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Just downloaded iTunes 9... and it's still not 64-bit!

Shouldn't iTunes benefit quite a bit from transitioning to 64-bit? Faster media encoding, better data management - it is a media management app after all.

Thus, questions asked :

  1. Does iTunes really benefit from a 64bit transition?
  2. What's taking Apple so long?
  3. When will see a 64bit iTunes?
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Just because the interface is 32-bit doesn't mean that the media encoders have to be. – Breakthrough Sep 9 '09 at 22:21
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Jon Gruber actually discussed this yesterday here. Scroll down to "Itunes 9"

What makes iTunes such an odd duck for Apple is that it’s not just a Mac app — there are far more iTunes users on Windows, and but there is no 64-bit Cocoa runtime for Windows.

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I really like Gruber's speculation that they'd rewrite this built on WebKit. There are many times when I'm browsing the iTunes store and want to go back to the previous view and hit cmd-left arrow (like I would to go back a page in a browser). It just makes sense. – Doug Harris Sep 9 '09 at 21:01
Have you seen the redesigned iTunes store? It looks very nice, much more like an app than a web site. – alex Sep 9 '09 at 21:09
well no doubts that they have to be more careful and slower in laying out the updates, but at least that's better than forking and making two essentially different versions of the software ala Microsoft Office. Have to be patient then, thanks for the link! – caliban Sep 10 '09 at 1:19
As a counterpoint, there's John Nack's take:… – emgee Sep 10 '09 at 8:06

There's 2 reasons.

1) It's hard to transition an app to 64-bit

2) iTunes probably won't benefit much from it.

Point 2 is especially important. What would apple achieve by releasing a 64 bit version of iTunes? Currently, when I run iTunes, it consumes about 70 MB of RAM. It would take a lot for iTunes to require more than 4GB of RAM, that 64 bit addressing would give it. And even if it could, I really wouldn't want iTunes consuming 4GB of RAM. Then you could increase the speed of MP3 (AAC) encoding if it was 64 bit. But this stuff is pretty quick already. I think in most cases, it's limited by the speed of the CD drive you are ripping from, and not the speed of your processor. Movies and stuff play back just fine without skipping.

So, all I have to say is that it would be a lot of work, with no benefit, and nobody would even notice. We'd be much better off asking for 64-bit apps that matter like MS Office (outlook especially), and Visual Studio.

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not to mention, if they wanted to, they could always have a 32 bit front end to a 64 bit encoder. – Journeyman Geek Sep 10 '09 at 2:34
Both those points are kind of moot. When Snow Leopard came out, all but three of the applications for it are 64bit. – Josh Hunt Sep 10 '09 at 7:53
I think the first point really is a valid one. QuickTime X, by itself, does not have all the features that QuickTime 7 had; it still relies on the old version for a lot of stuff. – alex Sep 10 '09 at 9:43

It's hard to transition every app to 64-bit. It takes a lot of resources, especially for such complex apps. In Ars Technicas Snow Leopard review you can read more about the compromises Apple made with Quicktime X (it heavily relies on the old Quicktime 7 for a lot of operations).

The thing is, Apple is spread thin on a lot of projects: Mac OS, iPhone OS, MobileMe, iWork, iLife + all the hardware projects. For the moment, a 32-bit iTunes just works (barely, unfortunately, for me). You'll probably see a major redesign of iTunes with the next Mac OS iteration, when the OS will really be completely 64-bit.

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Frankly, isn't is still basically a classic app (ie cocoa)?

So I suspect there will never be a 64 bit version of Cocoa.

Frankly, I want it to use hardlinks, that would make importing almost instant for files on the same file system (then again, does anything other that UFS and ZFS support that?).

it might benefit, the only apps that consistently show a speed benefit are database apps, which in many senses it is (well, and things that need the address space).

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Carbon is classic. – Nick Bastin Sep 10 '09 at 0:58
Carbon isn't Classic, but it's more classic than Cocoa. Carbon will never be 64 bit though, yes. – Coxy Sep 11 '09 at 7:47
HFS+ supports hardlinks; it's what Time Machine uses. – Coxy Sep 11 '09 at 7:48
A lot of file systems support hard links. E.G. NTFS. – dlamblin May 21 '12 at 19:31

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