If you told people in the 50’s that they’d be able to bring their music with them and listen to it on personal devices, they would ask you which science fiction novel you had been reading and that you have your head in the clouds.  And you know what?  They would be right.

This is rapidly becoming the age of “the cloud”.  So…what is the cloud?  It is a simple idea that you can access hardware and software resources (files) through a network, allowing you to have more resources available to you than are on the device you are operating.   For example, you could have access to tens of thousands of films, songs, and images from one computer or phone.

Enter the theme for iTunes 11! 

With its newest iteration of the iTunes music player, Apple has begun to slowly take steps toward all of your music being held in the cloud.  Let’s take a closer look at the new iTunes 11:

Look and Feel:

This version of iTunes has the same data you are used to, reorganized in a more intuitive way.  When you open the application up you will immediately notice the lack of a left side bar.  This clears up the viewing space for more albums.  All albums are organized alphabetically with full cover art being displayed.  Once an album is clicked on, the songs actually open below the album with a pop open menu that is seamlessly integrated in to the interface.  This means there are no more “levels” of song selection.  You always have all your music in front of you.  When looking an album, there is also and option to see related media in the iTunes store.  This is a fantastic feature when looking for similar artists.

Playlists That Play Well:

In the past, playlists seemed to be very dodgy.  A song couldn’t quite be dragged to any given playlist if it were too far down on the screen.  Also, playlists wouldn’t sort properly.  Those days are over.

The moment media is selected and dragged anywhere, the playlist menu pops up on the right portion of the screen.  The song or album you have selected will automatically be loaded to the playlist you move it to, or a new one will be created if you drag it to an empty portion of the screen.  Most importantly, you can sort by “nothing” as default option, giving the ability to drag items in any order you so choose.

In The Air:

Upon signing in to your iTunes account and opening your music library, it won’t take long to realize that the media being displayed consists of every single song, movie, and App you have ever purchased through the iTunes Store.  This is incredibly useful.  All tracks can be listened to on the fly from the cloud or downloaded to your local computer with the click of a button, specifically the cloud picture on the top right hand portion of the song logo or to the right of the title.  This is fantastic if all of your media was purchased on iTunes and you do not want your whole collection taking up valuable hard drive space.  It will also help you become reacquainted with all those Ke$ha tracks you downloaded and then deleted before your friends came over…but no one is judging.

Worth The Update?

Yes!  This iteration of iTunes is a fantastic improvement from the previous version of iTunes.  It seems iTunes 11 is the first that uses cloud technologies as its central function.  The one-level music browsing experience allows for easy navigation.  The “View in iTunes Store” is actually enticing as it offers ideas for other music and media related to the content that is currently being viewed.  This can lead to new song discovery and an enriched listening experience.

So get your head into the cloud!  Go download your copy of iTunes 11 for Windows and Mac OS here.