The iTunes Store used to have a Power Search link in its page footers. You could choose to search specific types of content, and enter search terms in appropriate fields, such as Artist for music; Author for books; Actor for movies; etc. With iTunes 11, this link disappeared, but there’s still a way to get to it.
I had forgotten about this tip shared by Kirk McElhearn. If you want a faster way to access Power Search in iTunes using AppleScript, Doug Adams shows you how.
In the 11.0.3 update for iTunes released today, Apple included a new “Updates” area for iOS apps. As noted by MacStories reader Graham Robson, the Apps area of iTunes now comes with a new “Updates” tab that lists available app updates (if any); if there are no updates, the screen will say “All Apps Are Up to Date”. As with previous versions of iTunes, you can press Command+R to check for updates both in the main Apps area, as well as the new Updates tab.
When updates are available, iTunes 11.0.3 will display a red “Update” ribbon on an application’s icon, similarly to how iOS displays a blue ribbon for “New” apps on the Home screen. In iTunes 11.0.3, updates are handled by the Updates area without requiring users to open the iTunes Store anymore.
After the launch of iTunes 11 in November 2012, the Updates screen remained surprisingly unchanged. The new app updates system is a welcome change – particularly because it doesn’t force users into an iTunes Store view anymore.
Update: Two more screenshots showing a contextual menu for apps that have an update, and the way iTunes 11.0.3 shows the changelog for an update with the same style of music albums.
Released in late November 2012, Apple today updated iTunes to version 11.0.3. The new version, available through the Mac App Store’s Software Update panel, brings a redesigned MiniPlayer, an improved songs view, support for multi-disc albums, and performance improvements.
The biggest change of iTunes 11.0.3 is the new MiniPlayer. Sporting a progress bar, the MiniPlayer now also comes with a larger artwork view that can be activated by clicking on the artwork thumbnail in the bottom left corner. The new artwork view will turn the MiniPlayer into a widget reminiscent of desktop music controllers like Bowtie and CoverSutra, with the usual controls to adjust volume, hide/view Up Next, and access an additional contextual menu. In the image above, you can see a composited screenshot of the new MiniPlayer views.
iTunes 11.0.3 is available now on Software Update and through Apple’s website.
iTunes 11 Navigation
Disclaimer: I am not a “heavy” iTunes user, but since version 11 came out – out of curiosity – I have tried to use it more.
I think Lukas Mathis is spot-on with his comments on iTunes 11’s new navigation. Mainly, the different ways to change “views” and “sections”:
To reiterate: if I’m in the store section, I don’t click on «Music» to go to my music, I click on «Library». But if I’m in my music section, I click on «Music» (which is on the opposite side of the screen from the previously-clicked «Library» button) to go to my movies.
I may not use iTunes as my default media manager for music and movies, but I do use it every day to check for app updates and buy new apps. Therefore, I am constantly switching between the “Apps” view of the Library and the “My App Updates” section of the iTunes Store (which, by the way, still hasn’t been updated to a new look). In the Library, the dropdown menu to switch views (Music, Movies, etc) is on the left; when I check for updates and I’m given the updates page, to go back I have to work with a different dropdown on the right. Maybe I’m too old for this stuff, but this breaks my muscle memory. Even worse, if I am in Apps, I check for updates, and click Library in the My App Updates page, I am not brought back to Apps – the Music view opens instead. This is incredibly confusing, and it still happens in iTunes 10.0.1.
I recommend reading Lukas’ post for a reasonable take on iTunes 11’s complicated navigation scheme and menu layout. Personally, I have gone back to showing the sidebar because it just makes more sense to me.
iTunes 11 Interface Innovations
I don’t use iTunes as my default media player on a daily basis. However, since the release of iTunes 11, mainly out of curiosity and to see my wish granted, I’ve forced myself to listen to some music and do some movie watching with it. I was considering a separate article, but Adam C. Engst perfectly summed up the issues I find myself having with iTunes 11:
In the end, it’s good to see Apple trying to extend interface concepts with all these new approaches in iTunes 11 and some, like the use of color and the new approach to application typography are welcome. But there’s a distinct lack of consistency and attention to discoverability that renders the single-window model and multifarious button menus less successful than they might be. I cringe at the thought of trying to help someone use iTunes 11 over the phone — it will be nearly impossible to describe the screen successfully and to walk someone through different actions if you can’t do so in person.
