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First look: Apple's overhauled iTunes 11

post #1 of 241
Thread Starter 
iTunes 11 represents a much-needed improvement to Apple's catch-all media suite, with an update that cleans up the interface, improves performance and enhances features.

iTunes


Right off the bat, Apple greets new users with instructions on how to navigate the new software, which ditches the dedicated (and numerous) menu options on the left side. Now, a user's library is navigated via a drop-down menu featuring options for Music, Movies and TV Shows.

iTunes


Under the "Movies" section, Apple has dedicated lists to help users sort their content, including an "Unwatched" tab, and a section devoted entirely to the "Home Videos" category.

For those who prefer the classic look of their music in iTunes, the "Songs" view will be a welcome inclusion, with default sorting options of "Genres," "Artists" and "Albums" presented above the available collection.

iTunes


The "Albums" tab offers a user's entire collection of albums, presented in the form of nice large album art. Content that is not stored locally but is available through iCloud, whether purchased from iTunes or made available through an iTunes Match subscription, is identified with an iCloud logo in the upper right of the album cover.

iTunes


Selecting al album opens it like a folder in iOS. A background color is also selected automatically by iTunes, matched up from the color of the album art.

iTunes


In the "Artists" tab, the artist name is presented on the left with one square album cover. On the right, songs are sorted by album with album covers, names and dates presented by default. Content available through iCloud is identified with a link to download on the right side.

The "Albums" and "Artists" views also feature Apple's new "In the Store" link, which makes it easy to find more content from your favorite artists. The available content is presented in the same window, without whisking users away to a separate store link, as previous versions of iTunes have done.

iTunes


Users can access the iTunes MiniPlayer with a link in the upper right of the window, just to the left of the fullscreen icon. The MiniPlayer loads quickly and offers an impressive set of options despite its small size, including options for searching, editing playlists, and streaming content through AirPlay.

Clicking the album art opens a larger window that just displays the album cover along with the iTunes controls. Users can return to the full-size player by clicking an icon in the upper left corner of the MiniPlayer.

A dedicated link to the iTunes Store also exists in the upper right section of iTunes 11. Those who have accessed the iTunes Store on the iPad will find the new layout instantly familiar, as the latest iTunes further blurs the lines between Apple's iPad and Mac platforms.
post #2 of 241
Is there still a visualizer? Which one(s)? Can you still install 3rd-party visualizers?

As silly as it seems, now that I own a projector I%u2019m a big visualizer fan!

Other than that%u2014this looks good, but I won%u2019t be the guinea pig!
post #3 of 241
One issue I have with this and any recent iTunes version is that there is no way I know of to prevent seasons I buy on Apple TV from automatically begin downloading to the library as soon as I log into my account in iTunes (this happens on all my machine on which I log into iTunes). I don't want this to happen as my purchases are essentially rentals - we watch them once, only. They can stay in the cloud forever as far as I am concerned. I do want the option to stream any purchased show to any device I own, however. It is unfair to criticize iTunes the software for this, perhaps, but as the software and the service are inextricably linked, I must I must. If anyone knows of a fix for this, please tell.
post #4 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanada View Post

 

So far everything works perfect. Home Sharing, Apple TV. I'm glad they waited a month because this release seems very solid. The speed is very impressive as well.

 

are podcasts still there? and is there still support for applescript?

post #5 of 241

The playlists are only available under the Music dropdown for some reason. Probably a bug as my playlists also include movie playlists, which also show up under Music. Has anyone figured out the home movies bit yet and how it works?

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post #6 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanada View Post

So far everything works perfect. Home Sharing, Apple TV. I'm glad they waited a month because this release seems very solid. The speed is very impressive as well.

I haven't had any glitches or speed issues, but still getting a beach ball when syncing and downloading.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #7 of 241
Where did iTunes DJ go? I loved that one!
post #8 of 241

Nevermind. Turns out you can turn on the old Sidebar under the view options, so the lack of a 'Playlists' button in the top nav is something I can work around.

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post #9 of 241
No more Cover Flow, no more start playing by just clicking in the album. But it does feel much snappier!
post #10 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Is there still a visualizer?

Cmd-T (as it always has been), and make your choice at View/Visualizer/

post #11 of 241

Bleh. Still rife with visual inconsistencies and confusing options.

