Apple iTunes 10.2.1 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Apple iTunes

CNET Editors' review

Bottom line: Version 10.6 of iTunes brings a handful of enhancements to Apple's ubiquitous media software, and adds support for 1080p video.

Review:
As one of the most popular programs for managing music and video content on a personal computer, Apple's iTunes software has become an indispensable part of our digital life.

Interface
The look and layout of iTunes 10 is essentially identical to that of iTunes 9, with just a couple of noticeable differences. The first is that Apple has updated its logo for iTunes. Rather than the old-school music note-over-CD icon, you'll see a much more applike image. Still, the company hasn't figured out how to more broadly represent the jukebox's multimedia functionality: there's still just a music note.

There's also been a slight change to the source menu that runs as a column down the left side. The bright blue icons representing the various submenus have been changed to gray--an odd change in our eyes as it makes them stand out even less, which doesn't make a ton of sense for menu options. That said, they still offer quick access to your media library, the iTunes Store, Genius features, and playlists. Once a selection is chosen in the source menu, all the relevant content spills out into the large main window, where it can be organized and sorted using an arsenal of sophisticated, spreadsheet-like options or switched into a Cover Flow view that hearkens back to the days of flipping through record crates.

Once you're in the iTunes Store, navigation links now run horizontally across the top of the window and include drop-down menus to quickly drill down into specific sections, such as Jazz. Front page content is attractively arranged and allows you to launch music and video previews directly, without jumping in and out of specific album and video listings. There's also an option menu next to every purchase button, allowing you to copy the item's URL, add to your Wish List, gift the purchase, or share the link on Facebook or Twitter. We're happy to see that Apple kept all these great enhancements from version 9.

As the primary tool for managing content on iOS devices, iTunes continues to make it easy to find music, apps, podcasts, videos, and more using the navigation buttons across the top. In the iTunes App Store, for example, you can view Apple's New and Noteworthy apps, Hot apps of the moment, and Staff Picks if you're looking for app ideas. The iTunes App Store also offers a number of features in the right navigation like Games of the Week, Games starter kits, most popular lists, and other rotating links for more app discovery choices. Similarly, the Podcast, Books, and Video sections all have options for content discovery making it easy to browse for new content for your iOS devices.

New in iTunes 10

Features
What started out as a basic jukebox program for ripping and burning CDs and transferring music to your iPod has evolved over the years into a multimedia behemoth capable of handling everything from HD-movie rentals to syncing appointments with your iOS device. In spite of all the bells and whistles that have been tacked on to iTunes over the years, at its core, iTunes still remains an excellent tool for managing your music and video collections.

One of the major feature additions from version 10 was Ping, a social music tool akin to Microsoft's Zune Social. Ping lets you select your favorite artists to follow, and then provides updated information on new music and concerts in your area (as well as a Twitter-like feed of comments from the artists). In addition, you can connect with your friends through iTunes by sending e-mail invites or by linking to your Facebook account. Ping is also built into the iTunes app, allowing users to access it on-the-go. Ping started off slow at release with only a few artists to follow, but after a few iTunes updates, Ping blossomed into full-fledged service. Ping still struggles to catch on, however, and is probably not as widely used as Apple might have hoped.

On the plus side, the recent versions of the jukebox do carry over all the great features from their predecessors. There's the iTunes LP media format, Home Sharing, Genius Mixes, and plentiful device-syncing options. The iTunes LP format treats music fans to a more immersive album experience, filled with liner notes, lyrics, interactive menus, and bonus videos. Though it seemed like a great idea when iTunes 10 first launched, relatively few artists currently have LP versions of their releases at the time of this update (iTunes 10.6).

On the video side, you can still expect to get the sort of bonus material and extras found on DVDs to many of the popular movies and TV shows available through iTunes. The format is called iTunes Extras, but just like iTunes LP, none of the added material or special menus can be transferred to an iPod or iPhone.

iTunes 10.6 adds the ability to play 1080p movies and TV shows from within the iTunes App Store. Apple says song matching has been improved, and iTunes has improved the way album artwork is handled, downloaded, and displayed. We haven't noticed any big differences in matching or album artwork management in our testing. The update also fixed an issue where songs were skipping when playing from iCloud.

