The problem with iTunes and Windows 8

The problem with iTunes and Windows 8

According to the chief financial officer of Windows -- what, your company doesn't have a product-level CFO? -- Microsoft has laid out the welcome mat for iTunes for Windows 8, but Apple has yet to come a knocking. Why ever could that be?

I was asked recently on Twitter why the Mac App Store wasn't bundled into the desktop iTunes app the way the iOS App Store is, and so many other things are. I don't know the official rationale, but my immediate instinct was -- because it's the Mac App Store, and that means it doesn't have to be ported to Windows. And if it doesn't have to get ported to Windows, it doesn't have to go into iTunes.

After all, iTunes is the only major piece of software Apple currently ports to Windows. Safari for Windows, after a brief, uneventful life, has gone missing in action, and QuickTime and the various iCloud and iOS management utilities are just that -- utilities. iLife doesn't get ported. Pro tools don't get ported. Just iTunes.

Steve Jobs once called iTunes for Windows a glass of water in hell. I've joked it was revenge for Office on Mac. Really it was a business necessity in the pre-post-PC world. iPods -- and eventually iPhones and iPads -- needed iTunes on the desktop to purchase, manage, and sync media and apps, the vast majority of computers ran Windows, and so iTunes had to run on Windows.

iTunes desktop isn't so easily reinvented. So it's being obsoleted.

And that screwed it over for everyone. Apple, in their infinitely looped wisdom, decided it would be easier for them to port, and easier for us to use, a single, monolithic iTunes app than anything more specific or distributed, a single jack-of-all-trades app, wrapped up for easy transplant, rather than several masters of one carefully cut apart and crafted. And as iOS grew, and new content types like apps and iBooks, and new use cases, like Wi-Fi sync grew, iTunes on both Mac and Windows grew (and grew).

Absent the need to port to Windows, we get the light, purpose-built Mac App Store. On iOS get separate iTunes Store, Music and Video apps, we get a separate App Store, and we get separate iBooks, Podcasts, and iTunes U apps. We get many little shots of water that aren't anywhere nearly as hellish. iTunes desktop isn't so easily reinvented. So it's being obsoleted.

In a post-PC world, a lot of the jobs formerly required of iTunes on the desktop have been pushed up into the iCloud. You can pretty much setup, manage, fill, and sync a new iOS device, out of the box, without ever once plugging it into iTunes on the desktop. (I don't think I've synced with iTunes on the desktop even once since the iPhone 4S launched with iOS 5 in October of 2011.)

Sure, transferring big media files and moving around large numbers of icons are still painful in the wireless world, but that's something Apple can and needs to fix, and inevitably it won't be by going back to the iTunes desktop.

There's a reason why the iPad doesn't run iTunes desktop, and why you can't download iTunes desktop from the iOS app store.

There's a reason why the iPad doesn't run iTunes desktop, and why you can't download iTunes desktop from the iOS app store. You can't tether an iPhone to an iPad for device management purposes. iOS didn't need no stinking iTunes desktop. And it's the same reason why Windows 8 probably won't get a "Metro" version of iTunes desktop either.

Microsoft is still dominant-beyond-dominant in the PC market, but the PC market isn't as important as it used to be. New iOS customers, the kind who are drawn to things like Windows 8 "Metro", are probably also drawn to online services like iCloud, Dropbox, Skydrive, Spotify, Netflix, etc. and they'll do just fine without traditional iTunes ported and portly on the Surface RT. Mainstream customers, the kind who are sticking with Windows XP or Windows 7, are also likely sticking with iTunes desktop, and they'll be just fine with traditional iTunes running as a traditional desktop app.

iTunes for Mac is in the midst of a transition. It's not impossible to see where it's going over the next few years, and it's not the stodgy old desktop we all know and love to hate. It's going somewhere new. If an how iTunes for Windows goes with it will depend on Windows' importance in the post-PC world. Maybe iTunes will become more an iCloud-powered player than device management game.

