Gather around, iTunes 11 is here!

iTunes has always been a good app for pod-casts  syncing your Apple devices and music. But it is been known, always, to be smooth. Sometimes its very direct and simple options have intimidated users. iTunes 11 tries to trump all the bad things about it.

The most prominent change is the app user interface. The design is now more sleek and even more direct. Apple has removed the left column, which had library, apps, playlist movies, and replaced it with a single windows for music. User can toggle by selecting podcast, music, movies and apps. And there is a small cloud button in the library now. And that is wonderful feature. iCloud automatically sends all your music bought from iTunes to all your devices. But what about the music not purchased from iTunes store? Apple has iTunes Match for it. With a yearly subscription of about $24.99 users can do that to. But if you download your music for free, I don’t think that is useful for you.

In the library, we had cover flow to toggle songs. The one iPods have. However, it isn’t quite useful on Mac/Windows. It was just for users to go “Hey, look iTunes has this. What do you have?”. Cover flow was ditched for the album view. Useful if you want to listen on one album. And not only that, finding songs using artists too has been made significantly easy in 11. Even the view is quite simple and doesn’t take too much effort to figure out. A winner already. I think.

iTunes 11 has not only focused on improving features, it has also removed quite a few. iTunes DJ, one feature where you can make a playlist for a party and also take requests to play songs. Useful but I doubt many people used it. Also the de duper. Sometimes I have multiple copies of same song. This feature removes them and makes sure there’s only one of each. Now there is not on an option for it. If you put in a song another time, it simple plays the existing song instead of adding it again. My favorite of them all is the mini player. The previous mini player was not so easy to use. But the new one is. Again, just like the main app, it too is sleek and has very few buttons. And you can actually tweak your playlist through mini player  The volume control is now not in plain sight but cleverly adjusted. Very neat.

Next the iTunes store. Okay, it hasn’t been my favorite place in iTunes. It was confusing. Sometimes slow and also the fact the I cannot but movies and music. Customers in India are limited only to download any free tracks and for pod casts  But now iTunes store is live in India. And pricing too is very competitive. You can buy a song for Rs.12 and some albums for only Rs.80. The store design too is now simplified. Anything you want is right there in front of you and no effort required. Another addition to Artistes section is gallery. Now you can go through their photos if they have put up any and even their pages in now better designed With iTunes, Apple does not want to show how different this app is. It wants to show how better this is. An Ayrton Senna of its league, iTunes is.

In the end, iTunes is like Bruce Wayne. Will fool you by the looks but works like Batman.

Srinivas Arcot

An eternal optimist with volatile cynicism.

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