Help me wrap my head around iTunes and its kin
February 19, 2013 3:15 PM   Subscribe

Where can I find a good, clear explanation of the functions of iTunes and its offshoots (the App Store, Music, Podcasts, iTunesU, etc.) and how to use them correctly?

I need to explain all of this to a group of casual iOS users and I can't even seem to get a grip on it myself even though I've been an iTunes user since 2.0.

iTunes 11 on a computer is a media store/player/manager. iTunes on my iPad is for purchasing and synchronizing media, but not playing media. The Music app on my iPhone will let me listen to podcasts, but that doesn't seem to be true on my iPad. How does iCloud fit in with all of this? It's a bit confusing. I feel like I'm not quite seeing the big picture of how Apple is intending me to use them all across my devices and computers.

Can you recommend any articles, blog posts or even books that explain the history of, current uses and future plans for these apps? I've read the Wikipedia article and also the ArsTechnica history of iTunes but it's still not sinking in.

I kind of wish Apple would just come out with something like iMedia and make it nice and simple again, but I'm fully willing to admit that this could just be my inner curmudgeon talking. Thanks for any insight you can offer.
posted by to Technology (2 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We've all been trying, man. It's pretty weird. Indeed, iTunes on a Mac or Windows is a huge do-everything-and-the-kitchen-sink conglomeration of purchasing, managing and playing, while iTunes on an iOS device is just an interface into the iTunes Store.

I mean, you want to go buy an app on your phone, you go to the App Store. OK! But let's say you're sitting on your laptop and want to buy an app for your phone. Can you go into the App Store? Nope, that doesn't have iOS apps. You have to go into iTunes! What!?

There isn't a big picture here. Apple developed iTunes and the iTunes stores for laptops and desktops, and then decided to graft the iOS app store and mobile device management on top of it - but then made the opposite design decision to split out the various functions of iTunes on its mobile devices into separate apps. It has been a strange experience watching Apple go in two different interface directions simultaneously and then attempt to reconcile them.

Apple attempts to explain iTunes here.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 4:28 PM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]

Sweet Jebus! And here I thought it was just me being a total idjut about how this stuff work.

*deep sigh of relief*
posted by BlueHorse at 12:04 PM on April 24, 2013

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