iTunes 11: Worth Upgrading?

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You can no longer move content from your iPad into your iTunes Library. This has to be accomplished by downloading from iCloud. Users with mediocre Internet connections will have to make do. Supposedly, you can now play media from a docked iOS device in iTunes 11, however I was unable to get this to work. That’s not the point. I want to be able to archive the media I download on my iPad, so I can free up room on my tablet without re-downloading the media again. This cannot be accomplished. It’s frustrating! You are better off downloading iTunes on your Mac or PC. Once in your Library, it can be transferred to your iPad or iPhone via wi-fi sync.

iTunes DJ, a feature which allowed users to vote on songs and have the DJ add them to the playlist, has been removed. Up Next has replaced this feature, however, the social interaction piece is absent. Perhaps this will be added in a future release, but it may be that it was never widely used.

The gapless playback editor, another useful feature for DJs has also been removed. It’s a shame because I do know DJs who use iTunes. They may move to other dedicated software, but when all your music is in iTunes, this is just a headache. Keep in mind that music without gaps, such as 1970s progressive rock albums (“Dark Side of the Moon”) will still play in a gapless manner. The feature Apple removed allowed DJs to create better segues between songs. Once again, Apple has revealed itself to be consumer-oriented to a fault.

There are some UI features that have been removed in iTunes 11. Most notably, you cannot break out functionality into external windows. iTunes 11 runs in one window, for the most part. The exceptions are the equalizer, MiniPlayer and its associated album viewer. The genius sidebar has been removed. Genius recommendations now appear on the left side when playlists are selected from the top button, or in the Sidebar if it is visible. As mentioned, the MiniPlayer lacks a scrub/progress control, which has been placed with its associated album viewer window.

Overall, iTunes 11 looks better and has a better workflow. However, it does not offer any performance improvement and some of the missing features may have users sticking with their old version of iTunes. DJs, in particular, will probably stick with iTunes 10.7 for some time, hoping that the features they use will be re-introduced. This may not be the case. Apple makes consumer products. Democratic design gives most people what they want, often at the expense of fringe “expert” users’ needs.

iTunes 11 is a major UI overhaul, but not everyone will like it. If some of the missing features and AirPlay instability are deal-breakers, stick with 10.7 for now. Users with smaller screens, such as MacBook owners, will find the new iTunes appealing. Follow Appledystopia for information on upcoming releases of iTunes…

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