It's here, the moment many people dread — time to update your iTunes. Only this time iTunes 11 marks a serious new departure in terms of style, use, and social media. So it really is worth clicking "Yes" when asked if you want to download it immediately, rather than, like me, waiting till the last possible moment when Steve Jobs ghost starts haunting you until you download it.
It launched today just in time for its November deadline. It was initially promised in October, but the geniuses at Apple thought this pie needed a few more weeks to cool on the windowsill.
Here's what you need to know...
1. iTunes 11 Integrates Heavily with Facebook
iTunes 11 will allow the media you're downloading to act as if they are a "like" button. In that you get to see how many of your Facebook friends are listening/watching the same stuff. So that friend you have who has impeccable taste in music (people like me) and is always up on the latest trends (still me), well you will be able to copy their every downloads with relative ease.
2. Apple Aims for a Cleaner Look but also Delivers More Clutter
Apple has marketed this as a cleaner, sleeker look, but it doesn't necessarily work out that way. In the newly downloaded album view, Apple recommendations will pop-up offering you similar material and the artists other work. As well as the "Complete my Album" feature which clutters the screen, which is okay when you're on the hunt for new stuff, but not when you just want to listen to the song you downloaded or if you hate the artists other material (See Lynrd Skynrd).
3. iCloud is Baked into the New iTunes
iCloud is a big part of the new iTunes, the syncing across different devices is pretty cool, and it's improved with this version. Example, you're on the train watching the latest episode of Mike and Molly on your iPad, when you get home you can pick right away where you left off on your Apple TV. The syncing process has been made smoother and removed of some of the bugs. It's Apple's way of bridging the gap between their products and Netflix.
4. Ceaseless Popups Keep the iTunes Store in Your Face at Every Turn
It's no surprise that Apple want you to use their store to buy your media. And iTunes 11 is reminding you of that all the way through. The already mentioned "complete your album" feature being a prime example, Apple's fear of people using other services to download material has led to slightly cluttered interface.
5. Audiophiles Will Love "AirPlay"
Something cool for those of you who are into High Fidelity, Airplay allows you to be very specific about your sound needs across all of your different Apple devices.
6. iPad Mini users will finally have iTunes
Those who bought iPad Minis are the start of October were promised to have the same command of iTunes as a regular iPad. But it didn't quite work out that way as the iPad Mini could only support iTunes 11, which as we know didn't come out until today. Up until this point iPad Minis were no different from iPods (remember them?), in that they had to be plugged into to another device and synced to get new material. You can file this one very much in the #firstworldproblems category.
7. Apple Also Has Updated Apple TV's software
To go along with today's iTunes release, Apple have also update their TV functionality, as well as the remote app for iOS. The last download for TV back in September was criticized as it allowed attackers to steal arbitrary code (passwords etc.) from a persons machine.
8. It's Trending Like a Mof*cker on Twitter
And reports have varied from:
Dayyyyummm iTunes 11, you be lookin fiiiiiiine.
— Kayse Schmucker (@WhatTheSchmuck) November 30, 2012
Congrats to all who worked on iTunes 11. A job well done!
— Joshua Tucker (@joshmtucker) November 30, 2012
Whoa.iTunes 11 - big improvement!Looks like they did a top down rewrite.
— Will Kuhn (@willkuhn) November 30, 2012
Regretting my upgrade to iTunes 11 #UGH
— Kyle Prohaska (@kyleprohaska) November 30, 2012
Installed iTunes 11. HATE IT. I now have all this cloud shit in what was a well-organized library.
— genewickerjr (@genewickerjr) November 30, 2012
iTunes 11 will probably be just as bad or worse than the previous versions. #workslikegarbage
— ↘Forest↙ (@forestminer) November 30, 2012
We'll allow you to come to your own conclusions...
9. If You Don't Like it, There Will be Another One Here Shortly
When Apple launched iTunes 10 on September 4th 2010, iTunes 10.01 was out by September 21st. So there's bound to be bugs in this system, because if there wasn't then the engineers would be out of a job. But don't let it get you down because the latest version is always just around the corner. Just make sure you read all of the terms and conditions.
10. A Wall Street Journal Profile of iTunes Director Eddy Cue Announced the Release Yesterday
This wasn't launched with the usual Apple fanfare and hoop-lah, but very down key (probably because it was so late) in a profile yesterday in the WSJ OF Eddy Cue. A man who was known as the "bad cop", to Steve Jobs "good cop" during their time on the Apple board together. Cue was a key innovator in Apple's move into music through the iPod and Apple store, and now he's back to clean up the products he developed, let's see how it goes. Oh, and not to mention he also is charged with clearing up the clusterf*ck that is Apple Maps.