June 19, 2013
Would Steve Jobs Strangle Tim Cook? Hell No!
As an Apple fan, I always look forward to new devices that not only make my life easier, but do it with an eye towards style and simplicity. As a music fan, I want to listen to my music the way I want to and discover new artists based on what I already know and love.
Based on what I’ve seen and read about iTunes Radio, it will fill the middle ground of the Venn diagram between both sets of people.
So why is there so much criticism towards this new offering?
Because people still want Apple to do the hard thing instead of look for the most elegant and efficient solution.
Strangling Tim Cook
Rocco Pendola with TheStreet.com made the most egregious claim of them all, saying in an interview with CNN, “If Steve Jobs were alive, he would strangle Tim Cook. This is borderline embarrassing what’s going on.”
But let’s talk iTunes Radio before we get into the slap fights.
During the 2013 WWDC Keynote, Eddie Cue announced what the rumors had been expecting for sometime; a streaming radio service that worked like Pandora, but backed by the massive iTunes store.
This by itself is reason enough to choose iTunes Radio over Pandora. The most notable example (at least for this fan) is the complete lack of Beatles tunes found in Pandora’s collection. iTunes has their entire selection, meaning that I can create a station based on the Fab Four and hear the actual version of “Blue Jay Way” as opposed to some crappy orchestral version performed by a bunch of out of work musicians looking to capitalize on the work of others.
(As a cover band musician, I realize the hypocrisy of what I’ve just written.)
Like Pandora, Spotify or others, you can choose to hear more songs like the currently playing tracks or ask iTunes Radio to never play the song again. And though you’ll likely find the Pandora app on 9 out of every 10 iDevices you pick up, you’ll always find Apple’s Music app. You have to jailbreak the thing just to get rid of it, though you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone to do this.
It already knows
iTunes Radio works with an app that’s already on screen, it pulls from the most extensive library of digital tunes in the world, it’s completely free to use, AND it will be automatically installed on millions and millions of devices.
So why the fuss?
Because Apple didn’t “innovate” with their new service.
I’m struggling to determine what sort of innovation Apple could have done on a service that doesn’t necessarily need anything new.
Sure, I would have liked to have seen some more social integration with Apple’s streaming radio offering. (It’s unclear what social integration they have, if any.)
I often choose to listen to Spotify simply because if I hear a song I like, I can Tweet it and share it with friends easily. iTunes offers this, but it’s not as painless.
Even then, if Apple had baked this kind of integration into iTunes Radio (and who’s to say it won’t ship with the final product) would reviewers still have critiqued Apple for a perceived “lack of innovation?”
You bet your sweet bippy they would have.
For years I’ve listened to Pandora and Spotify, discovered new artists, then navigated to iTunes to purchase the album. Baking that directly into one app is a small step towards simplicity with huge ramifications.
Pandora doesn’t know what I do outside of the app, it only knows what I tell it. If I’m already buying all of my music through iTunes, (and there are millions of others just like me in this regard) the new Radio is given a gigantic advantage over these other apps.
On the other hand, I’ve also bought a few guilty pleasures that I don’t want them using a basis for what I like.
But honestly, the same can be said for Pandora. Who among us haven’t had slips of the conscience where we Thumbs Up something we wouldn’t want an automated algorithm to factor into what we normally choose to listen to?
It has years of experience
From what we’ve seen in developer previews and other reviews, iTunes Radio could be the most simple and elegant solution to music discovery. It’s backed by Apple’s expansive catalogue, it has years upon years of experience in what kind of music you like (especially if you’ve been buying music since the early aughts) and will just show up on the day you install iOS 7. You literally could not expend any less energy to discover new music.
Would Steve Jobs strangle Tim Cook?
Absolutely he wouldn’t.
The man was opinionated and made plenty of bad decisions based on personal vendettas and inclinations, but no one can dispute that he always knew how to make a buck.
If what we know about iTunes Radio is correct, Steve Jobs would have given Tim Cook (and probably Eddie Cue) a congratulatory fruit smoothie and a Mercedes for their efforts here.
Besides, why are we still trawling out the corpse of a great man to make our petty, foolish points?
Let the man rest in peace, Rocco Pendola.
Image Credit: Apple