iTunes 11 is released (finally!)

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 I’ll admit that I was getting a bit tired of the old one, which was starting to look a little outdated (it hadn’t changed considerably since iTunes was first released, albeit with a few tweaks here and there) however this new version has brought iTunes into the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.

iTunes 11 New Interface

The new interface present in iTunes 11.

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.

iTunes 11 Scroll Bar

Artists and genres are now displayed in a scrollable list on the left-hand side.

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.

iTunes 11 New Options

The new options available when playing a song.

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.

iTunes 11 Mini Player

The revamped mini player with a slew of better options.

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.

iTunes 11 Store

The new iTunes Store is reminiscent of the revamped store in iOS 6.

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!


  • xangria

    I haven’t spent much time with it yet, but from what I can see it was certainly worth the wait. I especially love the new up next feature. That alone is worth it for me.

  • Desidério Ortelá

    I’m enjoying this new iTunes so far, but I have a question: am I the only one who’s noticing iTunes needing an usage of 500MB to 700MB of memory?

    • Eric

      On my computer it only uses ~200 MB

    • Nathan

      Mine hasn’t run past 500MB, but it’s close.

      • Michal

        Just checked mine after doing some podcast downloading and it is at 1.21GB! On a Retina MBPro. Ridiculous.

        • Desidério Ortelá

          I’ve just rebooted my mac and now the max usage is 160MB. Don’t know what happened ther

    • Jürgen

      yep, old iTunes stays at 60-70mb. It’s clear that I will stay with v.10 for now. Like with Safari 5 :(

    • CJ

      Mine is using 400MB. I don’t care about this, since memory is so cheap. Don’t we all have 8GB+ now? I have 16GB and I don’t care if it’s mostly used. That’s what it’s there for.

  • brian

    I really like the new interface. Everything just feels much snappier as well. Although, I am trying to figure out how to change the icon sizes, because the default is way too large for my liking.

  • Michal

    Looks great but they already took a step backwards unless I am not finding it because the old version had the option of viewing the column browser on top or left. Now the left option is completely missing which is unfortunate since that is the most logical way of viewing the column browser similarly to the Finder column view. Very disappointing if they actually removed it. And on top of this they still can’t turn on continuous Podcast playback like is capable on any iOS device. That’s just ridiculous.

    • Nathan

      Column Browser is still there, but only under the songs tab. Just go to View –> Column Browser –> Show Column Browser. Or press Cmd + B.

    • http://www.rpaulseymour.com PS

      yes, totally. i noticed this, too. and, so far, have found no way to bring it back. i only used the artist column, and showing artist only on the top of the list is a huge waste of space.

      for as many new UI refinements as they introduced, i am amazed this detail slipped through.

  • munchkin

    I don’t like it. :(

    - missing menu/panel on the left. there is only button. so you need to click on it first, then choose. what is better on more clicks? and I can’t see number of not played podcasts, movies, TV shows.. while it’s collapsed.

    - menu is on the left side, button to the Store is on the right, so you need to run from left to right.. OMG! as in Windows (menu start from the left, min/max buttons are on the right, taskbar is on the bottom).

    - swipe with two fingers will bring you on page back, but is terribly implemented (not as good as in Safari), and it is actually annoying, because it happens often as I am searching through albums and apps in store – just bring me on the previous page. and it doesn’t work where it should.

    - whole new design is less intuitive, and confusing. (maybe I just need to get into it?)

    - got my iPhone plugged in, and I just installed app in app store. I gad to press Library (top right corner), then press iPhone, then Sync..

    Seems to me, they are trying unify design with iOS (or bring part of it to mac os). But working with tablet is not the same as with desktop or notebook.

    • Nathan

      You can re-enable the sidebar by going to View –> Show Sidebar. It’s just disabled by default. :)

    • Desidério Ortelá

      I agree with you on some of your points, however I do feel like we just need to get used to it.

      Regarding the missing side menu/panel on the left, you just have to press option+cmd+S to see it again

    • to

      I agree too… i dont like it at all. Many bugs still.
      The slider to scale the album artwork in album view is soooo much missed here.
      iOS are toys – making the Mac more like a toy is not an terrible good idea!

  • http://www.elblogolico.com.ar emancu

    Are notifications available? or should I install the itunification app or something similar

  • David

    Overall a big improvement. Long overdue UI update really. Still room for more minimalism for me though! At least more View options to allow you do Show/Hide things, e.g the mandatory sidebar with Artist and Genres is too different to the Albums view and it would be good to have the option to hide it. I’d even like the option to have the top bars hidden. But not to be too picky, good improvement!

