Review: Apple iTunes for Mac revamps its interface and improves performance

Listen to music, manage your songs and videos, and shop the store with Apple iTunes for Mac.

Apple iTunes for Mac continues doing its thing, managing and playing your media, constructing playlists, selling music, and renting movies; but the interface is always evolving.

We updated Apple iTunes for Mac via Apple's Software Update, upgrading 10.7 to 11.0.4 without any issues. A dramatically redesigned interface was apparent right off the bat. The sidebar was gone--it can be restored--and all our albums were displayed in a grid of album covers. We scrolled through our 2,231 albums, smoothly and precisely, but iTunes 10 could not handle a library of this size very well, making browsing through our library a jerky, jumpy experience. When we clicked on an album cover, a list of songs and controls expands out right beneath it, in a dynamically created color scheme based off the album art--a very nice touch. We thought this was a vast improvement over Cover Flow, the previous, and now gone, integration of album art that was useless as a navigation tool. Clicking on a song now reveals a small arrow next to it, which when clicked opens up a context menu. From there, you can start a Genius-based shuffle, create a Genius playlist, or go to the song's associated Album or Artist view. We found the interface redesign to be a vast improvement, even extending to a dramatically upgraded Mini Player. We will miss the iTunes DJ feature, which was replaced by Up Next. Up Next shows you the next batch of songs that will play, whether you're listening to an album, playlist, or just shuffling. We were able to delete and reorder the songs listed, but couldn't add specific songs, which iTunes DJ could do.

Though many will complain about lost features, the fact is that iTunes 11 is a major improvement with a significant performance boost. People avoiding Apple iTunes for Mac for fear of losing certain features are missing out on a superior app.

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