After a slightly embarrassing setback to its development, iTunes 11 has finally been released by Apple after a month’s delay, bringing a whole new slew of features to the renowned music player. The new version was first announced at the iPhone 5 media event back in September, with a promised release date of October, however Apple decided that they needed “a little more time” to get it just right.
Well, it’s now available and ready for the world to see. Let’s take a quick peek inside and see what’s new. We will, of course, be getting a full review to you in the next couple of days :)
A new, overhauled interface (and a new icon)
Perhaps the most striking feature about iTunes 11 is the completely revamped interface. I’ll admit that I was getting a bit tired of the old one, which was starting to look a little outdated (it hadn’t changed considerably since iTunes was first released, albeit with a few tweaks here and there) however this new version has brought iTunes into the 21st century.
The sidebar, which has been a feature of iTunes pretty much since the start has now gone in the default view (you can bring it back up by clicking on View then Show Sidebar). Now you’ve got an edge-to-edge interface with much more concentration on your albums and songs, which is very reminiscent of the new iPad music application on iOS 6. Apple is presumably trying to bring all three together into a more unified collection.
Clicking on either the Artists or Genres brings up a scrollable list of either on the left-hand side, with your songs organised by albums as default. You can, of course, still search for albums, artists or songs using the Search Library feature in the top-right hand corner or by pressing the first letter of the artist on your Mac’s keyboard.
If you hover over the grey box in the top-centre of your screen and click on the little rightwards-pointing arrow, you are now presented with a greater range of options, including quick links to other songs or albums by the artist or to start a new Genius playlist. The default iTunes font has also been overhauled to Helvetica Neue as well, again bringing it more inline with the Music application on iOS devices.
A new Mini Player
I’ll admit, the previous mini iTunes player was absolutely terrible. You could pause, rewind and fast forward songs and that was about it. Now, in iTunes 11, you’ve got a far greater choice with the mini player. You can add songs to the new “Up Next” feature or choose another random song from your library to play next.
As well as this, you can choose the output of your music (either via your Mac or via AirPlay) and search your library straight from the mini player.
A revamped iTunes Store interface
The iTunes Store interface has finally been revamped to match the new ones within iOS 6, with featured items being displayed in the traditional “Cover Flow” style. There’s also far more focus on cover art (as in iOS 6 with the application icons) in this release and it makes for a much more pleasant browsing experience.
What do you think?
Although this release has been slightly delayed, it seems like Apple really have hit the nail on the head again – this new version really is beautiful. We’ll have a full rundown of all the new features as soon as possible but for now, you can grab iTunes 11 by heading over to the Software Update section of the App Store, where it should be waiting for you (the Windows version has also been released as well). On OS X, the download weighs in at 198 MB.
And of course, please feel free to share your thoughts and views about this new version in the Comments section below!