At a Glance
- Easy interface
- Nice tag editing
Apple’s excellent but codec-restricted player and organizer sounds great and makes tag editing easy.
Apple’s iTunes 9 has a number of new features, such as iTunes LP
(which tries to bring full-blown album art, liner notes, and so on
to the digital world), Home Sharing (which allows you to sync your
music across computers in your household), and the redesigned iTunes
Store. Though these new features make iTunes a stronger
media-playback app, it’s hardly a major revamp.
With the addition of Home Sharing, iTunes finally gives you a
way to sync music automatically among the computers in your home.
Once you enable Home Sharing on your PC, you’ll be able to access
the iTunes library on any other Mac or Windows PC on your network
with Home Sharing enabled. From there, you can play music from
other computers and import music from those computers as well, so
you can have the same music on every machine in your house.
You’ll have to ensure that all your computers are on the same
network and activated with the same iTunes account. This means that
you can’t share music between your iTunes account and your
significant other’s, for example, and you can’t share music between
your home PC and your work PC. Still, Home Sharing is a welcome
addition, and it beats manually copying music files onto each of
Apple has completely redesigned the iTunes Store, and it’s a big
improvement. The new look is cleaner and more attractive–and
easier to navigate, too, thanks to the addition of a navigation bar
across the top that gives you easy access to the various parts of
the iTunes Store. Album pages have been redesigned as well. Gone is
the split-pane view of old (album details and user reviews on top,
songs below)–instead, the songs show in-line on the page, in a
more prominent location. As you mouse over songs in a list, a
preview button appears; click it, and you get a 30-second preview
of that song.
The rest of the interface has undergone only minor changes.
While iTunes 9 is improved overall, it takes a step back in some
areas. The toolbar that lets you change sort options on the fly in
grid view is no longer the default; you have to turn it on via the
View menu. And various controls, such as the buttons for the
drop-down genre menus in the iTunes Store, appear only when you
mouse over them, making them less obvious than they should be.
The new Genius Mixes are like Genius-powered radio stations: A
Mix pulls together any and all songs of a similar nature in your
iTunes library and plays them in random order. To group similar
artists and songs together, Genius also collects song information
from your iTunes library and compares it with what other iTunes
With iTunes 9 and iPhone OS 3.1, you get more control over how
your apps are organized on your iPhone or iPod Touch. iTunes
already let you pick and choose which apps to sync with your
iPhone, but iTunes 9 makes doing so more user-friendly and more
discoverable with its newly reorganized Applications tab. And
iTunes now allows you to rearrange how your apps appear on your
I can’t think of a reason not to upgrade to iTunes 9. ITunes is
due for an overhaul, though. The sidebar, for example, is starting
to get very crowded, as Apple tacks more features on. Maybe in
version 10 we’ll see Apple simplify and streamline iTunes.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site, where you
can download the latest version of the software.