That Microsoft has re-discovered the tablet market is nice. That they're experimenting with mix-mode devices is interesting. But Metro probably doesn't need full-blown iTunes any more than iOS does, and the Windows 8 Store probably won't get old-style iTunes much faster than the App Store will get old-style Office.

The world has changed.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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The problem with iTunes and Windows 8

40 Comments

Very interesting article.
I agree, mainstream users shouldn't need to use iTunes on a desktop anymore, and also most mainstream users aren't running Windows 8. it's not worth Apple's time making iTunes run on Windows 8, but also if people on Windows 8 are that desperate and need iTunes that badly, they can buy a Mac.

Or they can buy an Android, Windows phone, or blackberry. Plenty of options out in the mobile space that sync and can be managed without the need for an overly bloated, kludgey at best proprietary desktop app.

The most popular 'overly bloated, kludgey, (non) proprietary desktop app'....of ALL TIME! Don't attempt a comparison to Kies and its absolutely horrific design and 'kludgey-ness' which is mandatory to do any kind of updates and/or 'hardware/local backup' on your Samsung device. Is there an option for Blackberry? We know all about Window's options. In the history of software development, especially software that integrates so easily, seamlessly and efficiently with arguably, the MOST popular media device of all time (iPod, then iPhone...now the iPad)...no single piece of software has been as popular, as efficient and as ubiquitous as iTunes has. To villafy it's merits shows your ignorance.
Are there refinements to be made? Yep!
Can it get even better? Yep!
Should it possibly be broken down to separate media apps? Not in my opinion.
I own Android devices. As well as iOS. Google does a fine job with android...and backing up. But when it comes to pure media management, there isn't an alternative to iTunes on ANY platform. Hence the reason folks a lot smarter than you and I are clambering for a Metro version of iTunes. To them, it could make or break a Fortune 500 business;)

J

I think you're confusing "popular" with "necessary" or "most widely used." I don't know anyone who truly enjoys their experience with iTunes.

Even though I never use it anymore. I did "truly enjoy" my experience with iTunes. With iOS being PC Free now, I have no use to sync with iTunes anymore. I do not purchase music as I use Spotify to stream whatever I want.

Really? So when you would open up iTunes you'd think to yourself, "I'm really enjoying this app. This app is so enjoyable! I'm taking immense pleasure using this tool to put music on my phone! I don't even need to listen to the music or watch the videos, just staring at the app and transferring files back and forth is bringing me so much enjoyment!" I'm going to go out on a limb and so you never did that because if you did you wouldn't have left iTunes for Spotify.

LOL---Come on, seriously? If you hang out with 'geeks' like us...sure, I see your point. But for the 'masses'...and absolutely I'm NOT confusing 'popular' with 'most widely used'....they mean the same thing!!! Geeks=Love to slam iTunes. General public---BS! They Love It!!! Millions upon Millions use it every day---most don't complain. the UI is intuitive. Regardless of how 'bloated' every tech pundit likes to exclaim it is....it's hands down the easiest to use media organizer/play back software available....and YES, Most Widely Used=====Popular!!! "Necessary"...not since iOS 5, you don't 'need' iTunes any longer for any iOS device. Not even for activation.
However...if you're into sharing your library in home...streaming movies to Apple TV, storing books, watching university professors in iTunes U---grabbing a ringtone or the latest Britney Spears album...it's all there. It's easy to find, it runs clean and efficiently on a Mac...not sure who you 'hang' with...to not enjoy your experience in iTunes is akin to the idea of nostalgia and WinAmp, or any of the other goofy free-ware we used in the 90s....riddled with 'issues' and 'challenges' when it came to the UI, transferring to your 'MP3' players...decoding or encoding different codecs....ugh!!!
Look...I don't wanna sound like an iTunes evangelist...even though I do;)
The point I wanted to make...it is indeed popular. And mainly by choice. Others have come and gone...none have stuck. Google, Android, Amazon...they all have media organization and cloud options for your media...yet their user-ship pales in comparison. No one NEEDS iTunes. Folks choose to use it...and for the most part....outside of the coder, wannabe 'developer', spider feeding community...most folks enjoy their iTunes experience. Again...I do want to say, as I did earlier...there's always room for improvement. In my world...as a mobile entertainment company owner of 22 years...iTunes has literally changed my business...along with iOS devices and the ability to organize and sync my music. We use it as our 'foundation' for Traktor and Serato. Much like iPhoto works for organization....when you need to professionally 'play' music or want deeper options...MOST big developers incorporate iTunes as the 'base' software for your library. Always simply integrated....and ALWAYS an intuitive way again, to access your media.
If you have specific complaints about it...be specific. What is it that makes it an unenjoyable experience?

