The release of iTunes 11 could have been a Halloween treat; instead, it turns out an October release date for the completely redesigned music platform was just one big trick by Apple.
We knew something was up when Apple made absolutely no mention of iTunes at its Oct. 23 media event, even though the overhauled music player, according to the company, was set to be released by the end of the month. Well, it turns out there was a reason nobody mentioned iTunes 11 last week: Apple has officially delayed the release of its refurbished music platform until "the end of November."
"The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right," Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told CNET. "We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface, and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November."
Eddy Cue, the company's VP of Internet software and services and now also the point person on Siri and iOS Maps after the removal of Scott Forstall, announced iTunes 11 back at Apple's Sept. 12 media event that saw the introduction of the iPhone 5 and new iPod family.
“The new iTunes will be available in late October,” Cue told the San Francisco audience. “We think you’re going to love it, and we can’t wait for you to get your hands on it.”
Apple completely redesigned iTunes 11 to focus more on the media you want: For instance, the new Library has simplified each multimedia category to make it more intuitive: Click on music, and you can then see your music according to albums, artists and songs. When you click an album, it expands in place as iTunes automatically analyzes the album cover to show off the tracklist, providing a beautifully-themed experience for music lovers. For instance, if most of the album cover is yellow, the expanded tracklist appears in a yellow-tinged block that looks like the album artwork bled into the song titles.
Apple has also implemented a new edge-to-edge design in iTunes 11, which makes album artwork more beautiful and navigation substantially easier and more seamless. Apple has also added a few new features like “Up Next,” which allows users to create and alter music playlists as they go, letting users easily choose which songs they want to hear next and placing them in the new order however they want.
And with easier playlist manipulation and an all-new mini player with built-in search and playlists, the new iTunes is designed to resemble the iOS experience on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
"The iTunes Store has been redesigned for your Mac, PC, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, so it looks and works the same wherever you shop," Apple says on its website. "Easy-to-browse shelves serve up popular music, movies, TV shows, and more. And all the features you know and love are even easier to get to. It’s the best kind of shopping — simple."
Finally, integration with the iTunes Store is also more seamless in iTunes 11. Click on any album and now users will be able to see top tracks from that artist, related tracks from that artist and others, and other related music iTunes listeners have purchased via the store.
iTunes currently offers a catalog of more than 26 million songs, and as of September, Apple customers have purchased 20 billion songs in the last nine years. At Apple's September media event, Cue also said iTunes boasted more than 435 million accounts with credit cards or other payment options attached, which means they can purchase music, movies and TV shows with Apple's successful 1-click purchasing method.
iTunes hasn't seen a redesign since 2010, when iTunes 10 introduced the ill-fated Ping social network. Since then, iTunes has added a few key features including the successful iTunes in the Cloud (200 million users), the $25/year iTunes Match service, and the ability to purchase videos in 1080p HD from the iTunes Store.