Friday, November 16, 2012

iTunes Regression #2.

Album Ratings didn't arrive to iTunes until version 9 or something, but when it did, devices older than it would not properly handle the new library category.

With album ratings, iTunes would take some computation of track ratings and devise a rating that was applied to an entire album. One could then make a smart playlist that used album ratings in its criteria for selecting tracks to incorporate into the list.

But not all devices know of album ratings in smart playlists. The first generation Apple TV (with system software 3.0.2) didn't know about this, so when it was instructed to show a smart playlist containing album ratings, the list would come up with absolutely no tracks. So to avoid this problem, one could not use smart playlists with album ratings in its selection criteria if it is to be presented (synchronised) to an Apple TV.

The same goes for an iPhone or iPod running iOS 6, apparently. It cannot show smart playlists that have album ratings as a part of its selection criteria—such playlists contained no tracks on the device. But what strikes me as odd in this particular instance is that:

  • this is not the case on an iPhone or iPod running iOS 5; smart playlists using album ratings actually show up with a useful list of tracks rather than nothing,
  • strictly speaking, this is a regression in the Music app on iOS 6, where the operating system has been released after the first version of iTunes 10, so it is not a case of iTunes incorporating a new feature in which iOS didn't know about.

So, how is it that this bug has managed to slip through engineering and quality assurance? Don't Apple test their software anymore, or didn't they think that anyone would notice?

Last updated 17th November, 2012: revised for readability.


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