Hands-on with iTunes 9.0: Bright and roomy

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Once upon a time you dressed so fine, went out to the record store, and bought your albums. Those days are no more, although iTunes wants you to think otherwise. That’s why they added a few new features to add a little bit of that old record store attitude to the boring process of downloading tunes. Introducing iTunes 9.0 – it’s bright, it’s shiny, and it’s kind-of-sort-of new.

The first thing you’ll notice about the new iTunes is the clarity of the new user interface. First, everything is white. The backgrounds are bright and clear and the new iTunes Store carries this UI aesthetic into the shopping experience. The icons are cheery and a little more “open” and friendly.

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As for functionality, we’re not looking at much. I haven’t found the Facebook integration yet but I did try the new LPs and was impressed. The LP I bought, Highway 61 Revisted by a young man named Robert Dylan (I think he’s opening for MGMT this year) included three videos and a number of alternate takes of the album material. Was it worth $16.99? Sure. You got the liner notes, written by Mr. Dylan, and a sense that you’re buying something more. Does it replace the LP experience? No. It’s a value add and may not be worth it for some.

Home Sharing essentially turns any computer into an Apple TV with full cross-syncing capabilities, a nice way to share your music with other computers.

Otherwise, we’re looking at a facelift and an a bit more media content in albums. It’s free, it’s available now, and it’s just like Snow Leopard: a few pieces of steak but not much sizzle.

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