WMP 11 vs iTunes 7
Well its time for another irregular movement, and there hasn’t been one for a while. Need more fibre…
I’ve downloaded both WMP 11 beta 2 and iTunes 7 recently, and my brain automatically started making comparisons.
A lot of people have something against MS products (MICRO$OFT HAXORD!!!1!!) but I’ve always found WMP 10 to be a very good piece of software, despite trying other music players. iTunes on the other hand I’ve always found to be lame. I appreciate that as a Windows user I’m not getting the full experience, but why should I use a player not designed for my system?
For the longest time I didn’t even have iTunes on my PC, as I don’t have an iPod (style over substance anyone?) and don’t like the interface. But in Apple’s infinite wisdon, you can’t upgrade Quicktime without getting iTunes. Installing iTunes didn’t hagger my system too much (despite it insisting that ‘ituneshelper’ run in the background, which iTunes won’t let you turn off, but XP has no problem blocking), and I did end up finding some features in it that I prefered to WMP 10.
So here we go with the comparison…
WMP 11 has had a massive overhaul with its interface and it has made a good thing better. One major gripe with WMP 10 was that shuffle and repeat was a single button. MS have listened to complaints and now you get two buttons. The library system now goes for a Cover Art based approach that takes some getting used to, but once you have, you’ll wonder how you got by without it. The default skin is also very sexy in an ‘I’m-gonna-tie-in-very-nicely-with-Vista-Aero’ kinda way.
So all in all, i’m very impressed with WMP 11. Its still only in beta 2, but seems very stable and I would happily recommend it.
Having just installed iTunes 7, what can it do to tempt me to its side. I still don’t have an iPod (nor want one) so its ‘seamless integration with the iTunes Store’ isn’t gonna do it. And its this ‘integration’ that gives iTunes 7 its very bad mark. Cover Art. I’m sorry, but why do I have to be signed up to iTunes Store for it to download cover art? Yes its probably free, but why is it necessary? WMP has no problem fetching it without any ‘sign-up’, why can’t this?
This makes some of the ‘features’ of iTunes 7 rather pointless. It’s Cover Browser, while looking quite nice if you do have art, looks dumb if you don’t and is completely unusable. So my only option for browsing my library is the ‘list-of-songs’. Hmm, iTunes is losing already.
I did mention that there were some features I likes in iTunes. One of them is Party Shuffle. I’m yet to understand why MS can’t put an enqueue system in WMP, but maybe a plugin will be developed. Still, its at least 1 tick in the Apple column.
The second reason I liked iTunes is the easy library sharing. Problem is that WMP 11 has a very smart library sharing system that can pick up other users with WMP 11 and asks you whether you’d like to share with them. Its more detailed than the iTunes version, and IMHO, better.
One more menial point, but one still important to me is the inbuilt crossfader. I use WMP’s set to 0.1 seconds to eliminate the jumping between loading mp3s and making mixed CDs smoother whin ripped. I’d love to do that with iTunes, but the smallest you can set the crossfader is 1 second, which is a bit lame. Admittedly I haven’t tried the ‘gapless playback’ that might get rid of the problem.
So far WMP is whipping iTunes, and there are more points I didn’t go into, like WMP’s superior toolbar mode, and how much iTunes seems to run slowly on a mediocre machine.
At the end of the day nothing I say is going to sway people away from iTunes. If you have an iPod (and, unfathomable to me, millions do) you pretty much have no choice. But for the rest (all three of you), I would recommend checking out the beta to see what you think. At least you don’t have to subscribe to anything to get Cover Art.