 

Why rely on the upper left-hand 'red-orange-green' buttons anymore? There is now a "maximize" toggle switch on the far upper right. That's just dumb.

 

It's a mystery to me what the little "download" icon next to the search bar does, because there is no pop-up information. A blue activity bar shows it's doing something... but why?

 

As I find more problems, I'll list 'em.

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post #12 of 241
Originally Posted by lenny View Post
…no more start playing by just clicking in the album.

 

Did you try clicking on it?

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Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #13 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Bleh. Still rife with visual inconsistencies and confusing options.

 

Why rely on the upper left-hand 'red-orange-green' buttons anymore? There is now a "maximize" toggle switch on the far upper right. That's just dumb.

 

It's a mystery to me what the little "download" icon next to the search bar does, because there is no pop-up information. A blue activity bar shows it's doing something... but why?

 

As I find more problems, I'll list 'em.

Upper right is full screen mode, its much different than the green maximize window button.

post #14 of 241

Color icons in the sidebar!!!

post #15 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllieWallieWhiskers View Post

are podcasts still there? and is there still support for applescript?

http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/2840/toggle-itunes-11-miniplayer

AppleScript seems unchanged other than issues with the mini player, whose scripting access seems to have changed.
post #16 of 241
Hopefully with iOS 7 Apple starts to put in place some semblance of a file system. I'd like to be able to copy, use, and share PDFs a bit more easily between my PC and iPad. My employer restricts the use of iCloud Document matching and services like DropBox, so I need to use the somewhat clunky iTunes method of file exchange.
post #17 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokrad View Post

Upper right is full screen mode, its much different than the green maximize window button.

 

Why offer both? It's needlessly confusing. Get rid of the maximize button and let the green button perform that function. Now I have two buttons on opposite sides of the screen performing roughly the same function.

 

Thus far, it looks like I'm clicking more than ever to do the same thing. Not an improvement.

 

I do like the 'connected devices' indicator in the upper right.

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post #18 of 241
Improved speed on Win 7 64-bit. The font lacks refinement though but it may be Windows problem. Happy with the new app screenshots size - now smaller so the first half of the app page would fit into my 22" 16:9 LCD monitor (though I'm moving to 2x 16:10 24" soon). Syncing is seem quicker too (4S and 5) although haven't tried iPad yet. Menu navigation seems a bit an afterthought. A lone strip than can be shown/hidden -- no correspond items in the concealed menu when hidden (not all is shown in there - the little window icon in the top left) Gutted there is still no video preview in the app store for games within iTunes. Link still fire up browser. Might be a small matter but wish it is integrated or at least they included the game video previews along with the screenshots. Overall Okay just now - 15 mins usage.
post #19 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

Menu navigation seems a bit an afterthought.

 

You said it.

 

Did Jony Ive have input here? If so, this is not a good indicator for future UI "improvements".

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post #20 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

 

Why offer both? It's needlessly confusing. Get rid of the maximize button and let the green button perform that function. Now I have two buttons on opposite sides of the screen performing roughly the same function.

Ummm...no. 

 

Full Screen is completely different from the green button. Maximize keeps you in the same desktop, while Full Screen creates a new space. There is a world of conceptual, and usage differences between the two.

 

And iTunes is one of the few buttons where the green button even means maximize. In most apps (e.g. Safari) it means best fit. Actually, technically, it means best fit in iTunes also, because the maximized fit is probably best fit for an iTunes library (at least on laptops...not tested it on a desktop).

post #21 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post

Menu navigation seems a bit an afterthought. A lone strip than can be shown/hidden -- no correspond items in the concealed menu when hidden (not all is shown in there - the little window icon in the top left) 

Could you clarify? Not sure what you mean (how do you hide the menus?). Are you talking about the Mini Player?

post #22 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

Ummm...no. 

 

Full Screen is completely different from the green button. Maximize keeps you in the same desktop, while Full Screen creates a new space. There is a world of conceptual, and usage differences between the two.

 

And iTunes is one of the few buttons where the green button even means maximize. In most apps (e.g. Safari) it means best fit. Actually, technically, it means best fit in iTunes also, because the maximized fit is probably best fit for an iTunes library (at least on laptops...not tested it on a desktop).

 

Sorry, but I'm right on this from the user's perspective. The functional differences are so slight, it is simply ridiculous. Get rid of one, either the green button or the maximize... or put them right next to each other on the left hand side, or all on the right hand side. Wasted motion is bad design. This is poorly thought out on Apple's part.

