First look: Apple's overhauled iTunes 11

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 242
    The album view and how it automatically picks the background and foreground colours is really cool looking
  • Reply 2 of 242
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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!
  • Reply 3 of 242

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post



    Other than that%u2014this looks good, but I won%u2019t be the guinea pig!


     


    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.

  • Reply 4 of 242
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,616member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 242

    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?

  • Reply 6 of 242
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member


    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?

  • Reply 7 of 242
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 242
    Where did iTunes DJ go? I loved that one!
  • Reply 9 of 242
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member


    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.

  • Reply 10 of 242
    No more Cover Flow, no more start playing by just clicking in the album. But it does feel much snappier!
  • Reply 11 of 242
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,616member

    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/

  • Reply 12 of 242


    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.

  • Reply 13 of 242


    Originally Posted by lenny View Post

    …no more start playing by just clicking in the album.


     


    Did you try clicking on it?

  • Reply 14 of 242
    rokradrokrad Posts: 143member

    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.

  • Reply 15 of 242
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,616member


    Color icons in the sidebar!!!

  • Reply 16 of 242
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 242
    kpomkpom Posts: 618member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 242

    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.

  • Reply 19 of 242
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 242

    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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