Gone are the days that you need a floppy disk or a CD to update your system software or applications on your computer. Since the dawn of Web 2.0, software updates, patches, modules and support have become convenient as a click of a button. Web 2.0 has allowed companies to significantly reduce time consumption in developing major new software releases, extensive testing with beta periods and shift away from the tradition software release cycles. There is a greater interest in “Perpetual Beta” where fewer features/updates are developed with more frequent releases using the web as a platform. Most advanced and popular web application utilize the benefits of the state of perpetual beta for a wide variety of reasons. In which they:
- Aim to reduce risks and defects of the application
- Improve relationships with the users or the customers
- Provide real time support and information
- Allow quicker reactions to market changes and demands
- Incrementally create new applications
- and develop better technologies for continuous service improvements
However, the downside of having frequent updates, patches and constant beta features are the danger of excessiveness and application overload. Similarly, the music application giant iTunes has fallen into its own success. Since its inception in 2001, iTunes had adapted the function of beta development more accurately as it made file management a core competency in the application. It created new products such as Genius, Ping, Match and iTunes U that improve the efficiency and convenience of the application.
But with aggressive update releases, iTunes has reached its bloatware status. iTunes architecture has become unnecessarily complex with additional features and inconsistent layers of patches, that its application management interface is unstable and inefficient. According to Jason Snell,
Apple has packed almost everything involving media (and app) management, purchase, and playback into this single app. It’s bursting at the seams. It’s a complete mess. And it’s time for an overhaul.
With every beta update, iTunes has focused on improving on its features and services rather than structure and architecture. Additionally, these frequent updates force the users to download and re-install the entire program bundled with updates for other software, rather than releasing patches. Thus, turning iTunes into an operating system with a messy file management and a clogged hard drive.
iTunes has reached the point where its a agglomeration of features and functionality with repetitive updates, development and fixes. If iTunes is to continue with frequent release cycles, it should incorporate a discipline built, deployment and support processes.
- Broida, R. (2008). 11 things We hate about iTunes.
- Deitel. (2012). Dive into Web 2.0: Software Development.
- Saudan, E. (2012). Re-envisioning iTunes: How Mountain Lion portends the future.
- Gasse, J. (2012). Apples iTunes is a victim of its success
- Snell, J. (2012). iTunes: Time to right the syncing ship