This is just a quick 20 minute article regarding Apple’s recent developments in the music business. Specifically, that ROKR phone, iPod nano, and iTunes 5. It’s easy to write about that first one: “meh?”. It looks like a fat ugly phone, but bear in mind I haven’t seen it in real life. With 512MB storage max, it’s simply something that I wouldn’t really consider based on the iTunes-factor alone. It’s not a reason not to get it, of course, but an iPod shuffle that creates a bulge in my pocket isn’t something I find particularly compelling, especially compared with something like the Nokia N91, for instance.

Moving on, the iPod nano has really nice product pictures. It looks pretty fancy, and Michael Gartenberg likes it, so I guess there’s not more to say. I’m not sure I’m convinced of the storage capacities 0.5 & 1, 2 & 4, 20 & 60 product matrix, but I think at this stage it’s as important to keep the iPod line “fresh” and keep people talking about it rather than miss out on a nicely balanced set of numbers.

Finally, and this was my impetus for writing this article, iTunes 5 is ugly ugly ugly. Listen, iTunes 4.9 was ugly as well. And some of the changes in the new version are for the better. But the horribly square window and the even worse faux LCD display just do not sight at all comfortably with me.

The worst thing? They did nothing to reduce the clutter or improve the features (search, whoop-dee-doo – I keep my iTunes library organised, thank you very much), and the interface now contains so many gradients that I’m getting flashbacks of ClarisWorks circa 1990. (That is, going overboard with using them, not ClarisWork’s interface. Desktop DTP almost never recovered.)

If I had the time, I’d like to mess around with some mock-ups of an iTunes-like interface just to see how hard it actually is to create something attractive.

Oh, one last point. It’s kind of cool to have folders of playlists that displays in the top level the culmination of songs that are contained within it.