So yeah, iTunes 5 is out. I’ve given it a spin on both the Mac and the laptop, so here’s my rundown:
- The new search feature is nice. I don’t know how much I’ll use it but I suppose if you have a huge iTunes library it might be handy. incidentally the toolbar that pops up is standard across many Mac apps in Tiger, and a find tool that works in a similar way to the iTunes tool is integrated into all of the open/save dialogs.
- Parental Controls
- Not a parent so this doesn’t really interest me. You can use it to block access to the music store or podcast menu, or to allow access but block out an ‘explicit’ content, in case you’d prefer that your child didn’t learn how to pimp ho’s and crash some charlie from his/her homies, yo. You can also disable music sharing so that you can hide all those naughty songs on your computer and keep your offspring all sweet and innocent. The settings can be locked using an administrator account and the feature works much the same on both platforms.
- Windows synchronisation
- Until now Windows users with iPods have been unable to use iTunes to automatically synchronise their contacts and calendar (though Apple’s use of open standards has meant that an array of third-party tools have appeared offering this already). The Windows version can now synchronise with Outlook or Outlook Express. But not Thunderbird. Which makes it a bit useless for me. The Mac version also doesn’t support Entourage, or Thunderbird, or any mail client other than Mail, really.
- The Interface
- Let me make this clear: I’m not a fan of the new interface in iTunes 5. I liked the brushed-metal look of the 4.x series that is common with many other Mac apps, however Apple have changed it. It’s still metallic, but not brushed, and more squared-off. I suppose there’s less ‘wasted’ space in the new version but it also looks a bit more cramped now, and doesn’t really match in with any other Mac app I’ve tried – Camino is probably the only exception, and that’s not even an Apple product. It looks a bit better on Windows, where image is less of an issue, but I still don’t like the integration of the menu bar into the title bar. Still, the new look makes little sense when you consider that Apple have just officially launched QuickTime 7.x for Windows which looks almost exactly like iTunes 4.x. Dave2 agrees with me with regards to the interface though . I suppose it’s up to personal preference, really, but I’d prefer the 4.x look back.
- Didn’t see this until Dave2 pointed it out, but you can now add lyrics to a file. And as Dave says, it’s only going to be a matter of time before someone writes an app that adds the lyrics in automatically.
- QuickTime 7
- The Windows bundle includes QuickTime 7, hence the huge size of the download. It is nice but what I don’t like is how Apple has added all the options that would appear in QuickTime Pro, but greyed them out. However, because Apple have used their own menu-drawing code, instead of the native Windows code (which they do use in iTunes), you can actually click on these options, even though they’re greyed out, and get a QuickTime Pro sales pitch. That said, the interface is nicer, as is the QuickTime control panel, though I still wish it wouldn’t set it to run on startup every frickin’ time I upgrade them damn thing. No means no, alright? Same with the Quick Launch icon.
While I’m in a general Apple-style area, I have to say I’m impressed with the iPod Nano’s pricing. In the UK it’ll be £139 – the same as a 4GB iPod Mini (which you can still buy from the Apple store if you search for it). Sure, you only get 2GB instead of 4GB, but you do get a colour screen, the ability to view photos, a couple of extra applets like a world clock, and a device that is about 1/3rd of the size. The 4GB iPod Nano is £179, or £10 more than the 6GB iPod Mini. If I had some spare cash, I’d probably consider the 2GB model but right now I’ll bottle up my envy and stick with my Mini.