Now comes the tricky part: moving over. I really hate iTunes. I'm still using iTunes, mostly because I'm stubborn, but also because I'm not sure there's a replacement that can sync everything that iTunes can. So here's a list of things that I think an iPod/iPhone manager should absolutely have, in order of importance (IMO):
- Library management
- CD Rip (to MP3/M4A)
- Smart Playlists
- Video Type (Movie/TV Show/Music Video)
- Play Count
- Album Art
- 'Remember Position'
- 'Skip when shuffling'
- (Touch/Phone only) App Sync
- (Touch/Phone) Contact Sync
- (Phone) Ringtones Sync
- (Touch/Phone) Books?
- iTunes U?
My guess is that after a couple days of intense searching, I'll come up short and stick with iTunes, which is a damn shame. I'm even willing to "piece together" an iPhone manager, for example, like one program for music, another for photos, and another for videos. I've found a pretty amazing music manager called MusicBee that is everything I wanted; the only thing it lacks is iOS4 support. But as for video and photo, I've come up blank. The only -literally only- Video Manager freeware I've found is called Pump, and is unstable, to say the least; additionally, although it does claim iTunes sync, I don't think it has separate sections for TV shows/Movies/Music Videos. And I can't find a freaking photo manager anywhere.
So I'm kinda stuck, which sucks, because I was all mentally prepared to switch. I've been using iTunes, the same iTunes library for years, so it's got all my ratings, playcounts and whatnot, and I am a stickler when it comes to playcounts. But I decided to start fresh, and actually rebuild my library tossing out songs I don't want. It's a big step for me, and all I need is a few programs to make it work. Here's what I believe I'll need, separating everything into it's own section:
- Music: Really self explanatory, except for the few things I mentioned above. Also needs to keep and organize the library.
- Video: Needs to be able to handle iPhone compatible formats, differentiate between types (movie/tv show/podcast/music video), and needs to be able to sync only certain videos in your library.
- Photo: Two way sync, that's all.
- Apps: Need to be able to back-up and restore iTunes store (and possibly Cydia) apps. This may not exist, so iTunes may be acceptable for only this.
On a side note, I'm still trying to sell my Gravity T and iPod Touch 3G 32GB, so if anyone in the Denver area wants either or both, e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ok, I'm caving and going back to iTunes. I actually did search for several days before my trip and most of today, and I'm just convinced that nothing is up to par with iTunes, possibly even including shareware. The list I posted above isn't even complete, as I found out Ringtones and other things need to be added to the list.
Basically there just isn't enough demand to get certain things like an iPhone photo manager or a video manager, or even a ringtone manager. It used to be that there were no replacements for iTunes for even music, but now you have your choices, even though with every firmware update, freewares seem to become less and less motivated to follow Apple's stupidity.
I think I've come to realize something that I've actually learned firsthand several times: I don't hate iTunes entirely. Because honestly, the apps I love the most -Songbird and MusicBee- are laidout and perform similarly to iTunes, and I tend to bend away from apps that break that mold like MediaMonkey or foobar2000 (though both of those look amazing). The reason I say that I hate iTunes and I really do is because it's a good idea done absolutely terribly wrong. Here's why:
- Slow as hell: On Windoze, it just runs slow, period. Everything takes a few seconds to respond.
- Resource intensive: It just eats up CPU and RAM with all of its services and the program itself.
- Invasive: Perhaps the most annoying. It does things like steal focus when there's an update and install Quicktime every time you install an new version.
I started a wiki called "Alternatives to iTunes" that I might try to write very thoroughly about every program that can be used as an iPod/Phone/Pad manager, but I don't know if I will ever get it off the ground. This is definitely one of those times I had enough programming knowledge to write my own.