iTunes 11 was released this morning, after being delayed for a month in late October. The new software features several enhancements, including a completely redesigned user interface that’s simpler and easier to use.
Along with a new color scheme, the update to iTunes has greatly improved load times and search speeds. You will find the new iTunes is much speedier in general usage. Scrolling is no longer clunky and slow, and the App Store loads quickly.
In previous versions of iTunes, navigation was done with a sidebar on the left side of the screen. In iTunes 11, that bar has been removed, and instead, there is a drop down navigation menu that will allow you to select music, movies, TV shows, and home sharing.
With the menu at the top, you can further explore your content. For example, in the music section of iTunes, you can choose to view your songs by title in a list, by album, by artist or by genre. There’s also access to playlists, radio, and iTunes Match.
The removal of the sidebar allows for greater screen real estate when searching through your content, but if you were in love with that sidebar, don’t worry – you can get it back. Just navigate to view and then click on “Show Sidebar.”
There’s a new “Expanded View” feature that displays whenever you click on an album. It will show you all of the songs in the album (or from an artist) without closing out the original album listing. This makes navigation through multiple albums much quicker.
You will also find that there’s a new artist view, which allows you to see all of the songs listed by artist on the left side of the screen. Clicking on an artist will list all of the available songs. This is also where you’ll find easy access to all of your Podcasts.
In addition to a redesign, iTunes 11 also has a new MiniPlayer. The controls have been simplified, with the skip forward/backward and play and pause buttons removed unless you hover over the panel with your mouse. Available buttons display the next songs to play and allow you to search through your library.
With enhanced iCloud integration, iTunes 11 will maintain your place on all of your devices. If you’re watching a TV show on your iPhone, you can pause it and resume it from the same spot on your computer.
Finally, there’s an exciting new feature that allows you to use your computer’s camera to redeem iTunes gift cards. When you click redeem in the App Store, you will be offered the option to have the camera read the numbers on the card, saving you from needing to enter codes manually.
If you have a previous version of iTunes, you can download the new iTunes 11 update from the Mac App Store for free. Simply use the software update feature for a quick download, or you can download the update from Apple’s website.