Hands-on with iTunes from the Windows Store: Centennial-ize All The Things

After almost exactly a year since Microsoft announced the fact, and after facing some roadblocks along the way, Apple finally released its iTunes media suite on the Microsoft Store earlier yesterday.

I mean, you can't really miss it

Truth be told, this isn't a hands-on with iTunes - a software suite most of you reading this have likely already used - the views I express here are more of a testament to how underrated the process of a single-click download is from a single, (not quite yet) all-encompassing source, rather than having to hunt for individual install files from vendor websites.

Even better is how quickly the installation process completes - compared to the ridiculously lengthy installation process the iTunes install file follows, the Microsoft Store variant has it up and running almost immediately after the file is finished downloading. This is possibly due to the larger payload - compared to the 260MB install file you can snag from Apple's website, the Microsoft Store edition comes at a hefty 480MB instead. If I hazarded a guess, this translates to less time spent by the installer unpackaging things.

My decade-long experience with the software has been lukewarm at best. iTunes, while unnecessarily bulky and slow to open, has never stalled on me or caused any system freeze, but at the end of the day, it's still iTunes.

What frustrated me more was the bundle of programs Apple included with iTunes. The most I use it these days is to configure my parents' iPads, so while installing it was reasonably straightforward if relatively inefficient, uninstallation stole away half an hour of my time, what with having to individually remove iTunes, Bonjour, Apple Application Support (AAS) in both its 32 and 64-bit versions, and Apple Software Update.

On the other hand, because of the guidelines Microsoft has set for apps that utilize Project Centennial, the uninstallation process for the Store edition of iTunes takes all of three seconds, which, as you'd imagine, is an immense improvement. Mind you, all of the above cruft is very likely still there, but baked into iTunes itself, because the features that require AAS and Bonjour - like shared libraries - are still present, but it gives me immense pleasure to inform you that Apple Software Update is now gone forever, given all software updates are now handled by the Microsoft Store app.

To be perfectly honest, there really isn't much more to say about it. On the front-end, it's the exact same iTunes we all know and hate with a vengeance love, but Project Centennial has really given users a way out of clunky, inelegant installation processes, replacing it with a familiar, yet - in this case - hitherto unknown efficiency that app stores have come to offer.

So if it comes down to a choice between the traditional install file and installation via the Microsoft Store, I hands-down recommend the latter, and hope fervently that more developers jump onboard the idea of distributing their software the same way.

You can download iTunes from the Microsoft Store here, but the masochist traditionalist in you can snag the install file here. It's also worth knowing that if you already have iTunes installed on your computer, the Store variant will automatically replace it upon downloading, so you don't have to expend time removing it first.

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