Note to Apple: iPod/iTunes Suggestions

We are a two iPod family, and as we’ve used them we’ve realized that Apple needs to work on the Windows version of iTunes, and indeed on the installation of the iPod.

Right from installation of the first iPod I experienced some difficulties that I’m not used to with Apple products. Generally installation went well, but I disliked being forced to enter personal information and complete a survey before I could register my iPod. I was also asked for the serial number of the iPod, which is printed in a tiny font normally reserved for the fine print at fast cash services, and to make it worse it is printed in white lettering on a silver background. Once that was complete, and I started iTunes, it located all of the music on my drive. This is nice, but problematic because we use Windows XP, and have several accounts on each machine. Every time my son wants to use iTunes to upload music, he gets a message saying that someone else is logged on. That’s reasonable; XP is multi-user and we never log off. Unfortunately, iTunes thinks that someone else is using it, even if no one else is running the actual program.

Another problem occurred when we went to use the second iPod. They don’t work right out of the box, but need to be configured. So, even though we already had the software installed, we had to install it again. Apple does not describe any situation where two iPods use the same computer. So we installed the software – again – and configured the iPod, not knowing what would happen to the first iPod. When we connected the iPod, a picture of the iPod connector appeared on the screen, but there was nothing in the manual about it at all. My son theorized that it needed to be plugged back into the wall, which turned out to be correct. We were now able to upload music to the iPod.

As a result of this, I have somesuggestions for Apple:

1. Respect XP as a multi-user OS. Don’t start any services until you start iTunes. That way it won’t mistakenly believe that someone else is using it.

2. Provide a way to configure the iPod without re-installing all of the software.

3. Try to foresee situations like two iPods and one computer, and document them. Your user forums were quite helpful though.

4. Describe all of the icons I will see on screen, especially the cable connector icon.

I do have to say that we absolutely love the iPod, and were obviously willing to suffer through the pain.