If Apple delayed the release to make sure the new version worked as expected, kudos to the decision maker. The latest version is still a behemoth of an app; an all-in-one monstrosity that will confuse and delight, but there’s more of the latter than the former.
The Good, The Bad, And No Ugly
iTunes 11 doesn’t look much like previous versions of Apple’s venerable media player and Swiss Army Knife media store.
Frankly, I expected some drastic changes in design and performance, but more akin to what we see in iOS. Instead, iTunes ditches some fluff, and improves usability.
The discreet metallic knob on the volume slider bar looks good and indicates that skeuomorphism may not yet be dead.
AirPlay takes a prominent position in the Toolbar. There’s a new gradient in the song playing view. New shows up everywhere except in Preferences which looks the same.
iCloud takes on a more public view in iTunes 11. Songs in the cloud can be streamed, hidden, or downloaded, depending upon your mood and bandwidth. iCloud also displays TV shows and music, but nada, zero, and zilch for iBooks or Audio Books.
Other than the new locations for buttons, the most notable difference in iTunes is performance. It’s much faster, and puts the Mac App Store to shame. The iTunes mini player is clean and sleek. Search is faster and easier.
Gone is an eye candy lover’s favorite. Cover Flow.
Good riddance. Cover Flow was pretty to see, but painful to use. Someone at Apple is devoting effort to function over form.
The sidebar, a relic from the last century, remains but you have to look for it. Also gone is the multiple windows option, duplicate remover, and iTunes DJ.
This is one of Apple’s major apps and getting it just right so as not to shock users into submission was a challenge. Apple pulled it off. It takes only minutes to figure out where and what the new buttons do, and whatever they do it’s done much faster.
I like the iCloud integration, which means I don’t need a 2 terabyte SSD on my next MacBook Pro to handle thousands of songs, hundreds of movies and TV shows while I’m on the road (fast internet connection is not optional).