Steve Jobs launches iTunes 9.0 to "mixed" reviews

Steve Jobs revealed himself to us yesterday, renting the veil that covered the new iTunes 9.0. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers testify to the new Apple covenant, but some of them get led astray, blaspheming as they go.

By Richi Jennings. September 10, 2009.

Your humble blogwatcher has selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention FPS with real guns...

Chris Foresman summarizes iTunes 9:

Steve Jobs took the stage today ... [and] unveiled iTunes 9, which sports a number of refined syncing options and automatic Genius playlists. The updated iTunes also supports some new refinements to the iTunes store itself, including new iPhone ringtones, the rumored iTunes LP format (aka Cocktail), iTunes Extras for movies, and a refined store organization.

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The most sought-after syncing feature, though, is a built-in way to organize iPhone apps right in iTunes. Apps can be arranged by genre, sorted onto separate screens, and even entire screens can be re-arranged right in iTunes. The whole arrangement can then sync to your iPhone or iPod touch. ... There are two major new content formats: iTunes LP and iTunes Extras. iTunes LP, the result of the "Cocktail" project, gives album buyers access to a variety of additional content. ... iTunes 9 introduces a number of additional sharing features. In particular, the Home Sharing feature lets a user share purchased content with up to five computers. ... Will also allow you to post updates to Twitter or Facebook about songs or movies you are watching.
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Ed Oswald enumates:

iTunes 9 contains a few significant enhancements, so lets run through them.

  • Improved Syncing: ... Many of us have iPods smaller than our music collections, so Apple’s enhancements here should help. ...
  • Home Sharing: ... allows a user to copy media on up to five computers. ...
  • iTunes LP: ... Just like your old LPs, these packaged deals would include extras, including cover art, lyrics, videos and the like.
  • Social Media: As rumored, you can share “Wish Lists” to Facebook and Twitter.
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Marcus Yam delves deeper:

Those who love music and opt to buy full albums can enjoy iTunes LP, which basically packs in additional materials on top of the music tracks, such as liner notes, videos, photos, artwork and other things.

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A similar sort of thing is available for movies as well, called iTunes Extra, which include extras much like the special features on DVDs. ... iTunes 9 is available immediately as a free download at www.itunes.com.

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John Herrman likes the new features:

The software's getting some pretty fantastic new functionality ... media sharing, at least on your local network: You can copy songs, movies, and TV shows to up to 5 authorized computers, or simply stream them. This is pretty huge, and a definite about-face for Apple, which has been slowly stripping out sharing functionality from iTunes from the beginning.

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On the iPhone/iPod front, now you can rearrange and manage apps from within iTunes, which was one of those stupid-simple feature upgrades people (and by people, I mean we) have been clamoring for for months. Apple's version of the app manager is better thought out than the concepts we've seen before, which were already droolworthy. Apps can be dragged and dropped, either alone or in groups, and selectively synced. Awesome.
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But Devin Coldewey throws rocks in his glass house:

Tips the scales at 88MB. All this in what is essentially the only music player on OS X. At some point enough is enough, and for me it was enough years ago. For god’s sake, Apple, all I want to do is play my music. For years Apple has been adding to iTunes, and while some improvements have been welcome, many have simply added to the bloat. It’s time — way past time, really — for Apple to put out something lightweight and basic.

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I’ve seen forums where people recommend running Winamp in a virtual machine to save RAM! We’re in a gilded cage, fellow Mac users, and unlike the iPhone’s gated and patrolled garden of mobile delights, it’s not one you should be satisfied with. Many Mac users chime in angrily whenever I have the nerve to mention bloat in a precious, perfect Apple product. Is it really such a stretch of the imagination to believe that some people might just want to play their music, or perhaps organize and browse it differently from how iTunes lets you?
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Meanwhile, Dieter Bohn breaks the (inevitable) bad news for Palm Pre users:

The big question on everybody's mind: does it break Palm Pre Sync? Pre users in this thread are downloading now and the verdict is yes, Palm Pre Sync appears to be busted.

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It's an open question whether or not Palm will be able to re-enable sync, but that webOS 1.2 "Delay" won't seem like a bad thing if it means Palm will be able to slip a fix in. Meanwhile, you can choose to not upgrade iTunes or, like most of us here at PreCentral, switch to DoubleTwist, Salling Media Sync, or the Missing Sync.
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So what's your take?

Get involved: leave a comment.

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

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