iTunes 8.0.1 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

iTunes

CNET Editors' 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. Version 9 of iTunes brings a handful of enhancements to Apple's ubiquitous media software, including an improved storefront, tools for sharing media between multiple computers, a new Genius Mixes music experience, and a more flexible system for syncing media to the iPod or iPhone.

Design
The look of iTunes 9 is a little more polished than that of iTunes 8, but the layout is basically identical. A source menu runs as a column down the left side, offering 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.

One feature that received a substantial overhaul is the iTunes store. 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 more attractively arranged and allows you to launch music and video previews directly, without jumping in and out of specific album and video listings. Another welcome design change seen throughout the iTunes store is 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.

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 iPhone. 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.

Several new features have been introduced in iTunes 9, including a new iTunes LP media format, Home Sharing, Genius Mixes, and new device-syncing options. As a throwback to a bygone era when people purchased and revered full-length albums, the iTunes LP format treats music fans to an immersive album experience, filled with liner notes, lyrics, interactive menus, and bonus videos. Like any album or single purchased using iTunes, the songs included with an iTunes LP are delivered as DRM-free AAC music files that can be transferred to any iPod, iPhone, or AAC-compatible device. All of the extra stuff included with an iTunes LP--the special menus, photos, videos, and interactive elements--are only available to view directly on your computer. In spite of its limitations, the iTunes LP format should find a home with music fans looking for a richer album experience from their favorite bands.

Apple is taking a similar approach with video, adding 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.

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 adds 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.

Of all the new features included in iTunes 9, the most practical by far is Home Sharing. Up until now, multiple computers on a common network could use iTunes to stream content between computers, but were prevented from actually copying files back and forth. In iTunes 9, you can now 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.

Finally, anyone with an iPod or iPhone will enjoy the extra syncing options available in iTunes 9. With your iPod or iPhone connected to your computer, the iTunes device summary window now includes a dedicated tab for iTunes U academic content (formerly lumped in with podcasts), and the syncing options for music, videos, photos, and podcasts, now offer more control over what media you want to transfer. For example, in the music tab, you now have options for syncing the specific artists, playlists, and genres you care about, and a check box for filling up any leftover space with random selections. iPhone and iPod Touch owners will be happy to see an improved Apps tab where you can arrange and customize the selection of apps that get synced to your device.

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. So yes, it's worth downloading--if for no other reason than the excellent new Home Sharing feature. Visit CNET's Download.com for the latest version of iTunes 9 (Mac or Windows).

iTunes 7.7:

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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:

    3.7 stars

    out of 22 votes

    • 5 star: 10
    • 4 star: 4
    • 3 star: 3
    • 2 star: 1
    • 1 star: 4
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 22

  • 3.0 stars

    "i like music"

    December 15, 2010  |   By afootes

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    listen to music

    Cons

    there are cons

    Summary

    l ilike to listen to music

    Reply to this review

    Was this review helpful? (0) (0)

  • 4.0 stars

    "Good Program"

    February 6, 2009  |   By arunasp

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    Great.............

    Cons

    Nothing...........

    Summary

    Okay for ipod.........

    Reply to this review

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  • 4.0 stars

    "overall good program"

    January 21, 2009  |   By M360

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    plays flv files

    Cons

    some files dont play

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    "It is getting better."

    January 11, 2009  |   By dgibb32257

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    Apple is working on creating a more user friendly product.

    Cons

    Will not allow me to upload album images if the albums are not sold in the store.

    Reply to this review

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  • 5.0 stars

    ",/;mkljhjguifogyu"

    January 10, 2009  |   By sheeniqua

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    ;iojioyhunbkjgbhvf

    Cons

    uohyugiopytdftyffgbhfiiub t

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Good music player. Not as good as iTunes 7."

    January 9, 2009  |   By temporos

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    Plays many standard (and proprietary) media formats. iTunes Store is easy to navigate and purchase music from. Equalizer with presets best in industry. Excellent sound quality. User-friendly interface.

    Cons

    Can't get rid of Apple Store links in music library view. Library backup allowed only to CD/DVD. BLOATWARE! Requires QuickTime. Installs and launches 7 hidden processes at startup. Monstrous TSR. Huge resource hog.

    Summary

    Like its predecessors, iTunes 8 is more than able to play the music in your library and do it well. It features many options for grouping your music, editing ID3 tags, re-encoding, and sorting, among other things. You can't remove the iTunes Store links from your playlist view in this version, however, which is quite annoying, as it takes up valuable space that cuts into long song and album titles. Once again, the graphic equalizer included (with optional automatic selection, based on the song's ID3 tag) is the best in the business, reproducing the sound exquisitely.

    This version of iTunes is definitely bloatware. A huge system resource hog, it kidnaps 150 MB of RAM while it's running. It also activates seven processes in the background when you start your computer, the memory requirements of which are a combined 17 MB. These processes will run even if you do not use iTunes. They can be switched off, but be aware that parts of iTunes will no longer work. It also hogs processor cycles. If you're using iTunes 8, don't count on getting any processor-intensive work done. I-t... w-i-l-l... g-o... s-l-o-w... This version also acts as a TSR (Terminate but Stay Resident) for quick reloading later. It ties up approximately 32 MB of memory just for this. This cannot be turned off (short of a core dump, very bad idea in Windows).

    Backing up your library is a pain in the patella. iTunes provides backup support only to CDs or DVDs, and doesn't back up your library's ITDB, XML, or album artwork files. When you reload your music and videos from these discs back to your computer, iTunes has to rebuild the library, which takes a long time, depending on the size of your library (a few thousand songs can take up to an hour to rebuild).

    In conclusion, iTunes 8 remains one of the best players out there for your music and video library, but Apple needs to go back to the simplicity and elegance that was iTunes 5. They have many "features" that need to go. Unfortunately, if history is a good indicator of future performance, Apple will likely ignore user demands and do whatever they want.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "I like it. iTunes is the best provider for iPods."

    January 7, 2009  |   By kcmagic21

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    Great music library. Easy to check apps. The Genius and it automatically syncs with the iPod.

    Cons

    Takes up too much space. Programs/Music is unnecessary. Buy this, buy that.

    Summary

    It works the best when you have an iPod. Supports the iPod and backs up the files.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "once worked out not bad product"

    December 23, 2008  |   By v8nut13

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    burn cd,s and playing my music throw it

    Cons

    to me not very good play back music vids

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  • 5.0 stars

    "It's extremely helpful in finding hard to locate music."

    December 19, 2008  |   By Mr.ADUBYA

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    Helps keep you up to date in todays media wether it be music, movies, e-books, or podcasts. Helps find older or out of circulation movies and music.

    Cons

    Some items you find in the store aren't available for download or order. Simply frustrating! If it's shown it should be available. I don't need to see it if I can't buy it.

    Summary

    I like it because it has been very useful in finding music that I couldn't find anywhere else. The equalizer interface can boost level of an individual song when it's recorded at a lower level than other song in your files.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Needs no introduction"

    December 14, 2008  |   By gabjag

    Version: iTunes 8.0.1

    Pros

    This is a standard - the music is crisp and clear

    Cons

    Seems to take up a lot of memory - but worth it

    Summary

    great product - look forward to more from apple

    Reply to this review

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Results 1-10 of 22

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