J

Unable to play music files besides mp3 and m4a.
Unable to play video files that aren't mp4 and .mov.
Unable to sync pdfs or document files to my iPhone.
Unable to to sync photo folders outside of the Pictures folder or iPhoto.
Once it loses it's connection to an iDevice that is plugged in, it takes 10 steps to get it to re-find the device if it ever does. Usually takes computer rebooting to find it again.
Unable to sync with third party storage programs like Dropbox that would save users a lot of headache.

Ultimately all these points are moot though since I no longer need to use iTunes any longer to use my phone...wait, no, I want to watch a couple episodes of Firefly that I ripped onto my harddrive. Damn, the files are .mkv files. Now I have to open up a file converter to get them to play on my iDevice.

I don't know anyone who buys media anymore. They all pay to watch it and then move on; Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, etc. The idea of "ownership" is fading fast and Apple is grasping tooth and nail to keep people connected to iTunes to keep making that all important dollar instead of being progressive like those companies I listed.

And yes, you do sound like an evangelist. I imagine a saucer-eyed 13 year old girl staring fondly at her iTunes, wishing she could marry it :P

And yes, everyone needs iTunes if they choose to use an iDevice. It's just a reality. If you have songs on your computer that you want on your device, you have to have iTunes.

Nothing on my computer gives me the feeling of "enjoyment." I don't take pleasure in using my computer. It's a tool to help me communicate with others and make art. Do you enjoy your steering wheel? Do painters enjoy holding the brush? These are tools that allow us to do other things, they either work or they don't. For me there isn't much of an in between and iTunes has never really worked the way I want it to which is why I only use it for uploading one playlist and TV shows/Movies. I use Spotify, Netflix and Hulu for the rest and Dropbox for file management.

