Apple Releases Faster, More Responsive iTunes

Version 8.1 restores some credibility to the Cupertino company this week.

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

Apple also claims it “allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus” which means it has switched the default ripping bitrate from 128kbps to 256kbps – about as cheap an ‘additional feature’ as you can boast. I suggest you crank it up to 320Kbps anyway.

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


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