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A History Of iTunes Through The Years

A History Of iTunes Through The Years

Ahead of Apple’s highly anticipated release of iTunes 11, Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica has published an interesting look back at 12 years of iTunes. From version 1.0 all the way up to the latest iTunes 10 features, Jacqui offers a brief yet complete overview of how, through the years, iTunes received more and more functionalities.

So what makes the next version of iTunes so great? For one, it has a revamped UI meant to provide a more themed experience when listening to albums. It also has better integration with iCloud, which now automatically downloads your iOS device purchases directly to your iTunes library on the computer. And finally, iTunes can pick up on a movie where you left off on your iPhone or iPad. Oh, and did we mention the redesigned Mini Player?

I (and others) have previously argued that, after 10+ years, it was time for Apple to change iTunes.

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with iTunes: in the age of iCloud, iTunes is a weirdly old-fashioned desktop software to organize media and manage devices in the same way we did 10 years ago. Only with more features and content types. iTunes is the epitome of old interfaces and interactions trying to hold onto the present.

iTunes 11 is certainly intriguing, but we haven’t been told much about its media management features except for Music. We know that there will be deeper integration with iCloud (as I hoped back in April), but I’m more interested in how Apple will try to slim down iTunes’ interface for app management, podcasts, and books. There’s a divide between what Apple has been doing on iOS and OS X: while iOS users have been able to split up their media in multiple apps (App Store, iTunes, Music, Podcasts, iBooks, Videos), Mac users have been forced into iTunes for everything except Mac apps. The new iTunes webpage mentions, for instance, podcast sync with iCloud, but will podcast management also go through an evolution, foregoing the old and clunky download & organize workflow many have come to despise? Will there be easier access to the Purchased area for apps, which is still curiously hidden inside the desktop iTunes Store?

Will iTunes 11 be a more modern iTunes or just a better music player?

According to Apple, the new iTunes will arrive before the end of November.