It isn’t that long ago that iTunes was simply Apple’s audio player. Somewhere to stash and organise your MP3 files and sync them with your iPod. That was pretty much it. Nowadays however, it manages your video files organising movies and tv shows, as well as podcasts, apps for your iPod/iPhone. You get the picture. The name iTunes really doesn’t do it justice anymore.
Many of you may have updated to iTunes 9 already, in fact you probably will have done after being prompted by the software update at the time of release. But in case you haven’t, or in case you’ve missed something, this is what’s new in iTunes number 9.
Firstly, and probably most importantly, they’ve revamped the store to make it easier to navigate through and find what your songs, TV shows, movies, apps etc.
It is also much nicer experience organising places such as your wish-list in the new store, it looks great and extremely simple to use. Another great addition to the store is the extras that you now receive when you buy a movie. Just like the DVD/Blu-Ray edition you get special features from the film menu.
Secondly, another new feature is the home sharing. It’s pretty much self explanatory really. It allows you to authorize up to 5 computers on your local network and share all of your purchased media. When you purchase new tracks and media on any of these computers, you can immediately import them to your main iTunes library.
iTunes 9 also brought with it a new background colour (white) when using the grid view in iTunes, many people instantly didn’t like this change from the dark background found in iTunes 8 and therefore in the 9.0.2 update this was addressed. If this is an issue for you, you can find out how to change the iTunes 9 grid view background colour for yourself.
In terms of app management now that the iPod Touch and iPhone boom has really taken off, iTunes 9 allows you to easily sync and use a drag and drop feature to rearrange or delete apps on your iPod/iPhone. iTunes automatically syncs and backs up all of your apps whenever you connect your device so you end up with all of the same apps on your computer as on your iWhatever. You can alter your home screens and anything on your dock. Now the iTunes store is even integrated into your social networking life. You can easily show off your purchases and cravings through Facebook or Twitter.
Another great improvement in iTunes 9 is the genius mixes. Select a song, from the right click menu you can create a genius mix with a couple of clicks. Basically it compares the track with other iTunes users around the world and other music they listen to. Goes back to your library and creates a playlist with all the matched tracks.
Overall I think that iTunes 9 is brilliant. Even on Windows where the rather sluggish performance up until now has been somewhat improved in this release, however, they still haven’t gotten over the common problem that is the inability to cope with large libraries. There are so many complaints all over the web of people complaining of ridiculous lag and constant crashes when loading large libraries. Something else I would like to see in iTunes 10 is a simple way to manage multiple libraries in a single version of iTunes.
But all in all it offers so much and it really is the most beautiful media manager in the world and nothing I have ever used comes close. Personally I think it is time for a change of name. It is not longer iTunes, it’s much, much more!