Apple's iTunes for Windows: Should you bite?

Tempted by Apple's iTunes for Windows? Take a bite and see for yourself.

Apple's iTunes is one of the most popular music-managing programs available for Windows. It can organize thousands of songs and play them back in a high-quality audio format. It also makes it easy to buy music from Apple's huge online store. Is it the best choice for Windows users? That depends. If you own an iPod or similar Apple device, iTunes is probably the easiest way to link your device to your Windows PC. But it's a large program that not only manages your tunes but also wants to manage your videos, podcasts, audiobooks, and other media. It can be unwieldy if you just want to play your music. You might also say it's a free, all-in-one media center alternative keyed to Apple's hugely popular mobile devices and vast library of tunes.

We downloaded iTunes from Apple's site. We unchecked the update option since frequent, time-consuming updates that take over the program are one of the well-known complaints about iTunes; indeed, a new version became available as soon as we opened the program, which seemed a bit quick (why couldn't we just have the new version?). We also deselected updates on the installation wizard and opted not to make iTunes our default media player. The download also includes Apple Store access, though a new feature stores your purchases in the Cloud.

It's hard to please millions of users at once, but iTunes actually does a pretty good job of it, from its iconic interface to its video tutorials. If you're already committed to Apple's music empire, just go with iTunes. Even if you don't have an iPod (or any MP3 player) but just want to centralize your digital music and media in a do-it-all app -- and don't mind dangerously easy access to millions of tunes (including The Beatles) -- then iTunes has much to recommend it, especially when compared with Windows Media Center, which (in our view) suffers in comparison to nearly every other overgrown media player. Bottom line: iTunes is free. Try it and see for yourself if it's for you. If it's not, you're not even out the cost of an oldie.

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