Too good enough

March 16, 2004

Lest I appear too thrilled with the Mac, and utterly unlike my normal curmudgeonly self, I do have a gripe.

The software that comes with it (some of it now has been moved to iLife) is just “too good enough”—it’s good enough that there’s apparently not a great demand to build replacements, yet it’s underpowered compared to what I’d expect on other platforms.

iTunes is a good example—it does a good (but not great) job of handling a music library.  It has limited codec support, limited library management tools, and the smart playlists are a bit short of brilliant.  Granted, there are a lot of various Applescripts to address some of this stuff, but some of them won’t be addressed that way (codecs) and the rest would be nice to have integrated in more tightly.

A better example is the DVD player.  It’s nifty to have a DVD player built-in, but when I went looking for some of the settings tweaks I’ve come to expect in tools like WinDVD or Sonic DVD, they weren’t there.  Worse, when I went looking for an aftermarket replacement, I found virtually nothing—apparently the built-in is “good enough” to keep there from being much demand.

It’s a dillema.  I’d hate to suggest that these kind of tools shouldn’t be part of the out-of-the-box experience, but it also annoys me that they seem to be limiting the growth of alternatives.


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