iTunes 11 Is Finally Out: Here's What's New

Apple's slightly overdue update to iTunes is out. Finally. It's a sizeable re-imagining of a piece of software used by a massive amount of people. So you should probably take a minute or two to acquaint yourself with the new stuff. Here's what's changed.

Your Library Sidebar Is Gone

One of the biggest changes is how you get around in your Library. The old left-hand bar with Music, Movies and Podcasts is gone, replaced with a drop-down in the top left of the app. The change frees up loads of screen space for more information, but it also makes navigating to different forms of media slightly harder, so it's a trade-off.

Your Music tab also has some new filters. The old iTunes had Albums, Artists, Genres and Composers, while the new one has Songs, Albums, Artists, Genres, Playlists and Radio. Playlists have been moved to the top bar, since they used to exist in the now-defunct sidebar. "Songs", we presume, is the old list view, but we'll update you within a few minutes to confirm.

Browsing Through Music Is Different Too

Apple's new "Expanded View" looks like a cross between the classic information-based view when you'd click an album and Cover Flow. Basically, it shows you the songs in an album (or presumably from an artist you clicked), and keeps the Cover Flow-like view across the top, just not as massive and visually overpowering as it is now. The upshot is that it makes navigation easier, sort of, since you're not dumped totally into a list view. But it'll probably feel extraneous to a few of you who find the navigation options (just the albums or artists immediately before or after what you've selected) not worth the wasted space.

It's Got an Embarrassing New "Preview History" Feature

You know how when you're shopping for music, you'll preview a song or two from an album, just to make sure this is, in fact, the catchy or angsty or depressing single you're looking for? iTunes saves all of those clicks now, which you can get to by hitting the Preview History button. No more stealth drive-buying the new Britney album in the store for you.

There's a New Mini Player

This will either be the most minor change, since most of you probably don't use the MiniPlayer, or be the thing that finally gets people to actually use the MiniPlayer. Apple's stripped off most of the controls, like skip forward or backward, play and pause, and volume control, since Macs have hardware buttons for that now that are more efficient than using the mouse or trackpad. It's replaced them with buttons to check the next few songs, search the rest of your library, or just expand to the full window. It's probably not quite as efficient as keeping iTunes in a separate Space, but if you like having iTunes on your desktop in some form, it's a nice and thoughtful change.

The Store Looks the Same on All Your Devices Now

It's not a huge overhaul — the basic organisation seems the same — but Apple's unified the iTunes Store look and feel across your phone, tablet and computer. Everything's done with the general design language of the broader iTunes 11 revamp, but we'll let you know if anything significant turns out to have changed under the hood.

It Will Hold Your Place Across Devices

With iTunes 11, if you pause movies, TV shoes, podcasts, audiobooks or iTunes U files on one device — say, your phone — you can start them back up on another device and pick up where you left off. This is the same cloud bookmarking that Amazon's used with Whispersync — and that Apple uses with iBooks and Safari — but it's nice to see it come to other sort of media. We're not sure if this works with Apple TV (we suspect not) but we'll update to let you know.

Purchase Recommendations from Your Library

Apple's gone out of its way to make these non-intrusive — you have to click an "In the Store" button to even see them — but there are recommendations for stuff you should by based on things that are in your library now.

iTunes Music Is Sneakily More Cloud-Based

This isn't one of the more publicised features, but it's one to keep an eye on. If you buy a song from iTunes on your iPhone, it will pop up in your computer's library. But that doesn't mean you've downloaded it; instead, iCloud just loads a placeholder, which you can use to stream the song instantly. You have to click a separate download button to get the file itself. This is could be the first step toward Apple making iTunes more of a hybrid locker/store.


Comments

    Finally! A way to pause TV "shoes" =p

      And while your TV "shoes" are paused you can check In the store and "by" some of the recommendations.

        Hahahaha gold! x2

    So... when does this come out? I just clicked on "Check for Updates" in iTunes - nothing as of yet...

    ''If you buy a song from iTunes on your iPhone, it will pop up in your computer’s library. But that doesn’t mean you’ve downloaded it; instead, iCloud just loads a placeholder, which you can use to stream the song instantly.''

    Aren't a lot of Applistas not going to notice that ... until they get their mobile bill and discover their usage charges are way up because they're streaming their new songs many times instead of downloading them once...?

      Yeah, that would blow. Not to mention how badly the whole 'you don't really own paid digital media' problem. I refuse to purchase songs from iTunes anyway as I can't then take that song & do whatever I want with it.
      Bring back tapes yo.

        Yes you can iTunes songs are DRM free.

        you're posting on the wrong forum mate. everyone here knows how to get their itunes music on any device. if all else fails rtfm

      Yeah that's a worrying trend, hopefully there's a menu option to always download. Mind you, since my mac is still running Leopard, I guess this won't affect me :/

      I think the issue is that they design it for the masses in America, and from what I've heard lately, they don't normally have usage caps over there. Australia is a special case in that field. In general our internet plans have been labelled as out dated and ridiculous.
      I can't particularly confirm the usage cap thing, just something I read recently.

      Buy CD's... better quality, you actually own it (check iTunes terms of agreement) and can lend it or give it away if you please.

      I love apple products, and I use them everyday, but I can't stand the level of control they have over their customers... !

        That's a great argument, except
        - cds don't have 'better quality' than lossless, and 99.999999% of people cant tell the difference between a cd and a high BR aac/mp3 in an ABX test.
        - you don't "own" a cd anymore than an mp3. both are licences.

        Hawkward.

