Mini-Review: Apple iTunes 11

TuneUp Media Inc.Apple released the original iTunes over 10 years ago. The interface was revolutionary at the time. It was so successful, that it hasn’t really changed much since. Sure, there have been small changes and tweaks, but it’s largely the same. That all changed on November 29, 2012 when Apple released iTunes 11, with a completely re-vamped interface. Not only does iTunes 11 look much better than its predecessor, it’s also noticeably faster. Apple appears to have completely reworked their leading media software program with a host of new features and performance improvements.

Playlist creation has been dramatically improved. When you create a new playlist, a separate panel appears on the right side of the main window where you can drag and drop music. This feature eliminates the tedious method of switching from your music library to your playlist to see what you’ve already added. A similar panel is used for managing content on your devices.

Apple has also increased the iCloud integration in iTunes 11. Purchased content will immediately appear on all of your iCloud connected devices, even if it hasn’t been downloaded. Speaking of multiple devices, the new software allows you start a movie on one device and if you switch to another iCloud connected device, you’ll start right where you left off.

There’s been a slight increase of iTunes Store integration into your library. Now there is an “In the Store” button that appears when you select an artist or album. Clicking it opens another panel inside your library that shows you related content on the iTunes Store. The update is a nice change from having to completely switch over to the store interface when you want to find related music.

The improved mini player is the standout new feature. It now includes a drop down menu that allows you to add the current song to a playlist, or jump right to the artist, album or song in your iTunes library.

There’s also a link that will take you right to that song’s album on the iTunes Store. It makes for a quick way to grab the rest of the album. You can also search your library and select songs to play, all without having to leave the mini player. To switch to the mini-player, hit Ctrl+Shift+M.

The iTunes Store has also received a slight makeover. It’s been rearranged a bit and the new icons and interface give it a more iOS look and feel. The functionality and feature set remain much the same.

The interface is slick and fast. The hardest thing to get used to is the main menu. It’s now located across the top of the window. The left-hand sidebar that used to house the menu is gone. Actually, all the sidebars are gone which, along with the ability to hide the panels you don’t want, gives iTunes 11 a beautiful full screen format that really highlights the important part of iTunes; your music.