Apple originally expected to release iTunes 11 at the end of October but pushed it back to some vague time in November. Today, Apple took the wraps off of iTunes 11, which is a dramatic update to Apple's media player. The entire interface has been re-designed to better utilize space as well as improving features throughout the program. This is probably the most dramatic change of the iTunes interface, ever.
So what's changed? Read on to find out.
Redesigned Library Overview and Album Preview
The most striking thing about iTunes 11 is its completely redesigned interface. Gone is the left pane where sections for the iTunes store, playlist, and music library used to reside. In the album view, albums art is laid out in a grid, taking up the entire window. Clicking on an album will show tracks below. This is a much better implementation as you won't have to jump back and forth between viewing different albums.
Enhanced iOS Device Management
Managing content on your iOS device is improved as well. When you plug-in a device, it will show up as a little button on the top right. Clicking on it will bring you to the device summary page where you can quickly see how much space you have left as well as important information about the device. You can still manage your apps, music, and video. There are little tweaks here and there to make things easier to read and understand.
Improved iCloud Integration
iCloud now fully integrates with iTunes 11. Once you sign into your iTunes account, every iTunes track, TV show, or movie will show up automatically in your library, regardless whether you've downloaded them or not. Content that isn't local will have an iCloud icon next to it letting you know that you can download it. iTunes Match gets its own tab in iTunes 11, offering to match your library for $25 a year. iCloud will also sync your play position for your shows and movies so that you can pick up from where you left off on any iOS device. In general, iTunes 11 has been specifically redesigned so that syncing between Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is easier than ever.
New iTunes Store
The iTunes Store has gotten a bit of a refresh as well. The experience is now consistent throughout all of Apple's products. Featured content is displayed up top in a carrousel. iTunes Store content is also fully integrated into your music library. For example, if you're browsing an artist in your own library, iTunes will have suggested albums and tracks right inside your music library.
The MiniPlayer is a discreet player which takes up little space and allows you to see which tracks are coming next. You can even search your music collection without having to go back into your main library.
In The Store Picks are recommendations of tracks and music based on an album, artist, or genre that you like.
The Up Next feature allows you to select a song and easily queue it to play.
The new Preview History button allows you to instantly see which music, movies, and TV shows you’ve already looked at. iCloud will also keep your preview history up to date across your devices.
After a month long delay, it is a bit disappointing that Apple didn't mention anything about a music subscription service. With services like Spotify, Rdio, and Xbox Music taking off, offering huge libraries of songs for the price of one iTunes album a month, Apple really can't afford to keep betting on à la carte music purchases.
For more information about iTunes 11, be sure to check out our review here. Be sure to check out my article, Is iTunes 11 enough to fight Spoitfy?