Come on now...you know better, if you know iTunes. These days there are plenty of third party conversion apps to play nearly anything through iTunes. Not that one would want to. Again...as I mentioned, to me...and to all I know these days---it's an organization program. Period. Like iPhoto. Like a bank. A place to genuinely organize your library. If you want to keep it lossless, you can. You can rip it however you'd like...to maintain it's pristine 'CD Quality' sound;)
I'm a vinyl geek. Over 5,000 albums...and done picking up more, other than a rarity once in a while or a trip to Amoeba records in San Fran! I mentioned in my earlier post how I pay my mortgage...I, too, rely on my computers to make money. iTunes is truly @ the Heart of my business though...and I've run it for 22 years now....a time I was humping milk crates filled with vinyl. Other than Thriller, Zep 4 and the Eagles Greatest Hits....there were 2, maybe three tracks per album that were 'playable'. From there...we transitioned to cassettes for 'mix' tracks and playback...to the venerable CD, and now digital. iTunes simply 'stores' our library. It's perfect for that concept. Whether it's SFX, presidential speeches...SNL audio clips or "Call Me Maybe"....all of my audio, stored nice and neat...in order and backed up with iTunes Match. I'm also a fan of movies. Like you. Before I had my kids...I would buy the 'new' Tuesday DVD just for Sh'ts n Grins. Now...easily ripped into a shared drive, nicely compressed, I've managed to set up nearly 1,000 DVDs for in home sharing or on the road loading. (I no longer, like you...buy movies unless it's the rare over the top BluRay I've got to have....I, too, enjoy Netflix, Spotify, MOG and Hulu +). I'm an avid fan of iTunes U....love watching 'Harvard' coding classes;). PDFs? Seriously? If you have ANY type of PDF app on your iOS device, you can easily share between devices...but I much prefer DropBox for this type of service. Never really thought of iTunes as a PDF repository. Again...it's iTunes. Why are you trying to sync 'pictures'? Do you have a Mac? Why NOT use iPhoto or Aperture? ....or Photo Stream??? Not sure what you mean by losing connection to an iDevice. I've got a half dozen 'working' Macs...3 iMacs, 3 MBPs (all 2011/2012 models...maybe that's the difference?). These are specific to our mobile audio/video business and are solely used for live performances. Never EVER had an issue maintaining 'sync'. And if it's THAT paramount to NOT lose your connection...you can easily plug it in via USB. These days, it's not like the old days...you aren't limited to one computer to sync to. You can manually manage your music, your media for that matter....specific playlists to sync, ringtones, only a few of your books---iTunes can be a nice repository for your apps if you are an app 'junkie' family as we are....and if you're worried an 'old' app may disappear. This also eliminates the need when you get a new iOS device to eliminate downloading all of your apps back to the phone, music, etc. Just plug it in to the computer and set it up. It seems to me either A) You're using a Windows computer and iTunes....to that I cannot speak intelligently. I only use Macs these days, including our personal computers. Or B) It's been a while since you've used iTunes.....OR you need a refresher course on how to use iTunes! I'm not sure you understand just how much iTunes/iPod/iPhone/iOS devices in their entirety have CHANGED to music industry. Not necessarily for the best. It's all opinion...again, I listen to vinyl;). Not to mention the fact that iTunes/App Store included could themselves be Fortune 500 companies. They're MONSTERS!!!! Apple is definitely NOT grasping tooth and nail to keep folks connected to iTunes. It's the default/go-to media organizer. Nothing competes. And again...I declare your ignorance in the statement that 'everyone needs iTunes if they choose to use an iDevice'. That's Bull Sh!t. I'm not sure if you're simply out of 'tune'---pardon the pun....or simply that far removed from using the software lately...either iTunes or an iOS device...but since iOS 5.0, no longer is iTunes necessary. At. All. Everyone gets a free iCloud account with ample storage. From there, everything---including the 'way you have your apps organized' is stored. Everything. When you buy a new one...turn it on, log in, and let it do it's job. Pending how many apps, contacts and birthdays you've got loaded---you're up-n-running in literally minutes, and your phone is an identical duplicate of your last...without the need to EVER plug in to iTunes.

Yes...plenty of times my computer gives me feelings of 'enjoyment'. I'm a 42 year old married father or 3. Not a 13 year old saucer-eyed girl. I've been involved in the tech industry for 25 years now....and to this day, I enjoy everything about technology. To ME, there's something STILL very special about buying a new Retina MacBook Pro...a new iPhone, a new iPad....the new iTunes 11 update. I still get excited....but you're right, the steering wheel in my truck does not get me going. My tools on the other hand.... ;)

If you seriously need some tutelage on iTunes, I'm willing to lend you a hand. It's actually VERY powerful software...and with a couple of plug-ins, it's simple to use. Learn a couple of key pad short cuts....you may just be surprised at how good a 'tool' it can actually be. Especially if you pick up a couple of 'pucks' for around the house (Apple TV). Grab an old iMac off Craigslist, add a couple of external TB drives, throw it in the crawlspace as your media server...you'll be set!!! Not only with Netflix, Spotify, and Hulu +, but all of the content YOU own from your CDs to your DVDs, BluRays to your photos....I can lend you a hand. Not sure how we would Private message each other, but I don't mind giving you my Twitter handle;)

If you're too proud to ask for help, Sorry....but if that's the case, you shouldn't spout such drivel and expect to not be shown 'The Truth!' ;)

You're right---I AM an Evangelist!!! Damn!!!!!

