iTunes Update Brings Little to Get Excited About

Apple announced the new iPhone 5 at an event today in San Francisco and along with it we learned that they will update iTunes, but there’s not too much to get excited about.

The new user interface gets an overhaul, but the basic layout remains intact. Better control of music as the user plays and some interesting details about albums and artists show up in an iOS-style way. Other than that the new version will look a lot like the current version, a big disappointment for many of us.

The user interface will sport an edge-to-edge design with less clutter. When a user clicks on something like an album cover or movie image, the program shows a new information window that resembles the way a folder opens in iOS 6 called Expanded View. Also the collection gets a grid view that shows album art covers.

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Each album gets a feature that they call “in the store” that shows the top songs and other albums from the artist. This sounds like the feature they used to put off to the side, but now gets a more prominent look.

The new interface lets users browse their iTunes library by Artist and not just playlists. And artists can show off things they want to share with fans like photos. And when the user wants to find new stuff, iTunes will give recommendations based on the user’s currently playing or what’s in the person’s library.

While I play my songs I will get a drop down list of upcoming songs. The user won’t need to navigate around in iTunes while playing music to find info about the current album or artist.

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Apple updated the mini-player design that shows more than just what’s playing and the control buttons. Now a user gets the ability to manage their playlists and see the songs coming up in the current playlist or album.

iCloud gets further integration with iTunes. As I’m playing a movie on my iPad I can stop it and pick it up on my iPhone at the point where I stopped. Later I can continue playing it via my computer in iTunes thanks to the sync feature now built into iTunes and the other devices.

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There’s also more sharing features like Twitter and Facebook integration. The new look store will contain “shelves” the Apple claims helps the buyer find what’s pertinent to them. As a shopper looks around for music, the history of previews listened to shows up in a link on the tool bar in the upper right corner.

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A number of the features we see with songs will show up on albums. For example the same iOS-style folder look will work on the movie and TV show images and books.

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