          Does it make a difference if I can tell? I don't know where you got that statistic from. Most iTunes song are at 128kbps or 256kbps, whereas you can get 320kbps from a CD. Using decent audio gear, you can definitely tell the difference. And yes as you said, a lot of people don't notice or care for the extra quality, but as someone who makes their own music loves to listen to all the little intricacies and full frequency range you wouldn't normally hear from lower quality files, it is great to have a better file. Of course, it's my personal preference, so I don't expect anyone else to share the same thoughts.

          When buying a CD, you do have more ownership rather than if you buy music from iTunes. Have you ever successfully transferred a digital iTunes purchase to a friend? Yes, I know I can convert aac to mp3, but that's not what I am talking about... Should've made that clear..

          No need to be rude about it. This is going off topic anyway, it's a whole different conversation.

          Last edited 30/11/12 2:51 pm

            you should do a little research before posting. ironically it's posts by people like you who are parroting other similar posts that spread this mis-information regarding quality and drm. cd's are more than obsolete. in fact even aac and mp3 is coughing up blood as a technology. Streaming and virtual collections is where it's at. It's just spectacular to own and have access everywhere you are to nearly every song ever.

              I think your missing my point... I'm guessing your favourite headphones cost you $20 (give or take $10), or came free with a phone you bought.
              Streaming is good, and I love Pandora for casual listening, It's fine for home use, but the telcos don't support that kind of technology yet as far as data use goes. It still doesn't match QUALITY and you need to have an internet connection to access it. I'm sure in the future that streaming music will be the way to go, but for now you are way off the mark with what I am talking about.

              Please continue, I don't think I have enough of your opinion on the subject.

              BTW new iTunes looks great!

                My 'favourite headphones' are Beyer T1s through a Woo Audio 6SE. Pretty sure I know what 'quality' means.

                And you cant rip a cd to a 360kbps mp3, since mp3 and aac top out at 320.

                And you don't have the 'right' to rip a cd for your mate, anymore than you do to transfer your LMFAO tracks in iTunes. So either way, you are breaching your licence agreement. Like I said, a cd gives you no extra 'rights' above a digital file.

                As the guy up a few said, stop parroting crap you read on the internet.

                  hey, another good thing about going CD-less. those numpties who hang them from their rear view mirror will be at a loss. Ha!

              You mean have 100% faith in a cloud? Pfft, no thanks.

          why would anyone buy a CD these days? If I buy anything I buy Vinyl which generally comes with a download code, or I just stream it from spotify. CDs just take up space as I rip them to itunes and then put them on the shelf to collect dust.

      This is even worse if you use iTunes Match. It regularly deletes music you haven't listened to recently. Ostensibly, this is to save space, but my 4s just keeps re-deleting, despite having nearly 30Gb available (it cleared every bit of music off about 8 months ago). Most of the time now, I have to switch to Airplane mode to listen to any music, or it goes into perpetual download for every track.

    Seems very quick. Liking it so far. Up next is great

    Last edited 30/11/12 7:50 am

    Would it be too much to ask for a link?

      Because going to www.apple.com and clicking 'iTunes' is so hard?

        In this instance, no, but it is a common mistake here (and elsewhere) to forget to link to what you are reporting on.

        To take you a little further, why report the story in the first place; is searching for the source information so hard?

    Streaming is going to utterly ruin some people's bills. When I was working at Optus, people would come in, baffled at their huge bills. I'd go through them, point out the excess in their phone's or wireless' internet usage, and they'd insist they'd never downloaded anything at all. That they'd just watched stuff on Youtube. So few people understand that "downloading" is data going into your phone via that connect, the only distinction between streaming something and saving it is whether or not you keep the file.

      Completely agree with you here... but I have no idea how you fix this for people?

      I've had to stop 2 of my cousins from getting my grandmother to use Skype and Viber on her 500mb mobile phone plan - "But they are free calls?!?"

    So from what I can tell with it so far is, if I choose a song whilst having a play list on shuffle it only shuffles between that one album, what the hell.. Also taking away the list view that worked before was stupid =/

    What the hell did Apple do, some things are totally gone which isn't cool, I like some new features, but how play lists show songs is totally dicked up now, and why can't I always show artwork in the bottom left corner or in the list view D=

      The album artwork is little now in the top bar. double click on it and it brings up a big artwork window with play controls.

      Shuffle implementation sounds a bit odd. Try starting shuffle from the song view (that would shuffle everything) and then whenever you want to play an album, select it from the album view and put it in up next? it should then continue to shuffle songs after your selection is done.

        Oh yeah I saw that, but I was more so referring to how you could have it shown next to the songs in the list view in a playlist or the entire library, now it just looks like this, which to me seems like a step back, since the implementation of that feature was great, was a lot easier to distinguish the albums in list view.

          true. artist view has a remnant of it but its really not the same hey.

            Yeah, and keyboard shortcuts don't work in artist view, what the hell has Apple done D=

    Can we now que up tracks. I'm pretty sure i heard something about that

    I was just relieved it remembered what podcasts I had listened to and which I hadn't. That was a big issue for me up till now.

    So the sidebar is definitely gone and can't be activated? Ugh, not gonna update then. I have so many playlists etc and I change between them all the time...

      Oh, it's still there, you just have to turn it on again. Would've been nice for the author to mention that...

    I like how the album view changes colour to match the most common colour in the album art!

    I click on download and it goes to the "thankyou" page without actually downloading anything. Tried it in both Firefox & IE.

    Not off to a promising start.

      If you already have iTunes you can go Help-> Check for Updates and it'll do it for you

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