I'm sorry, but it's very difficult to follow you on these long posts.

You asked why I don't like it. I listed the reason it natively doesn't work for me.

First you tout the raw power and ease of iTunes and how great it is, then say you know longer really use it.

You say it can do everything, but not really, because you need third party apps to make it do everything.

I tell you why the picture syncing side of it is flawed, then you ask why I even use it for pictures? That's your argument? I shouldn't be using it to sync photos? I hate to break it to you, other people aren't you. You're in IT, I'm a professional photographer. Our NEEDS are going to be different. Asking me why I need it to sync photos makes you come across like a 12 year old jackass. And I don't use iPhoto or Aperture because they are simply bad programs not meant for anyone beyond my grandmother to use. Which isn't a put down, because most people us it like my grandmother. Only a small handful of pros still use Aperture because Apple is awful at updating it. And photo stream isn't an option to UPLOAD edited photos on my iDevice to show people my work in interviews.

You say you have all these ripped vinyl albums and DVD's but then say you no longer need iTunes. Tell me exactly how you're viewing those ripped DVD's on your iDevice?

And then you say you don't need iTunes for music because you can listen to all your music from the cloud. Tell me how you get your music INTO the Cloud, last time I checked, you need iTunes for that.

I told you I watch all my visual on my iDevice by using third party apps to recode it to iTunes friendly codes, then you tell me I MUST need a tutorial on how to use iTunes because I obviously don't know how to use it, then proceed to tell me what I just told you, that it needs third party apps to make it work with those files, WHICH IS WHY I TOLD YOU I DON'T LIKE IT. Please, enlighten me on how to natively watch .MKV and .AVI files without transcoding, either that or keep up with my point.

We're old, we still have stuff we "bought" and store in computers. Most kids these days are buying apps, not music or media. They watch their media through Youtube, Netflix, and Hulu. They listen to music on Spotify, Rdio, Youtube and other apps and sites. Apple is terrified of this! And if they're not, then the mass stampede of people moving to Android should be terrifying them. Losing 3-5% market share a year is a devastating loss that is difficult to come back from, just ask Microsoft. Will Apple ver stop losing money? Probably not. Will they be a game changer if they don't shift fast? Probably not. They'll end up like Microsoft, a company that makes more money off of it's patents sold to Android than off anything it creates in the mobile realm.

I don't disagree that iTunes has helped revolutionize the market. But it's a bloated antiquated app that isn't serving a real purpose any longer, which is why, as you clearly stated, we don't need any longer (unless I want to watch my stored old man media).

So I'm not really clear what your argument is, because you are kind of talking in circles. One minute defending the greatness of iTunes, the next saying how little you use it and no longer need it.

you need ITunes for Ipod. Its only not worth your time when you lazy! you want more people to buy your product you make it work on everything

Not spending ridiculous money on a Mac just for the privilege of giving crApple and the artists who've signed customers away with iLoons exclusives money they don't seem to want. That arrogance is why "What You Hear" and "Stereo Mix" exist as recording sources. Hey, but thanks anyway.

you fucking moron! Who the hell buys a new computer just to use itunes? fucking moron! why don't you buy me one? stupid bitch

One thing I know for sure, I absolutely hate iTunes on Windows. I used it last week because I absolutely had to, before that its been like 2 years.

Hi Rene,
The problem is actually there's no iTunes for Windows 8 RT, not Windows 8. iTunes works with Windows 8, but on the desktop mode, since iTunes 11.0.2.
And also, I suspect the problem is more technical. iTunes heavily use WebKit, specially for iTunes Store and iTunes LP, meanwhile Windows RT doesn't allow any web rendering engine, except Trident (IE rendering engine); more or less the same iOS only allow UIWebView as web rendering engine.

