Thurrott reviews Apple’s iTunes 7: ‘the best software-based media jukebox I’ve ever used’

“Say what you will about Apple Computer, but there is an undeniable sense of quality to the products they create, whether it’s a sleek Macintosh computer, ultra-thin iPod portable media player, or elegant software like iMovie HD and Keynote. Apple’s products are almost always Spartan in their simplicity, even to the point of alienating some people by leaving out functionality that would crowd and overpower similar PC-based solutions,” Paul Thurrott writes for Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows.

Thurrott writes, “The company’s latest software, iTunes 7, is no different. It is both professional looking and functional, beautiful and rewarding. It is, dare I say so, the best software-based media jukebox I’ve ever used. And if you’re Microsoft, struggling to release Windows Media Player 11 (WMP11), iTunes 7 is a shot across the bow, a reminder that the hardware products and services that Apple wraps around iTunes are the best selling solutions in the market. Clearly, Apple intends to keep it that way.”

Thurrott writes, “iTunes 7 is a major upgrade to my favorite digital jukebox, and with this release, iTunes jumps firmly into Windows Media Player territory: No longer is iTunes a simple digital music player, as it was for the first several major versions. No, iTunes is now an all-in-one digital media management system and a front-end for synchronizing digital music, photos, videos, TV shows, and full-length movies, and podcasts and audio books, with an iPod. It is, quite suddenly, the real digital hub in many millions of people’s lives. And oh my, you’re going to really like this version.”

“I should note at this point that the Windows version of iTunes 7 has been plagued by a number of high profile bugs. Its new visual browsing features seem to tax the PC’s processor more than do previous versions. It takes up more RAM. It crashes occasionally. Given Apple’s behavior in the past, I think we can make a few assumptions here. First, the initial iTunes 7 release is really just a public beta. It will be updated several times in the days ahead. And all those problems people are reporting will begin to disappear,” Thurrott writes. “…I have little doubt, too, that the OS X version of iTunes is vastly superior to the version Windows users get. That shouldn’t surprise anyone.”

Thurrott covers various points in sections titled:
• General UI changes
• Categorized Source pane
• Automatic album art retrievable
• New view options
• Integrated iPod management
• Integrated download manager
• Gapless playback support
• iTunes Backup
• iTunes Store changes

“Apple’s iTunes 7 is the best version of iTunes yet and is, without question, the finest media player on any platform, even when you factor in the problems that are currently dogging the Windows version. That said, I can’t give iTunes a 5-star rating until Apple fixes these problems, because Windows users in particular will be screaming bloody murder–and rightfully so–that Apple would run roughshod over their systems in such a fashion. From a pure usability standpoint, however, iTunes 7 is the best there is, and Microsoft could learn a thing or two from the professional and clean user interface that Apple offers. Windows Media Player 11 may have indeed gotten there first with such things as categorized and visual browsing, but iTunes does them right. And of course, iTunes is 100 percent compatible with the finest portable media players on the planet. There are many reasons why I prefer iTunes over competing solutions, and with iTunes 7, the list has only gotten longer,” Thurrott writes.

Full comprehensive review here.

Related articles:
USA Today reviews new Apple iPod nanos, updated iPods, iTunes 7 (each earns 4 stars out of 4) – September 21, 2006
Apple Support docs address some iTunes 7 issues – September 20, 2006
Disney’s remarkable 1st week iTunes movies sales should have studios clambering aboard Apple train – September 20, 2006
Report: Apple iTunes 7 update coming soon – September 19, 2006
Disney sells 125,000 movie downloads via Apple’s iTunes Store in first week – September 19, 2006
PC Magazine review: iTunes 7 ‘Apple’s best effort yet’ (4 stars out of 5) – September 15, 2006
Apple’s iTunes 7 shows some glitches – September 14, 2006
Analyst: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV model ‘the gold standard for the digital home of the future’ – September 12, 2006
What’s new in Apple’s iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006
Analyst Gartenberg: Apple ‘s iTunes+iPod+iTV ‘will be hard for other players to match’ – September 12, 2006
Apple debuts iTunes 7 – September 12, 2006

43 Comments

  1. My only real problem with the new iTunes is a usabilty one. They’ve removed the bar through which you can refine your library view by podcast, video, music etc. This is OK for your library as a whole since they’ve added those fields to the sidebar area. However this doesn’t apply to playlists. Making it a lot harder to block out videos. I have a lot of playlists that contain videos etc, normally this is fine but sometimes I just want the music from them and don’t want to have to redefine the playlist just for that one time.

  2. I’ve been using 7 on my PC at work for the past week, no problems really. The video does get choppy running at full screen though. I may not have enough video memory due the fact I running 2 monitors.

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