In response to the arrival of the new (minimalism taken too far) iPod shuffle Apple has kicked out a new version of iTunes and it's actually not half bad...
"iTunes 8.1 is now faster and more responsive," admitted the company, which at least showed it has got one priority right this week. "You will enjoy noticeable improvements when working with large libraries, browsing the iTunes Store, preparing to sync with iPod or iPhone, and optimizing photos for syncing."
On top of this speed boost and the usual bunch of bug fixes, iTunes 8.1 also includes:
- Supports syncing with iPod shuffle (3rd generation) - naturally
- Friends to request songs for iTunes DJ
- Adds Genius sidebar for your Movies and TV Shows
- Improves performance when downloading iTunes Plus songs
- Provides AutoFill for manually managed iPods
- Includes many accessibility improvements
- Allows iTunes U and the iTunes Store to be disabled separately using Parental Controls
Still, in my limited time with iTunes 8.1 it does feel noticeably faster and sync times have certainly dropped from horrendous to reasonable. That said, it does still feel like driving an oil tanker compared to Spotify...