Review: iTunes 11 is an improvement

I am not an iTunes hater. I know a lot of users complain, and that it’s typically listed as the piece of Apple software that needs the most loving. The new design does quite a bit to make some users happy. There are some users Apple may never try to satisfy.

Focus on the playback

Apple added a lot of playback improvements: syncing, up next, and a new MiniPlayer.

Playback Syncing

One thing that we’d love to see from Eddy Cue is more cloud service muscle flexing. This is one great example.

iCloud now remembers your place in a movie or TV show for you. Whenever you play the same movie or episode from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV, it will continue right where you left off.

So far this feature has worked flawless me for me in testing. I may have to come back to it, but for now I’m impressed in how instantly it recognizes playback location.

Up Next

This is another killer feature. In the MiniPlayer or full app, you can see what’s coming up quickly and easily.

It’s now simple to see which songs are playing next, all from a single place. Just click the Up Next icon in the center display and they’ll instantly appear. You can even reorder, add, or skip songs whenever you like.

I think this is a feature I’ll use often.


The mini player window from iTunes has always felt a little off to me. Most if not all of the things I needed to do were not available. Now, it seems like Apple has nailed the core features you need in the player, and put together an awesome little controller window.

You can now do a whole lot more with a lot less space. In addition to showing what’s playing, MiniPlayer now includes album art, adds Up Next, and makes it easy to search for something new to play—all from a smaller and more elegant design.


So far, I have to tell you that from a listening and playing music perspective iTunes is significantly improved. In truth, if you’d like to go backwards, Apple has made it possible by adding a lot of the sidebars and views to the ‘View’ menu.

There are a number of other features that will take me some time to review: Store, iTunes Match syncing, and the redesign. I can’t tell you if I love or hate the overall new design until I’ve lived in it. My initial impression is positive, but we’ll see if that’s not the Pepsi sip effect.

Joshua Howland

Joshua is a mobile application developer, entrepreneur, and technology enthusiast. He is currently building a company that focuses on educational mobile applications: LearnStack. His favorite posts to write compare companies and products. He loves sports and start ups and talks about them (along with tech) on Twitter (@jkhowland) and his blog (

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