Itunes returns to an earlier interface

I used to use Itunes for years. It worked pretty well to manage music. Then Apple started to add all kinds of features on it, and the interface got so complicated that it was no longer easy or fun to use. At the same time, frequent Itunes updates kept coming out and better options for getting music online were available. I stopped using Itunes and haven’t regretted it.

I can understand why people would want to use Itunes. For most people it is the easiest thing for them to use. It’s already installed and the Apple geniuses will help them with it for free. The problem is that when you really start to use it, it breaks down and doesn’t work very well. For example, the interface.

Itunes returns to an earlier interfaceApple has always had a strong interface that is intuitive. It is part of the appeal of Apple. So for Apple to change interfaces it is a big deal. I was surprised at many of their design choices in the past. For example, Steve Jobs wanted huge icons in the first version of OS X. It seemed more like a toy than a useful thing. I understanding wanting to show of the technology but it was more than a little ridiculous. Fortunately subsequent versions toned down the childish styling, into something more subtle and elegant.

Itunes has always been a difficult program because Apple has tried to stuff too much functionality into it. I used to help people daily with it, and the average person struggled with it. Of course separate applications might have been better, but customers didn’t really have that choice. Really this was a failure of design, and a glaring failure for Apple. I am not a designer but I thought the interface was inconsistent, and obviously more of a comprise between different ideas than a unified theme.

Now Apple says that the next version of Itunes will have the older interface with the left side navigation. People seem to understand left side interfaces with tabs at the top. It is an interesting choice, and one they rarely make. Apple rarely changes its interface in such a public way and admitting that people prefer a different style than Apple suggests. Steve Jobs famously said that people don’t know what they want until they are told. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Or rather, it says that public feedback is taking the place of a better idea of how to manage the Itunes challenge.

Instead of Itunes I have been using Tidal to listen to music which is a streaming service. I don’t want to hold onto music because my tastes change too much for that. My intuition says that iTunes is going to get the ax like iPhoto/iWeb because it was a failure of design. A new app will combine the podcast app and streaming music. Well whatever it is I hope they listen to designers and test it.

Send money from your bank for free

Send money from your bank for free. I tried PayPal but they got greedy and never had good service. I don’t like credit cards or debit cards but they seem to be the best option for money exchange. Handling cash was never safe. Now there is a new option and its called clearXchange.

If you are a member of one of these banks:

  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Bank of America
  • Wells Fargo
  • First Bank
  • Capital One
  • U.S. Bank

You can send money between these banks for free. I am going to try it today and report how the experience is. The things to bear in mind is that the money only seems to be allowed to be sent inside the United States. It can take between 1-5 days. Using Chase to send money to another chase client using Quickpay, I have seen payments happen in 5 minutes on average. The other limitation is that you can only send $2000 per day. Still even with all these limitations, being able to send money essentially for free is fantastic.

Send money from your bank for freeI have looked and used other ways to send money and the costs are much more. I have sent money through Western Union, cashiers check, money order, PayPal and other types of services. At a minimum you pay $10, and sometimes a percentage depending on the total amount. Plus there is the inconvenience of having to go somewhere, or give up very personal information that could be hacked by others. Even if it is online, the delays are silly. PayPal even when you are verified delays funds way too long, so if there is an emergency or you need money quick, it is the worst way to send money.

If the banks allowed money to be sent overseas, this would destroy third-party services like Western Union. I can understand why they are limiting international money transfer. It obviously is to prevent money laundering since that would require experts to detect and pay. It is kind of telling though that major banks are guilty of money laundering, and they had “experts” on staff that were not empowered to stop it. So the obvious answer isn’t always the truth. It is probably true that this is also an agreement between banks to not interfere with their territory. If a bank like Chase was able to make payments internationally, then banks overseas would suffer. Why put your money in a local bank, when you can put it in a relatively safer US Bank and the benefits of having money overseas and easily available? Isn’t this what rich people have done with Swiss accounts for centuries?

I like competition when it drives down costs. This is a great example of competition driving down costs. If those third-parties weren’t a threat to banks, this wouldn’t have happened. I wonder if banks will still be able to hold onto their customers?

Update: I sent money and it was accepted and debited from my account in about two hours. The person receiving the money said it was pending in her account, but that was normal since it takes overnight to deposit any pending credit anyway. Since normally I would pay her with a credit card, she was happy to receive money directly and not have the percentage taken out for the CC transaction fee. I wonder if she will suggest this to other clients?