I would just as soon see iTunes blown up even on the Mac. I have been playing with the beta of Instacast on Mac, and if I like it well enough, I won't need iTunes at all, I can buy iOS apps directly on the device.

However, Windows 8/RT/whatever isn't going anywhere, it will become increasingly harder to buy Windows 7 PCs, and I can't see Apple not wanting hundreds of millions, and eventually a billion or more, PC users to be able to buy their music and videos from Apple.

I agree, I can't imagine Apple being that stupid. They already made the biggest business error of the 21st Century when they chose to make the App store proprietary. Imagine the money they would have now if they created a universal app store and all oS's and carriers had to play nice with it. One set of apps instead of 3 or 4 per OS, and all the money going straight to apple. They blew that big time.

Apple doesn't make much money off the App Store. All their software is for one purpose - to sell hardware.

I create playlists on iTunes. Which the blackberry desktop software picks up on and auto syncs to my phone via usb or wifi. Done deal, and that's as far as I ever need. I could find an alternative I'm shur. The odd time ill edit an mp3 to remove some advertising in the info. Overall iTunes is perfectly fine for the masses.

A metro app would be usless, nobody uses that anyways. It's just an annoying thing behind my desktop.

You make some good points. I take one exception though...You called iTunes the desktop software that "we all know and love to hate". I've never hated iTunes. I think it needs some simplification though. If you're using a Mac with and SSD, and lots of RAM, iTunes launches in about a second or two. I still use iTunes to help manage my iOS devices. I know that should I ever need to replace an iOS device, or restore one, I can download my apps all over again right on the device, and I can maintain backups on iCloud. I prefer not to though. Instead, I prefer to keep a copy of my apps on my MacBook Pro, and also backup my iOS devices there as well. Part of the reason for this is that I'm impatient :) I don't want to wait for things to download all over again. Doing a full restore, and reinstall of my apps takes long enough, so why would I want to do all of that on the device? As for iTunes on Windows 8... I don't think Apple would want to subordinate their brand identity to the Windows 8 Metro interface, and why would they want to develop a new version just for Windows RT? The iOS/iTunes/iCloud ecosystem is great, but there are other choices, so if consumers CHOOSE to buy a Windows 8 tablet, that's their choice. If they didn't educate themselves before making the purchase, that's their problem. Also, Microsoft created this problem all on their own. They're the ones basically forcing the Metro interface on their customers. At least Apple has the good sense not to do this. We're not forced to use Launch Pad, Mission Control, Notification Center, etc. If you look back to OS X's past, Apple gave us a great transition tool called Classic. We didn't need to immediately buy new apps to be able to use OS X. Apple kept Classic around for a few years, and then killed it when they had given all of us long enough to complete the transition. Microsoft did the opposite. The feedback I've heard from business users is that they like how Metro looks, but it makes Windows inconvenient to use as a business OS. Metro should be OPTIONAL, not forced. Stop forcing Metro on customers, and this whole issue with iTunes not being Metro friendly becomes moot. Metro is another example of Microsoft trying to be all things to all people. It's the same thing with Office, which is why I try to use iWork as much as possible.

I don't hate itunes on windows either. I consider it a benefit. Those that use icloud only get limited experiences.

Besides, it doesn't have to be one or the other. I use icloud. I also use itunes. I prefer desktop itunes usually to manage my idevices.

As to Apple not wanting to design a metro itunes? I'd imagine they're not the only ones. The real debate still has to do with MS, metro and windows. I don't even equate metro with windows. It's junk. The majority of users hate it. It's bloatware to the extreme on a desktop. The best you can do is try to hide it if you want the other benefits of windows 8.

