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iTunes radio and it's curious omission

iTunes 11.1.3 for Windows

I've always considered myself a reasonable man.  I understand that eventually all technology is rendered obsolete. Sometimes it's because of rapid advancement in the industry and other times it's by design.  With that said, when Apple announced iTunes radio I was intrigued and tried it as soon as possible.

iTunes running on Windows 7  on a Mac Mini Core duo 1.66ghz
When the first available opportunity was presented to me I immediately downloaded the latest iTunes onto the Windows 7 partition of my Mac Mini and was greeted with the radio option.  After setting up a few channels, I spent a few hours listening to it in the background and the quality was generally good.  Commercials were kept to a minimum and the playlists were varied.  In general I found the service to work well for me and thought that I found a great new contender in the online radio war.

That is until one day I booted up into OSX 10.6 Snow leopard, also updating  iTunes to version 11.1.3 and noticed that the Radio option was missing from the Menu.

iTunes 11.1.3 on OSX
Fumbling around the application, I eventually do find a link to iTunes radio and  after clicking on it this popped up on my screen.

"iTunes Radio requires OSX 10.7 or later"
According to Apple, the entire OS needs to be upgraded for streaming radio?  There is one issue with that as the processor on my Mac Mini is not of the 64bit variety.  The last official Apple OS on the Mini is 10.6 Snow leopard.  Putting some thought into it I am honestly baffled.  I understand that this particular Mac Mini comes bundled with the anemic Intel graphics GMA 950 card.  There are some severe limitations with that card especially as you go into any type of modern resolutions.  It would make complete sense if Apple limited their video services since video takes a lot more power to process than audio does.  I went ahead and tested iTunes video services and was able to play both SD and HD video (up to 720p) just fine.  

Still determined to understand if I have missed something I go ahead and fire up Google Music, Pandora, Slacker radio, iheartradio, and Spotify.  First I play them individually and then I play them all simultaneously.

Google Music, Pandora, Slacker, iHeart, and Spotify all playing at once.
All of the available radio services play flawlessly even while my Steam client downloaded files in the background.  It was a mess of music but it worked!  You definitely do not need a 64bit processor to play streaming music according to everyone but Apple.  Again, curiously switching over to Windows on the same 32bit machine allows the same version of iTunes to run iTunes Radio with no issue.

The verdict?

Chalk this one up to a case of Apple greed and planned obsolescence.  It's inevitable that eventually your product will not be able to handle certain features, but if you are going to do limit them please make sure that it's something that would make technical sense.  


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