Apple's Genius feature, added in iTunes 8, harnesses Apple's vast collection of iTunes song data to give you educated recommendations when it comes to what music or videos may interest you based on the media you already have. The same data can also be used to create instant 25-song Genius Playlists, built around any song in your library. In iTunes 9, Apple added another use for its Genius song recommendations called Genius Mixes. To minimize the amount of time it takes to launch iTunes and start listening to great music, Genius Mixes are automatic mixes of music from your library based around a common genre, such as Rock, Classical, Pop, or Jazz. The effect is similar to switching on a good radio station, surrendering song selection over to Apple's Genius technology, and trusting it not to mix your Zappa songs with Ella Fitzgerald.

iTunes also allows you to bless locally networked computers with Home Sharing privileges, allowing unrestricted access to their music, videos, podcasts, apps, and playlists, which can be copied between computers directly within iTunes. It's a great feature for families or any multicomputer household, and can even be set up to transfer any new iTunes store purchases between all of your computers automatically. Of course, content added to your library using means other than the iTunes Store (heaven forbid) is excluded from automatic updates, but can still be transferred manually through Home Sharing.

iTunes Match
Originating in version 10.5.1, iTunes Match lets you subscribe to match your current music library up with iTunes' vast music database and stores all your music in iCloud for $24.99 per year. Once subscribed, iTunes scans your library then matches up your songs with the iTunes database. Even if you have songs that aren't in the iTunes database, they will be uploaded to iCloud allowing you to download them on authorized desktop computers and your iOS devices. It's important to note, however, that Apple has implemented a hard cap of 25,000 songs for iTunes Match, so those with enormous music collections won't even be able to sign up for the service. Hopefully Apple will come up with a way to account for users with giant music collections (even if that means offering the capability to designate which songs should be matched), but it seems like a large oversight to not have some way for these users to sign up.

Worth the download?

Updating iTunes is about as inevitable as death and taxes. Try and resist, and some iPod or iPhone update will come along and twist your arm into updating anyhow. And while Apple hasn't done much to lighten the load of the iTunes installation package (or the bundled QuickTime install that comes with it), it's hard to complain when the program is free and offers such an impressive range of features. If you're willing to spend $24.99 a year, the iTunes matching service might be worth the download to get all your music available via the cloud (as long as you have 25,000 songs or fewer). So yes, it's worth downloading--if for no other reason than to manage your devices and the content to go with it.

iTunes 7.7:

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    2.9 stars

    out of 1,726 votes

    • 5 star: 442
    • 4 star: 293
    • 3 star: 198
    • 2 star: 218
    • 1 star: 574
  • Current version:

    2.1 stars

    out of 10 votes

    • 5 star: 1
    • 4 star: 1
    • 3 star: 1
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 5
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 10

  • 1.0 stars

    "Quite possibly the worst music player ever made"

    April 18, 2011  |   By zmarine44

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    Can't think of a single one.

    Cons

    Memory hog, runs slow, can't actually deal with your iPod.

    Summary

    For the second time in under a week iTunes has wiped my iPod. I plug it in and iTunes crashes, rinse and repeat until I "Safely Remove" the hardware through Windows, which doesn't do anything. I remove it and everything has been erased. This terrible, slow, memory-hog of a program erased my iPod. Now I have to wait two hours for it to re-upload. Easily the worst music player, if not the single worst piece of software in computing history.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Is there a Zero Star Rating?"

    April 15, 2011  |   By ihateapplesoftware

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    Able to transfer Music and Videos to ipod (the only way)

    Cons

    Very very slow, Glitchy, Not made for Vista or any Windows PC, Freezes very frequently, it's the only way of transferring media to apple device, duplicates all your mp3's, some tracks dont even shoe up in the right place!!! GGGRRRR!!!!