I honestly don't know what I would do without iTunes on my Mac. I have over 100GB of music ripped from CDs (that I will still buy as long as they're sold) that I listen to at home all the time. I'm not going to spend 100s of dollars to store them in Apple's cloud. How else will I manage to get a subset of that music on my iPhone plus all my contacts and calendars without iTunes? And how do I sync desktop apps like financial software if Apple moves it all to the cloud?

Yeah, iTunes tends to be a bit bloated (going way beyond "tunes"), but I don't see a better alternative. "The Cloud" is hip and cool and all the rage, but it just screams "hack me"; I see successful breaches of cloud services every day. I'm not that hip and cool that I want all my personal and financial data sitting out there for hackers to exploit.

More like the "iPod world" for Apple. Apple's profits gradually ramped as iPod sales increased. In January 2007, iPod sales accounted for 48% of Apple's revenue.

Great story Rene. One point re: "But Metro probably doesn't need full-blown iTunes any more than iOS does..."

It may be that Apple is planning an extreme re-architecting of iTunes for both OS X and Windows 8. The latest update to iTunes 11 was mostly just a cosmetic warm-over. And if Apple really is planning a quantum leap for iTunes, it will come to OS X first, then to Windows.

iTunes for Metro is pointless, as iTunes for the desktop works. Who wants to spend their time in Metro? If Microsoft doesn't get now that Metro is only valid on Tablets and their phone (Not desktop computers), then they're just asleep at the wheel, which is no big surprise.

iTunes is a necessity for people like me with large music libraries to sync. iCloud doesn't cut it. I actually sync my iPhone and iPad with my desktop everyday.

Lots of music, as DNRuffin, points out.

Also, if you are a parent, being able to snoop through your adolescent's backup files is important to keeping them safe on the smutnet.

As to just buying electronic files instead of CD's - my Amazon copy of Eric Clapton's song Tears in Heaven that I "bought" just went bad because the rights were withdrawn. If I had gotten the CD, I'd still be listening to it.

Give me plastic over magnetic patterns for my $ any day!

Why would truly redsng the app for Windows "metro" when they probably would not for the Mac.

I think Apple does need to break up the desktop iTunes app into smaller apps, like on iOS. There would be apps called Music, Videos, Podcasts, iTunes (for finding, renting, purchasing content), etc. And that will require a huge amount of work. Each app needs its own customized interface (even though they may all connect to some iTunes process running separately.)

Doing the same thing for Windows would also require a huge amount of work. So Apple won't do it unless Metro becomes wildly successful. It isn't now and it probably never will be. So Apple, if they decide to break up Windows iTunes into smaller apps, will do it for the Windows desktop. Not Metro.

Or maybe Apple will leave iTunes as-is on the Windows desktop. A massive, confusing, monolithic "platform" of an app. They could break up iTunes' functions into smaller, bite-sized apps on OS X, then let the Windows version fester for a few years. Wait for Windows-users demand for the bite-sized apps to reach a fever pitch. Then release the bite-sized apps to a crescendo of media hype. I wonder if Apple will do that.

Re: "There's a reason why the iPad doesn't run iTunes desktop, and why you can't download iTunes desktop from the iOS app store."

And it has nothing to do with iTunes. Replace the phrase with "iTunes desktop" with "desktop apps" and you get this:

"There's a reason why the iPad doesn't run desktop apps, and why you can't download desktop apps from the iOS App Store."

And that reason is: "Because desktop computing and mobile computing require vastly different user interfaces." That require separate OSes and apps for desktop and mobile. That Microsoft has tried to mash up into a single OS. Which is evidently a disaster.

I had the same problem with my Ipod in windows 8, and after a lot of reading and trying I solve the problem with an easy solution:
1. Download the following software: http://www.syncios.com/
2. Install syncios in your windows 8 pc or laptop
3. Open syncios, if a message appears saying you have to close Itunes, dismiss it.
4. Open Itunes, and it should recognized your Ipod now.

Note: You have to do this every time you need to conect your Ipod to the computer.

Good Luck everyone