Overall, I believe iTunes 11 is an improvement. I like the expanded album view, the new Store’s consistency with iOS, the device popovers, and the MiniPlayer. But at the same time, as a non-power user of iTunes 11, I found it to be extremely complicated and confusing in other areas: the Done button to dismiss the device window, the separation of sections, views, devices, and Store buttons across the entire window, and the non-native sharing of the iTunes Store. And yes, even other inconsistencies such as the inability to go back to Apps view, the lack of visual hints for songs added to UpNext using the “+” button in the popovers, and the standalone Downloads window that should have probably worked like Safari’s.
It’s not that I don’t like iTunes 11: in fact, I do – overall. It’s that, even from my perspective, there’s a surprising lack of minutiae in the design of iTunes 11.
Officially announced at the iPhone 5 media event on September 12, Apple today released iTunes 11, the next major version of the media player/manager for OS X. At the end of October, Apple delayed the original release of the software, saying that it would come out “before the end of November”.
The new iTunes features a new edge-to-edge design that is reminiscent of the Music app for iPad. Album art flows across the display — clicking on an album expands album info as opening a folder does on iOS. iTunes also brings popovers that present a drop down of upcoming songs, and improved search results as you filter through music in your library. One of the big new features is expanded view, which lets users see all the songs of an album in place without opening a different view. The background of an album in expanded view is automatically generated by iTunes based on the item’s artwork.
The new MiniPlayer, unlike previous designs, shows album artwork and gives the option to manage playlists and see upcoming songs as well through the new Up Next feature. From the MiniPlayer, users can now also search for a song in their library by hitting the search button; and to go back to the main screen, all they have to do is click the “expand” icon next to the close button.
The built-in iTunes Store underwent a facelift, too. Inspired by iOS 6, the Store now comes with a cleaner look, carousel-like banners for featured items, and access to a Preview History to check out all media you’ve previewed in chronological order. iCloud integration makes sure purchases are available on every device, and, with iTunes 11, iCloud also syncs position for movies, TV shows, podcasts, iTunes U lessons, and audiobooks users are playing on a device.
iTunes 11 is available for download from Software Update. Our first impressions and screenshots directly below.
Update: Apple has also released Remote 3.0. The new app supports Up Next, it’s got new view options, and the iPad’s interface highly resembles iTunes for Mac with custom album backgrounds.
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.
iTunes 11 Delayed To November
As reported by AllThingsD, an Apple spokesperson has confirmed iTunes 11, expected by the end of October, has been delayed until November.
The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right. We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface, and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November.
Originally announced at the iPhone 5 event on September 12, the new iTunes features a new edge-to-edge design that is reminiscent of the Music app for iPad. iTunes 11 also brings popovers that present a drop down of upcoming songs, and improved search results as you filter through music in your library. One of the big new features is expanded view, which lets users see all the songs of an album in place without opening a different view. The background of an album in expanded view is automatically generated by iTunes based on the item’s artwork.
iTunes 11 will also add iCloud integration, a new Up Next feature, a redesigned MiniPlayer, and more. In a preview available online, Apple is showcasing some of the new design choices and functionalities of iTunes 11, but it’s still unclear how the app will handle other media such as apps, books, or podcasts.
Check out Apple’s official preview of Tunes 11 here.
In a report today, Bloomberg claims that Apple is set to overhaul iTunes by the end of the year by more closely integrating iCloud support and adding improved sharing features. Bloomberg is light on exactly what deeper iCloud support will entail, focusing instead on the fact that Apple wants to make it easier for users to manage and organise all their libraries of music, videos and applications. It’s also insinuated that Apple may yet carve more features out of iTunes and into separate apps, like the new Podcasts app that Apple released earlier this week.
The other half of this overhaul relates to how users find new content on the multitude of content stores that Apple runs. According to Bloomberg’s sources, this will entail making it easier to share songs and even allowing “users to listen to a song sent to them from a friend for free”. A big part of the improved sharing will no doubt be the baked in Twitter and Facebook sharing options that Apple showed off in their iOS 6 preview at WWDC. The new sharing features are also likely to replace Ping, which according to a report by John Paczkowski of AllThingsD earlier this month, is set to be removed from the next major version of iTunes.
Bloomberg refutes suggestions that Apple will offer a music subscription service like rdio or Spotify, but notes that music labels have been urging Apple to do so.