With all the excitement surrounding the release of the iPhone 5, iOS 6, and even the new iPods, the iTunes update has been somewhat forgotten about. Along with the products that use iTunes, the branch of the company that started out as just a music download service and has branched into television, movies, and podcasts, is also getting a facelift.
Tim Cook recognized that music is “deeply embedded in our DNA.” Proving that later on at the event, Foo Fighters put on a mini concert. Because it's so embedded is why they have created iPods and iTunes, products that he says have revolutionized the music industry.
With sixty-six percent of the iTunes downloads coming from iOS devices, those apps got the first update. The app will now feature big images in the storefront, presumably highlighted with retina displays. There will also be Facebook integration, which is certain doom for Ping. And now to go along with those ninety-second song previews, users will be able to continue browsing while they listen. Additionally, there's a very handy Preview History.
Moving onto the desktop app, the Cloud of course connects it all, and two-hundred million users are doing just that. Gone is that old-style list on the left. It now features drop-down menus instead, enabling larger images, like the iOS version. The albums will expand out the same way folders do in OS X. It's actually very reminiscent of the iOS app, just like much of Mountain Lion seems to be. Dragging albums will force the app to start a playlist for you.
A new feature called Up Next allows you to see what songs will be playing next, and you can also interrupt that with some other song choices. When those are done, the original playlist will return. There's also improvements to the floating mini player. You can even search within the new mini player now. That's great, but what I really want is a mini player for the iPad. Next time maybe.
What I'm wishing today is that this was all rolling out now, and not September 19.