iTunes 11 Released: A Look at New Features & Functions
Apple has released iTunes 11 a full month after the original intended release. Apple users on Mac and PC can now download the new iTunes software to play their music, but with a complete format overhaul, many users might not appreciate the changes at first. The new iTunes 11 features a simplified interface, dropping unpopular features, and adding a bit more of a modern look.
New iTunes 11 Release Date & Download
The new iTunes 11 was available for download before 6 AM in United States on the 30th of December. Users who took advantage of the immediate download were given about a 5 minute download wait period, which can be longer or shorter depending on your internet connection. You will also be prompted to accept the terms of service and hope Apple hasn’t just bound you to a lifelong agreement to purchase a new iPod every year (because no one ever reads terms of service agreements).
From there, your iTunes will restart, and then will search and load your music (I have about 32GB of music and the process took about four minutes). Once loaded, you have iTunes 11.
The New iTunes 11 Interface
The new iTunes 11 interface features a stripped down clean look with squared corners. I downloaded iTunes 11 for Windows 7 yesterday at about 5 AM, and for iTunes 11 for Mac at about 11PM. There are some differences between the two interfaces, but they are mostly similar with Mac maybe having a slightly cleaner look.
The new iTunes completely drops Pink, which was annoying for most people, I also haven’t seen iTunes DJ or any of the other annoying sidebar options. In fact, the sidebar is all but gone in the main library, where you won’t see anything but your albums, and when you click on your albums, a list of songs in the album, plus related music in the iTunes store. The new iTunes 11 also features cloud integration for users who have paid to store their music in iCloud.
iTunes 11 has also seamlessly integrated the iTunes store and app store into the iTunes interface. Users can now browse through store and library without much change.
Positive Features About iTunes 11
The first thing that I noticed about iTunes 11 is that it’s fast. I have roughly 3,500 songs in my library and it took iTunes about four to five minutes to load them before (with covers). Now the process is much faster and I would guess about under a minute. This is a definite improvement in my book. From the looks of it, iTunes 11 is much less clunky and a lot more sleek and modern.
What’s next? The iTunes Genius is gone! I hated that thing! If I want to play something, I’ll just hit shuffle, no need to try to outthink what music I like. With Ping, Genius, and DJ out of the mix, iTunes users have a much cleaner interface, albeit with fewer features and functions.
Fixes, Changes, & Updates
When you first open the iTunes 11 interface, you might be a bit confused. There are little to no navigation options, but it’s easy to get them back if you can’t live without, let’s say your sidebar. Just click the menu button at the top (which looks like an arrow pointing down framed in a square box). From there, you can choose to show or hide your menu bar (which has familiar functions including File, Edit, View, Controls, and so on), and you can also choose to show or hide your sidebar.
iTunes Mini Player
The iTunes mini player is a new function that came with the iTunes 11 download. You can turn it on by clicking your menu and selecting ‘Switch to MiniPlayer’, for anyone who users Rainmeter desktop customization on their PC, the miniplayer is just about exactly a media player from Rainmeter. It’s small, it shows one song, and it keeps you up to date as you’re playing. You can easily switch back by clicking the small square, which means full screen.
iTunes 11 offers a stripped down user interface that loads more quickly, is integrated with the store (you can choose to hide iTunes store). Overall, I think it’s a great update that most people will eventually love, if they don’t already. If you haven’t already downloaded iTunes 11, click ‘Help’ in your old iTunes and click ‘Check for updates’, from there, your new iTunes 11 update will automatically appear, and you can proceed with the download.