and Mac-based install.

More to the point, that's where everyone else is going. If Apple updates their devices in September, updates their OS, but leaves iTunes pretty much the way it was back in 2001, then the Apple experience will continue to feel far more dated than anything their competitors are offering.

Topics: Apple, Mobility


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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