iTunes 8 : Review and Impressions

iTunes 8 was released yesterday at Apple’s Lets Rock Event. iTunes 8 is the first ever major Version upgrade this year. There’s have been countless iTunes 7.xx iterations.

iTunes 8 offers some major upgrades and some pretty interesting features.

Some Major Changes and Improvements iTunes 8 offers are :

1. Grid View :

As the name suggests, this view shows all your Music and Videos organized in form of a Grid. This indeed looks pretty amazing as seen in the screenshot below. The Media can be grouped by Albums, Artists, Genres or Composers. The Album Art Size can be adjusted via the Slider at the top right, using this the no of objects per line can be adjusted.

Music can be played simply by Hovering over the Album Image. When you mouse over, a small Play Icon appears. When that Album is selected, the Genius Feature automatically shows up related Media in the Genius Sidebar.

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As seen in the above image, when you mouse over Akon’s Konvicted, a small Play Icon appears and upon Selecting that Album, related Songs and Recommendations are automatically shown in the Genius Sidebar at the right !

2. Genius :

Genius feature is one of the main highlight of iTunes 8. Apple maintaining its standards has done a pretty impressive job again with Genius service.

What this Genius service does is that it creates a Playlist Automatically, estimating your likings ! When you select a Single Song and Click on Genius Icon, it will automatically create a New Genius Playlist grouping SImilar Songs together. The Genius SideBar will show you suggestions about Songs from iTunes Store which go with the current song.

When you Start Genius for the first time, iTunes will collect information about your Library and send that information to iTunes. iTunes will analyze that information and provide you with recommendations that match your taste.

Apple says this Service will improve with time. As more and more people send their data, more refined Genius Playlists will be created.

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Click to Enlarge

As seen in the above screenshot, this Playlist was automatically created based upon the Song “How to Save a Life by Fray”. Songs similar to this are grouped from your Entire Library and showup as a Playlist. You can also Save the Playlist.

Notice that the Genius Sidebar shows related Songs which you don’t have from the iTunes Store everytime you select any Song.

3. HD Shows :

Apple will now provide all of its TV Shows in 720p HD Format. However these will be priced slighted higher at about $2.99 each !

The Videos can be streamed directly to your TV using Apple TV.

Typical file size for a 1 Hr TV show is about 1.5 Gb. If you purchase a HD Show, it will also include a SD Version of it. So the total size it’ll take will be ~1.5Gb for the HD Show and ~500Mb for teh SD Version, taking up in total around 2Gb per show !

4. New Visualizations :

Apple has also included a new Visualizer called Magnetosphere which was a previously available Plugin by artist Robert Hodgin.

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Click to Enlarge

5. Some other Changes and Final Impressions :

A few other noticable changes when I felt were considerable smoother Browsing through CoverFlow Mode, Adding new Media is much faster and overall some minor performance upgrades have been done.

All in all, iTunes 8 is surely a MUST Download (even if you don’t have an iPod) just for its Genius Service ! Apple has indeed done a good job this time.