Now, I am not a graphic designer, nor a professional UI guru, and am, at my best, a completely false artist. But Apple software on Windows has long been designed with great pains to import, inject, and invade the visual style of Apple computing into the Windows domain. They call it a halo effect. It’s supposed to make you want to ditch your current PC and buy an Apple. It’s why you can’t look at brushed metal without shuddering, recalling 1998’s Quicktime slowly coming to life after having hijacked your media file preferences (if it wasn’t that, it was RealPlayer, another insidious and sluggish piece of tech).
But at least with iTunes 8, I could bear seeing the music player in the background. It was even nice seeing the album art out of the corner of my eye. Now, I can’t play a single track without minimizing the player. It’s that 1980’s stone-washed jeans look it gets when it’s not the foreground app. Why is it so bright? Why is the background white in Apple’s newest (and more or less worthless) album view?
What’s worse, is that this ugliness is likely deliberate. It’s the app, calling attention to itself. It’s that same halo effect nonsense: lookit me, I’m an Apple app! No, wait, don’t click off of me, I’ll get brighter! Shut up. Go to the system tray, until I need to fast forward to the next track.
And yes, I could switch to a different music manager, but a) I have four years of historical data sunk into iTunes: ratings, Smart Playlists, playcounts, etc. b) I have an iPod, c) It’s not worth the money or effort to rig up a whole new music player with all my preferences, and d) there are a lot of things that iTunes actually does very well with minimal fuss, Podcasts for one.
So go be smug somewhere else. This is a legitimate complaint, iTunes 9 is inexcusably ugly. As the screenshot shows, even Mac users hate it, and they have fewer choices than PC fans.