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post #23 of 241
I like it so far. The mini player is real handy. I would like to see the 'up next' to be able to save into a playlist. Grab last x songs played from 'up next' and (x) out those you don't want, save to playlist.

[edited]
Read all the options first Richard!

So you can take a song you are listening to that you like and add to a playlist.
post #24 of 241

I feel like I'm missing something really basic here.  I'm playing a playlist.  I click over to another playlist.  Where's the option to return to the currently playing playlist?

post #25 of 241

Also: is anyone else having trouble turning the column browser on or off?  On some of my playlists, the column browser submenu is grayed out.

post #26 of 241

Not sure I like the look, but it's a damn sight faster.

post #27 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

 

Sorry, but I'm right on this from the user's perspective. The functional differences are so slight, it is simply ridiculous. Get rid of one, either the green button or the maximize... or put them right next to each other on the left hand side, or all on the right hand side. Wasted motion is bad design. This is poorly thought out on Apple's part.

Well, I'm a user. And, on my laptop, I sometimes want iTunes "best fit" within the current window, and other times (most of the time actually) I want it full screen on a desktop.

 

So, just because you don't want it, doesn't mean it's wrong. It means you don't want it. Nothing more.

 

It's perfect for me. So, perhaps I'm right on this from the user's perspective, what with me being a user and all.

post #28 of 241
Yes, yes, someone's favorite feature has been changed or removed. So bottom line when you all talk about how bloated the old iTunes was you were just kidding, right? As long as all YOUR stuff is still there bloat is fine. But remove YOUR often used feature and the world has ended as you know it. Apple is NOT Microsoft.
post #29 of 241
It's iTunes for children and old people.
post #30 of 241

It's cleaner, more logically laid out. A simplified experience. 

 

Alternatively, you can have the Sidebar back and pretty much everything else as before. 

post #31 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post

It's iTunes for children and old people.

Why won't make a version that works with Terminal: play playlist "25 Most Played' -R starttrack=10

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #32 of 241
Originally Posted by Mike Fix View Post
It's iTunes for children and old people.

 

"The xMac is a dream for idiots and people who aren't really professionals."

 

See, I can say things without explaining them, too.

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post #33 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Is there still a visualizer? Which one(s)? Can you still install 3rd-party visualizers?
As silly as it seems, now that I own a projector I%u2019m a big visualizer fan!
Other than that%u2014this looks good, but I won%u2019t be the guinea pig!

I would love to have visualizer on my AppleTV.  That would be awesome.

oneof52
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post #34 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Nevermind. Turns out you can turn on the old Sidebar under the view options, so the lack of a 'Playlists' button in the top nav is something I can work around.

Thanks for that note. I rely on playlists because even commercial digital music downloads are too inconsistent with their tags for album/artist/etc to actually work as intended. Get one character different and suddenly it's a different artist/etc. That goes to show that there needs to be actual intelligence behind any cataloging system because mindless character comparison fails.
post #35 of 241

Weird.  I also don't see a way to see the randomized track order in a playlist.  Previously, clicking random included the ability to see the playlist in the random order by clicking the far left column of track numbers.  Now, order doesn't change to match the randomized order.

post #36 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokrad View Post

Upper right is full screen mode, its much different than the green maximize window button.

That's because it's never been a "maximize" button. It's always been a "fit to content" button.
post #37 of 241
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

 

Sorry, but I'm right on this from the user's perspective...Get rid of one, either the green button or the maximize... or put them right next to each other on the left hand side, or all on the right hand side.

You're arguing that Apple should break their system-wide user interface guidelines for one app. That's not going to happen. Do you really think apps should modify standard behavior? It's better for the user when all apps are well-behaved. There is a big difference between a window that fills the screen and an app in its own space. When an app is in its own space, you can get to it quickly via Mission Control, or use three-finger swipes to move to that space. The app window  doesn't cover any other app and is not covered by another app. When you keep the iTunes window in one space, its window interacts with other app windows, covering them and being covered by them.

post #38 of 241
lack of scrubbing on the mini player = a downgrade in my book
post #39 of 241
Most importantly, is there syncing for podcasts? I can't seem to find it?
post #40 of 241

Downloaded from Apple Downloads as the Software and look forward to messing around with it.

 

Airuser

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