    Summary

    Total crap and is a complete insult to apples great and innovative hardware/devices.
    I HATE the fact you have to import all your music etc via itunes.
    When i'm bored with my ipod I will be buying a normal MP3 player and also I will not ever be purchasing an iphone!
    Android all the way for me!

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Slow and User-Unfriendly"

    April 14, 2011  |   By nicholasaishk

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    Lots of movies, music, TV shows available online to buy and download
    Good design
    Centralizes your media and organizes it

    Cons

    Slow (very)
    Doesn't feel like it was designed to fit PC computers effectively
    Confusing and user-unfriendly (especially with finding the core files)
    Not compatible with several PC file types
    Glitches/Errors exist in program

    Summary

    iTunes has one of the largest online stores for music, videos, movies etc. It is therefore very convenient to purchase items off of.

    Although it is very slow and user unfriendly especially when iTunes stuffs up and you have to try and fix it's problems (not easy) and individuals who own iPods, iPhones or iPads are forced to use iTunes for syncing. Sometimes iTunes may remove content from your iDevice which is sometimes difficult to recover.

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  • 1.0 stars

    "itunes is difficult to use"

    April 4, 2011  |   By Oakrainbowshimmer

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    I have Att for an Internet Service Provider, I have 4G but it doesn't work well because Att is not that great of a service provider. Where I live is about 15 miles out from a major city and My service really sucks.

    Cons

    Apple makes a good product but my service Provider ATT is so bad that my phones virtually impossible to hear what my caller is saying.

    Summary

    iphone +++++ ATT service sucks

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  • 1.0 stars

    "CNET approves 4 Windows7 but never tells U NOT for x64"

    March 28, 2011  |   By ecorpinc

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    Would be nice to have if for Windows 7 x64!

    Cons

    Isn't for Windows 7 x64 bit!

    Summary

    CNET should tell us whether or not something is compatible for x64. Since I logged into and signed up 4 CNET shouldn't it KNOW I have x64 bit before it tells me to download something?

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  • 1.0 stars

    "It may seem great but its ****."

    March 26, 2011  |   By monceylovesMegan

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    It works as a music player, and buyer...as plays few video formats

    Cons

    1.horrible file adding
    2.horrible storage
    3.deletes music
    4.glitches music
    5.slow
    6.complications with files
    7.

    Summary

    piece of ****.
    1.horrible file adding
    2.horrible storage
    3.deletes music
    4.glitches music
    5.slow
    6.complications with files
    7.background programs
    8.high ram usage
    9.lack of ways to sort files
    10.good visualizes to music
    11.runs well minimized till song change
    12. over 2000 song slows it down
    13.looks cool
    14.lacks options other player offer
    15.has a store

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  • 2.0 stars

    "S-L-O-O-O-W-W-W"

    March 23, 2011  |   By BOBRGR

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    Lots of content

    Cons

    S-L-O-O-O-W-W-W

    Summary

    I have a cable connection running >1.5mbps, but that's not the issue since many that turned up from web search had much faster connections and still have very slow performance

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  • 4.0 stars

    "I would love to, but not,ready yet."

    March 20, 2011  |   By nitewind09

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    I love it all and would love it all even more,but I have to think on it a little while longer.

    Cons

    Iknow I would not have enough what?Ram?Memory? No I can't right now.

    Summary

    I would love to jump right in with the big guys I will be sad about it .

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Bloat ware"

    March 16, 2011  |   By olama360

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    The iTunes store has a lot of apps and most of the music.

    Cons

    itunes almost take up 100MB of space and is laggy. Not everyone has a Mac Pro with a 12 core processor and a nvidida graphics card.

    Summary

    Download alternate Media players like Media Monkey

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  • 5.0 stars

    "I would like some music downloads"

    March 12, 2011  |   By fmart1234

    Version: Apple iTunes 10.2.1

    Pros

    I would like to free music downloads for my desktop

    Cons

    I don't how to get my free downloads

    Summary

    I would like some free downloads for my desk top

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Results 1-10 of 10

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