Oh god, I'd forgotten just how crap iTunes is.
Apple products are not made to be used by people who have anything other than a mac as their desktop machine. I'm sick and tired of trying to work around ridiculous issues and limitations with apple hardware and the iTunes ecosystem as a whole - even on a Mac it's not that bloody good, but on a Win7 machine it's just a complete disaster. I think spending a couple of months with my Nexus S has spoiled me. A mobile device you can drag files on to? oh emm gee. A setup process that says "log in using your gmail account - and done!" ? no, that would be too bloody easy.
I've had my new gen4 touch, sitting at the screen that politely shows me "connect to iTunes now, sucker" for three feckin hours and I'm still no further forward. I'm assuming that only a clean reinstall of iTunes will fix whatever issue with whatever background service is stopping the device being recognised and zzzZZzz. seriously, zzzZZZzzz. bored of this. waiting for the 4.3GB download of xcode was positively fun compared to this.