iTunes is one of the most popular media players and managers, and with good reason. Seamless integration with iPods, iPhones and iPads, one-click purchasing in the iTunes Store and an excellent library make this a formidable app.
With iTunes 10, the library has been improved with an extra view that adds album artwork where there’s room, instead of the traditional album title next to each song. This smartens up library viewing a lot, and generally underlines the new, clean look of the interface. It’s no revolution, but looks neater. Playlists and iTunes DJ are untouched, and managing your library is as easy as ever. Creating playlists is one of iTunes’ strengths, and it’s still simpler and more user-friendly than the competition.
Syncing iTunes with iPods and other Apple devices is really easy, and there are no longer problems using Mac-formatted devices in iTunes for Windows, or vice versa. Home Sharing is a great way to keep your library across multiple computers at home; it is really easy to set up and means all your computers will automatically have up-to-date libraries.
The biggest change with version 10 is to the iTunes Store. Ping, which is linked to your iTunes account, allows you to create a personal profile and share your purchases and reviews with friends, and artists you like. It looks very much like a basic Facebook News Feed or Twitter, but just about music. At the moment Ping feels underdeveloped. You can’t share your listening habits, like Last.fm, and manual sharing is limited to the iTunes Store, not your own library. There’s no option to share what you’re listening to right now, which is pretty terrible! Ping will surely develop and improve very soon.
The basic library function of iTunes is unparalleled, and syncing with iPods, iPhones and iPads is excellent. iTunes 10’s new social features are interesting, but limited at the moment.