Apple released a minor update to iTunes last week (11.0.3), with, uncommonly, tweaks to a couple of features that are very welcome. The first I want to point out is the MiniPlayer:
I like the new MiniPlayer, but was critical of the lack of a progress bar in my review of iTunes 11 for Macworld. As you can see above, there is now a slim progress bar at the bottom of the window. By default, it shows the time remaining in your current song; click on the time to toggle through the elapsed time and the total time of the song.
Another new feature in the MiniPlayer is the merging of what I like to call the “artwork player,” a window that would display when you clicked on the album art thumbnail of the currently playing track. If you hover over the artwork thumbnail, you’ll see arrows showing you that clicking will expand this thumbnail. Click on the thumbnail to see the following:
The new artwork player is very nice. You can keep it on your screen, and it will change artwork as your music changes; just hover your cursor to display the controls.
I’m liking the MiniPlayer a lot more now. I’ve been keeping it visible since iTunes 11, but these two new features now make it perfect.
Posted: 5/20/2013 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 1 Comment »
Apple has released iTunes 11.0.2, an incremental update to the latest version of iTunes, and states that:
This update adds a new Composers view for music…
Interestingly, it took a while to find where this new view is. A “view” is a way of viewing your media files, and you select views by clicking in the navigation bar above the content section of your window. Seeing nothing about Composers there, I went in search of more information. Several web sites mentioned displaying the Composer column in Songs view, and sorting that way (and one Twitter follower told me that’s what it was), but that has been in iTunes for donkey’s years.
It turns out that while Apple added this new view, it’s turned off by default. To activate it, go to the General preferences, and check Show Composers in the View section.
It’s odd that Apple would announce something new, yet have it disabled by default, but if you’ve been scratching your head trying to find this feature, it’s just a few clicks away.
Composers view is quite stark compared to the other views in iTunes 11. There is no album art next to the composers’ names, and there is no All Composers entry at the top, as there is All Artists and All Albums, for example. Just a long list of names. As if Apple didn’t think that composers’ names were worth illustrating, in the way they illustrate other content lists in iTunes.
In any case, it’s good to see that Apple is making a small concession to classical music fans. Viewing music by composer is one way I choose which classical music I want to listen to.
Posted: 2/20/2013 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 6 Comments »
The initial release of iTunes 11 had a bug with compilation albums where, in Albums view, they would not display Various Artists, but rather the name of the artist of the first track on the album. This has been fixed; now compilations show Various Artists in Albums view.
Posted: 12/14/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 5 Comments »
Apple has released an update to iTunes (version 11.0.1) which fixes a number of performance issues, notably the abysmally slow searching in the initial version of the program. The update also brings back the Find Duplicates command, which was, apparently, forgotten in the initial release. If you were disappointed in searching with iTunes 11, download this update and try again. For me, the searches that took more than 30 seconds with the initial release are nearly instantaneous now.
It’s worth noting Apple’s description of the update:
This update to the new iTunes addresses an issue where new purchases in iCloud may not appear in your library if iTunes Match is turned on, makes iTunes more responsive when searching a large library, fixes a problem where the AirPlay button may not appear as expected, and adds the ability to display duplicate items within your library. This update also includes other important stability and performance improvements.
The fact that it mentions “searching a large library” shows that Apple does, indeed, care about those of us with large music collections.
Posted: 12/14/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 11 Comments »
With the arrival of iTunes 11, classical music fans – and anyone with a large music library – have lamented the removal of certain features and views that help organize large amounts of music. I touched on some of these in my extensive review of iTunes 11 for Macworld, and in my discussion of iTunes 11 on the Macworld podcast. But I would like to summarize here the problems that iTunes 11 has brought specifically to classical music listeners.
First, there is no Composers view. In the iTunes window, you can view your music by Songs, Albums, Artists Genres and Playlists, but Composers has been forgotten.
Next, the Column Browser has been removed. This was a very practical way of viewing your library by drilling down from, say, Genre to Composer to Album. Previously, the Column Browser was available either on the top of a window or on the left side, allowing for two different ways of viewing music. It’s still available, but only in one view: Songs. The Songs view is sterile and hard to use, because there is no artwork displayed, and because there is no visible separation between albums.
Album List view was also removed. This allowed users to display a list of their music with album art, and the artwork delimited each album, making it easy to spot an album at a glance. Also, this list view would display whichever columns a user wanted to see, and users could sort by any column, such as Date Added, Composer, Artist, Album, etc. The new Albums view only shows track names, ratings and times, and sort options are limited.
In the iTunes Store, there is no longer a Composer column when you view an album. So if you see a recording with several works of the same name, but by different composers, there’s no way of knowing which is which, if you want to buy one or several tracks of work by a specific composer.
And in the iTunes Store, the Power Search feature was removed. You could use this to search for items by multiple criteria, including composer. If you were looking for an album with a work by a specific composer, played by a specific artist, this was a practical way to find it.
iTunes is clearly targeted at those listeners who consume songs, not those who collect classical music, or who have large libraries. But what chagrins me is that it would have been simple to keep the above features; they don’t specifically clash with the overall interface. Their removal makes iTunes much harder to use with classical music, and with large libraries. I can only hope that Apple makes some changes so those users who need these features can feel comfortable with the program.
Posted: 12/7/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: classical music, iTunes | 31 Comments »
If you’re an iTunes user, you should read my extensive review of iTunes 11 for Macworld. I look at what’s good and what’s not, and give the lowdown and whether it’s worth upgrading.
You can also hear me talk about iTunes 11 on the Macworld podcast with Christopher Breen. We discuss “the ups and downs of iTunes 11.”
Posted: 12/5/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 3 Comments »
Remember the album art pane at the bottom-left of the iTunes window, in previous versions of iTunes? Well, iTunes 11 removed that. I’ve heard from a lot of people who used that pane to add album art to their tracks.
You can still add art from the Info window: select one or more tracks, press Command-I, then paste or drag the artwork to the Artwork well, for multiple tracks, or the Artwork tab, for single tracks.
But I spotted something interesting; another way to add album artwork. If you drag a graphic to the iTunes LCD – that’s the display at the top of the window, showing which track is playing – iTunes will add the graphic to the currently playing track.
It won’t add art to multiple tracks, if you’ve selected them, and it won’t let you add multiple graphics, but if you want to change artwork for a single song, while it’s playing, it’s a quick way to do so.
Posted: 12/4/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 5 Comments »
Searching iTunes 11 is abysmally slow if you have a large library (mine has 65,000 tracks). So slow that it’s astounding. I made a screencast showing how slow it is. Note that, on my Mac, the cursor changes to a beachball; I couldn’t capture the beachball on video, so you’ll have to use your imagination.
The video below is in real time. Honest. Note that at the beginning, when I say “I just typed “Shake,” that’s when I typed the letters; it takes 30 seconds for them to show up…
I’m running these searches on a late 2010 Mac mini, with a 2.7 GHz Core i7 Processor, 16 GB RAM and an SSD (which is holding the iTunes library files, not the media files).
Update: Following a suggestion from a commenter (see below), I checked in another library I have for another user account. It has about 37,000 tracks, and the same search I tried in this video – “Shake” – took about 8 seconds in that library. So there’s clearly a scaling issue. 8 seconds is still too long; anything that beachballs is too long in my opinion, but it’s something I could live with.
Update 2: The iTunes 11.0.1 update fixes the search speed problem described above.
Posted: 12/4/2012 by kirk | Filed under: Apple & Mac OS X, iPod & iTunes Tags: iTunes | 27 Comments »