Whatever you think of Apple's venerable iTunes software - and even folks who don't always love it certainly spent a lot of the time in the joint - you probably agree it was due for a refresh.
Apple's remodeling job arrived today, somewhat later than expected. As promised, iTunes 11 brings a cleaner, more modern look that makes it simpler to search, browse, and create and modify playlists.
Features are more closely tied to Apple's iCloud online service. Assuming you have an Internet connection, you can play any of your music, movies and TV shows right from iCloud. You can obviously download the media to sync to a device or play when you're offline. iCloud also remembers your place in a movie or TV show so you can resume watching from where you left off, even if you started viewing it say on an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV and now want to finish on a computer.
The new iTunes features what Apple likes to refer to as an edge-to-edge design that eliminates the familiar source list sidebar, at least from the default view. You can bring it back from one of the menus in iTunes. When it is visible, you can click the + button at the bottom of the screen to create a new playlist. But even if it is out of sight, you can display your playlists just by merely dragging a song in your library.
There's a new Up Next feature which, as its name suggests, lets you know the next song that will play. From within the list, you can remove or change the order of things. You can summon the feature from a new MiniPlayer as well.
And there's a hook to get you to part with more of your money in the iTunes store. Even as you're listening to a song, you can browse related music in the store.
Obviously, I'll need to spend more time with iTunes 11 to come to a true evaluation of the upgrade. But on the surface it appears that many of the changes will bring music to your ears.
By Edward C. Baig