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iTunes 7.5

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iTunes icon Apple took the liberty to release a new version of their OS, and they’ll also start selling their iPhones in some additional countries this week (necessitated by the device’s lock-down), so an iTunes update was somewhat in the air. And, hooray!, we got iTunes 7.5.

Ringtones entry in the German source list Changes seem to include ‘support’ for Apple’s user-hostile ring tone scheme in non-English versions now. Leaving me with a ‘Klingeltöne’ item in iTunes source list when first launching the updated iTunes. And that although there is no such ring tone in my iTunes library, nor will there be one, nor has my iTunes ever encountered a device that could use them. Visual diarrhea.

More subtly, iTunes’ look changed yet again. Quite possibly to better fit in with MacOS X.5. The window texture has a different shade and apparently the coloured plus-minus-times buttons for controlling windows are a better match now. Furthermore, there are slight changes to selected button’s glow and there are distinct graphics for inactive buttons now. It’s not exactly an obvious change. Spot the difference below and tel me right away which half of the image is from iTunes 7.5:

Comparing iTunes 7.5 and iTunes 7.4.2. windows side by side.

Comparing iTunes 7.5 and iTunes 7.4.2 buttons side by side

Another extremely welcome improvement is that Apple finally implemented an improved editor for smart playlists. So far the editor was limited by the screen’s size, letting you only realistically edit as many criteria for the smart playlist as your screen could accomodate with the window just extending off the bottom of the screen once you had ‘too many’ criteria. This made creating and maintaining smart playlists with many conditions (e.g. to display songs of all bands playing at a festival) frustrating if not infeasible. But luckily iTunes’ engineers discovered scrollable views now and improved things considerably with that:

iTunes 7.5 Smart Playlist editor

Of course this remains imperfect because the smart playlist editor is still a modal dialogue. But I can live with that as I don’t edit smart playlists all that often. However, it’s a bit more of a problem that Apple apparently failed to actually test their changed UI and its localisations once again. Quite obviously, in the screenshot above, the smart playlist is set to match all conditions, i.e. to only contain songs which satisfy the absurd condition of being by all those bands at once. Which was odd because I specifically created the playlist to contain all the bands listed, i.e. the songs matching any of the conditions. A quick test revealed that the popup menu doesn’t seem to be wired to the application at all. Useless.

Apart from that iTunes now seems to be signed now, presumably for some smoother action or updates in X.5 (although I’m not really sure which feature of iTunes would currently benefit from that). At least in the way Apple currently present this technology it has a certain promise of making applications less painful to update. For some strange reason I also had the updated iTunes skip once during playback – which at least for Mac OS X.4 I consider to be highly unusual. Let’s hope that was just a glitch of the system rather than a change in the application.

Other observations (added later on): iTunes now warns you if you are dropping tracks on a playlist that already exist in that playlist. It gives you the ability to skip the duplicate tracks which could be handy. • A change which I would have expected in the light of Mac OS X.5 and Time Machine is a change of the library format to split it into smaller files to reduce the space wasted by repeated backups of the iTunes library. After all, you’ll end up with hourly copies of that multi-dozen MB file hourly by only listenting to music curently.

November 5, 2007, 23:43

Tagged as iTunes.


Comment by g: User icon

In the preferences, the iPhone option is now called syncing, with a choice of several iPods or iPhones that could be synced or as they call it, “backed up”. I think this is new and somewhat better.

November 7, 2007, 9:46

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