Wednesday, September 10, 2008

iTunes 8 first impressions

One word, 'Nice'.

I doubt the new features would amount to a full version release, but hey they were quickly running out of numbers with iTunes 7. The most important thing I have found so far is that now my iPhone truly 'works'! and this is a big deal since the first day I have not been able to update the carrier settings, transfer apps bought on my mac to the phone or from the phone to my mac. Installed iTunes 8, clicked update carrier settings and boom it works, hmm, all my purchased apps are in the library, I can finally install Apple Remote which is very cool (good demo app too) and this is great. Things I like include the new grid view, which is very similar to the Aperture/iPhoto events view, visualizers and way better performance. Things I'm not sure about include the Genius Sidebar (more in a later post) and the lack of new interface, in particular the all in one design. For example when you clicked 'Get Info' (or command + I) it would change the current view (the area surrounded by the grey bars and source list) would change to show details, instead of opening a separate window which in my opinion is ugly.

The new grid view has custom icons for a set number of Genres which is pretty slick and album art in list views dont have reflections, yes!, for a much cleaner look.
Looking at the screenshots I was worried about the number of clicks I would have to do to play a song inside of an album, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a 'Play Album' button that pops up when you mouse over it.
As with iPhoto, moving the mouse from one side of a grid object to the other, will change to the album to the next inline, but it doesn't stop there, double clicking the object will take you to the currently visible album. For example my Fall Out Boy object has by default the 'Infinity On High' cover as default, double clicking will make that album at the top of the list, returning to the grid view and moving my mouse accross it again until I see the 'Take this to your grave' cover, double clicking will set the said album to the top of the list view, nice.
The zoom setting adjusts the size of the objects in the grid view, but what's interesting is that it will remember the zoom settings for each sort option (Albums, Artists, Genres, Composers) which is another nice little touch. My current iTunes window size and zoom settings for Albums (grid View) means there is 3 objects vertically, scrolling with my mouse wheel will jump 3 levels to show a fresh set of 18 objects, while clicking the scroll arrow will jump one level and manually moving the bar is very accurate. I would prefer that the mouse wheel didn't jump at all but rather just slide the page like moving the scroll bar does, Guess I will just have to get used to it. Another thing I don't like once you have a list view open, it's one giant list with 1 pixel lines separating the albums, there should be at least some gap in between them as this design feels cramped. The default size of the album art in list view means that there is always 13 lines minimum for each line, so albums shorter than 13 tracks do get some space but the list view always continue, gimme some white space, please.

If I see anymore cool things I will let you guys know, but this is my first impressions of the new iTunes 8 running on Mac OS X 10.5.4, if any windows users spot any difference drop a comment.

2 comments:

Donald said...

not to spoil everything but i'm still not impressed.

Alex Mills said...

Like I said in the first couple sentences, it doesn't deserve a full version upgrade. Granted they did fix a bunch of bugs, my iPhone works properly now and a slick interface update but thats a normal update stuff.

It's nice and I have yet to find a media manager anywhere as nice, useful or quick as iTunes. WMP doesn't know what it's doing and while Zune is nice, it's not good for me.

What's your media manager of choice? :)

Peace,
Alex