Apple’s iTunes software has long been a polarizing piece of software – some people love it, others use it just because it is needed for proper use of any iDevice. In its previous versions Apple has never moved away from its “folder view” on the left, with music on the right style. But in the last few years there has been a massive shift to simplified interfaces, partially thanks to iOS and Android interfaces.
If there was ever a piece of software that needed to be simplified, iTunes was it. Every few years the interface gets a subtle refresh, but iTunes 11 is a major refresh (at least from a user interface level). After some delays, iTunes 11 is here, and its a free download. So what is new, and is it worth upgrading?
The redesigned iTunes features a full-window interface on your Mac or PC that’s simpler and cleaner, always keeping your favorite content in front of you. If you have used the Music player on iOS6, you can expect a very similiar design. The new library view is split up to make it easier to view your music, TV shows and movies, allowing you to click on the category of content you want to browse and that’s all you will see.
Once you are inside the music view, the expandable album view allows you to see track listings for an individual album, while letting you continue to browse your music library. The new user interface can be a little confusing at first, especially without the left sidebar. Luckily you can still switch that sidebar on (View – Show Sidebar) , but we recommend you hold off before doing that. A lot of thought went into the new design, and its worth first trying it out.
Not everyone was a fan of the “MiniPlayer” – The new MiniPlayer makes it easy to control your music with a small tool bar, which effectively hides controls until you hover over it with your mouse. There is quick search feature this time as well. “Up Next” is a new way to see what songs are coming up and queue songs or albums you want to hear next.
Unfortunately we South Africans still don’t have access to the iTunes Music store, which has been given a major overhaul. If you are on one of the many South Africans that do use a US account (here is how to get one), you will see some very cool new cloud features – for example, all your previously purchased music will be instantly available on any authorized PC or Mac.
Users of any Apple iDevice will need to use iTunes every now and then, even in this new “PC free” world. The new Devices menu pops up on the top right, and features a much nicer, cleaner interface to manage your iPhone, iPad or iPod.
If you use iTunes, we recommend you head over to Apple.com and get it… It is out now for Windows and Mac.