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Has Hell Really Frozen Over?

Remember when people said that Apple would start developing applications for Windows when Hell froze over? Well, Apple’s website now says “Hell froze over” and is announcing iTunes for Windows — the best Windows app ever.But is iTunes for Apple…

Remember when people said that Apple would start developing applications for Windows when Hell froze over? Well, Apple’s website now says “Hell froze over” and is announcing iTunes for Windows — the best Windows app ever.

But is iTunes for Apple really the best Windows app ever? Gosh, I thought that was Microsoft Word, Navigator, or Internet Explorer… Really, iTunes is a nice piece of software, but it doesn’t have much over, say, MusicMatch (which is the MP3 program that I use on Windows). It does have the nice Macintosh user interface (showing that you can create some very nice applications on Windows, if you only try), and it does integrate nicely with the Apple Music Store, but it doesn’t do a whole bunch of things that I’d like to do — like automatically scan my music library to see when new MP3s get added.

Indeed, while most of the media is making such a big deal about Apple finally developing a Windows application, there’s a big point that everybody is missing. When Apple bought NeXT back in 1996, one of the stated reasons for the acquisition was that NeXT had this amazing technology (originally called AppKit, then called YellowBox, and now called Cocoa) which made it super-easy to develop applications. NeXT had a version of AppKit that ran on top of NeXTSTEP, it’s proprietary operating system, but it also had a version that ran on Windows, Microsoft’s proprietary operating system. The goal was that Mac developers were going to be able to write their program once and have it run on either Mac or Windows (sort of like what was promised with Java, except that AppKit is better).

If iTunes for Windows was written with AppKit, then it’s a real shame that Apple is using this technology internally, but refusing to share it with its own developers.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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