iTunes 7 is a significant update to iTunes, bigger than the jump than from iTunes 5 to 6 at least. But on first impressions, not much has changed. It still looks like iTunes, and bar some new blue icons and sleeker scroll bars1 it really hasn’t changed much on the looks front.
Upon opening iTunes 7, I was disappointed to find it removed all my customisation of the main track window. It lost my custom ordering, and enabling of compilations. Apart from moving the Browser button (the eye icon) to the bottom right from the top right of the window, everything seems to be in the right/same place.
Apart from the left-side menu, the most noticable change is the new View selector on the top right. You have the standard list, and then theres grouping the tracks by artwork, and then with the cover browser.
Personally, I can’t see much use for these new views apart from when you’re looking for something to listen and you just want to browse your library. In every other situation, the use of the search facility or the Browse window is quicker.
Speaking of search, I remember it letting you choose how to filter down your results with a bar on top of the music list, although you can use the more standard (if you use OS X that is) way of filtering your search, by choosing your search filter by click the little hourglass icon.
The biggest interface change is now the management of iPod settings and firmware updates is done within iTunes and not in the Preferences window anymore.
You also get a much more detailed view of the disk space usage on your iPod, with audio, video and other categories. You get all the standard tabs such as Music and Podcasts which have the same functionality as the old Preference window, and now the Videos has been seperated into Movies and TV Shows, and the addition of Games.
Honestly though, this new interface seems very amateurish and not thought through. The tabs conform to no known interface look and feel for OS X or Windows, the Cancel and Apply buttons goes against the conventions of every other pane, which apply updates immediately, and the increased screen real estate has been totally wasted.
The new fifth-generation iPods now feature downloadable games at Â£3.99 each, or Â£35.01 for all nine games. Current fifth-generation iPods to require a software update to 1.2 before they can play games, but it brings no new free games.
Some other non-UI improvements include the getting of album art from iTunes itself, and not needing some third party application. This has been a feature that has been requested since the first incarnation of the iTunes Music Store, and I’m glad it’s finally been implemented.
iTunes now finally supports gapless playback, and although it needed to analyse my entire library (which took a good ten minutes) to do it, it was worth the wait. My dance compliations are completely gapless, and also play gaplessly on my iPod too.
There are some good, and long awaited updates to iTunes 7, although us people in the UK are unalbe to use its most touted feature, the Movie Store, until Apple manages to get international licenses. Either way, version 7 has some good features and is a good upgrade.