After much waiting, iTunes 11 arrived Thursday as an update for both Mac and Windows.
The software update offers a "completely redesigned" media player, one that will likely take some getting used to for those who have been using iTunes 10 for the past couple years.
In addition to the usual software tweaks (speed, stability, etc.) ideally included in any software update, iTunes 11 sports a couple new features under the hood, not the least of which is a brand-new user interface.
Other elements include a new mini-player, a refreshed instant-playlist tool, an engine to recommended songs you might enjoy and expanded use of Apple's iCloud.
Intrigued? Download the software here.
Click through the slideshow below to see what's new in iTunes 11:
A new set of views that appear to rely more extensively on artwork. (An interface similar to the iTunes of old is still available by clicking the "songs" button). In Apple speak: "iTunes now features simplified views of exactly what you want. Looking for an album? Click Music and that’s all you’ll see. Do the same for movies, TV shows, apps — and everything else. It’s browsing made more intuitive."
Similar to the "queue" in Spotify, "Up Next" allows users to add media to a temporary playlist for iTunes to play through.
Similar to the old mini player, but with expanded functions to match the new functions in iTunes 11. In Apple speak: "We squeezed more features into an even smaller MiniPlayer. Now you can click the Up Next button to see which songs are playing next. And if what you see isn’t what you’re in the mood for, you can search your collection and choose a different song — without having to open your library."
iCloud integration means users can access media they've purchased across the whole family of Apple devices - iPhones, iPads, etc. In Apple speak: "With iCloud, you can access your content on all your devices. And now, when you buy an album, song, movie, or TV show on any device, it’s instantly accessible in your iTunes library on your Mac or PC. Just double‑click to play. Or if you’re going offline — say, taking your notebook on a plane — click the new Download button and bring a copy with you."