At their ‘Let’s Rock’ event this morning (Australian time), Apple released iTunes 8 today. After trying it out, it’s really not exciting.
There are some new features, including a new tile view for your music, movies, tv shows and podcasts. Users can control (via a slider) how big the images / cover art appears.
There’s also a new Genius bar, this is a sidebar (a panel to the right of the interface) that allows you preview and buy new related music. This is much more convenient to going to the Mini Store and taking you away from your music library.
I think Apple have missed a big opportunity as the Genius bar as it does not work / appear while playing Podcasts. It stands to reason that if your interested in related music discovery, then you may be interested in discovering new podcast content as well. Whilst there may not be the same financial incentives for Apple in doing so, it’s of great benefit to consumers.
Genius comes in the form of a playlist that recommends similar music to the current song, from your own library. Your mileage may vary with this, while playing Shake It by Metro Station, Genius thought Before I Forget by Slipknot was a good match.
In this release users get only one new visualization, whilst it’s impressive with very high quality, it lacks variation, controls, even a standard full screen option. Without this it seems pointless in having a visualization wrapped in the iTunes window. Any modern music player offers a wide range of visualizations either out of the box of with a simple plugin, sadly this misses the mark by a long way.
As suggested by itsross in the comments, you can go full screen by using Ctrl+F, also the twitters point to the ? key for additional options. Why Apple wouldn’t make these controls more overtly accessible is beyond me, hopefully this gets amended in iTunes 8.1.
Firmware 2.1 for the iPhone is still some days away, should be here by the end of the week. This should provide, much more stability and hopefully (although there was no mention of it today) push notification for applications.