It's ridiculous that, in 2014, you cannot add music or videos to your iPhone or iPad without using iTunes. Let me talk about my brother a bit. This story involves him.
I recently gave my brother an iPad I used to use. This follows a long tradition of ours: my handing down older PC computers I had retired from my stable. But, I ran out of those many years ago having switched to Macs. He wouldn't want a Mac (new or old), but was happy to take the iPad off my hands. He's a PC user, and yes, has iTunes... but, he uses iTunes 10.3 and not going to upgrade to iTunes 11. Period.
Well, that's a problem, since iOS 7 on this iPad requires iTunes 11 to sync. But iTunes 11 doesn't use the Coverflow UI anymore, so it's no good. So, herein lies the problem he faces: how to get his music onto this iPad. Here are his options for doing that without using iTunes sync:
- He can download music previously purchased from the iTunes Music Store. An aside: this would work, except that this iPad is currently in transition and in the 90-day waiting period Apple requires when changing the Apple ID on a device used to download music. I think he may have another week to go before he can download his past purchases, which, really isn't much... most of his music has been ripped from CDs or comes from other sources (Amazon, namely).
- Download music previously purchased from Amazon's MP3 store. This works, but the music is siloed in the Amazon Cloud Player app and isn't added to the music library on the device (that's something that iPad Music app exclusively manages).
- Play music through things like Pandora, Spotify and iTunes Radio. This works, but requires WiFi access which he has at work, but not at home.
He's frustrated by this complexity. His son has an Amazon Kindle Fire and he was able to load music onto it from a USB flash drive quite easily. "Can't I just do that with the iPad?" Nope.
There's a similar situation for video. There's a movie-length video that's in the public domain and he wants to add it to the iPad. Can he just download it with Safari and add it to the video library (like you can on a "regular" computer)? Nope. Can it be imported from a USB flash drive using the iPad Camera Connection Kit? Well, yes and no... I was able to import the video (after naming it with a lowercase, "8.3"-style filename from a folder named "DCIM"), but it went into the Photos app as if it were a personal video... there's no way to load it into the iPad Video app's library.
Why are these hoops there and why must we jump through them? Some are probably there due to contracts with music labels and movie publishers, but I bet some are there to encourage users to use iTunes to manage their media. It is, after all, far easier to get media to these devices if you buy that media from the iTunes Music/Movie stores.
Getting a MP3 into your music library (or a video into your video library) on an iPad or iPhone should be as easy as tapping on a link to download it from Safari, or to open an attachment from an email message. At least, that's how easy it is on a Mac. You should be able to connect to a USB flash drive or hard drive and import the media you want from there, too.
Why engineer barriers for the consumer? Apple, please fix that.