  • http://www.byronedwards.com Byron

    Just a quick heads up – it’s a slew of options, not sleuth.

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      Fixed now; thanks!

  • MikeB

    sleuth of features? You mean slew of features, right?

  • Woofy

    Call me old-fashioned or winampy, but I still think it’s stupid that iTunes still doesn’t have any queuing features to allow one to choose what will play next (no, I don’t want to create smart lists and such things just for one song that I want to hear next..)

    • Maarten

      That IS one of the new features..

  • Tim

    I miss SoundJam

    • Az

      Hah, those were the days…

  • ipodxoxo

    I find myself enjoying the change. Before when I would preview songs and try to see something else the song would stop but no more.

  • Adam

    Wow, love the wallpaper in screenshot #4. Can someone please tell me where to get the full sized picture? Thanks. :)

    • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

      It’s actually one of the built-in desktop backgrounds in OS X Mountain Lion ;)

      • Adam

        Thank you Matthew, never noticed that… :-P

  • http://mac.appstorm.net/author/pwizla/ Pierre Wizla

    I really, really like the new look and feel!
    Hope this showcases what OS X 10.9 UI will look like. (And with Johnny Ive now in charge, I feel pretty confident it will become even better!)
    Looking forward to reading the full review.

  • cpu2k6

    Is there a way to show the CD-Cover in the “Songs” List? in the old iTunes i used it all over the time! I MISS IT!!

  • Luke

    Looks good, doesn’t work like a play should if you use it all day. Mini player all day means I can’t see how long the song / podcast has left, can’t control the volume from the main screen, mini player doesn’t show downloads well, and the main windows pops out of minimised just to show each one of the 20 apps per day that has finished downloading – in front of the work that’s late! Before the player stayed out of the way with the controls I need to work it. Now it’s getting in the way and interrupting my work with senseless information – What’s next? I thought I made the fricking playlist to begin with?? I ended up buying a 1.99 menu bar controller, iTunes can go sit elsewhere until I want to buy apps or music, it’s no player anymore.

  • Hernán

    Looks good, but I already miss the Cover Flow interface!!!
    Some improvements as the “Up Next” feature are really nice, but I would have prefered to be able to sync my songs without iTunes skiping not selected songs (it’s annoying, as a matter of fact I don’t sync them any more because as a musician I have lots of music and I love to listen to it – maybe there’s a solution I haven’t found). Another nice improvement would have been a better interface for the apps in the iPod.
    Let’s try it for a while. Time will tell how much I really like it or not.
    Cheers!

  • rafael

    Bad design with an even uglier icon. And it seems they tried to copy Ecoute with that miniplayer, but they didn’t get even close.

  • Cornelius

    Overall the UI changes and the new features are great, unfortunately with this update you lose a lot of organizational options. For example, grid view is only available when viewing by album and no longer artist (which when you have a large library, makes a big difference). Also, you can no longer organize iTunes U by genre which might seem like something odd to do but it was the only way to organize collections by date (e.g. 1208 for Aug 2012).
    On top of that, now when you DO use the new grid view for albums, films, or tv shows, you can’t actually change the size of the thumbnails which is really just a bummer than a real issue.
    Overall iTunes 11 isn’t quite what I hoped for, but still probably a step forward. Hopefully some of these options for organization will come back in the future.

  • http://www.rpaulseymour.com PS

    i think the weirdest thing with itunes 11 is this strange popover menu that acts like it is a micro-sized iOS view. it is just utterly wrong and out of place. functionally, it is like a slower standard pop-out menu. but, pop-out menus are simpler and easier to use. so, big fail there. i hope it is just an experiment that gets squashed fast.

    other than that, and the lack of a left side column browser (versus the top), and the scrollbars not expanding (hard to use), everything seems like a step up.

  • Tim Maher-De Troyer

    You may now be aware of the storm surrounding “Cover flow”. Removing it was an extremely poor decision (See your previous blog about skeumorphism) as it was an immensely useful function and is a part of other OS X applications, thereby re-inforcing the Apple ‘language’.

    A serious example of application teams taking a design decision without reference to the buying public.

    Sad.

    Regs

    Tim

  • bassil

    Before, i could choose to sync apps on phone, or delete the current apps from an old phone and install new ones. I don’t see this option with the new iTunes. Any ideas?

    B

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