Apple has pushed out an updated version of its iTunes media software and introduces support for syncing with the new voice-enabled iPod Shuffle MP3 player.
The software is apparently faster and more responsive, which means that users will notice a substantial improvement in terms of speed when it comes to managing large libraries, browsing the iTunes store or syncing with external devices like the iPhone.
Some users though have pointed out that at the last minute, Apple has apparently pulled out the "Genius" feature for movies and TV Shows. Genius gave control of assembling the playlist to the software based on the user's tastes.
Lifehacker understands that iTunes 8.1 apparently crashed when Genius is enabled or updated, which would explain Apple's decision. Another great feature is iTunes DJ which allows friends to request songs.
This is the first time that Apple is introducing a social feature in one of its desktop applications and could well be taster of what's coming up next. iTunes v8.1 will also rip your audio CDs at a higher bitrate, in the form of the 256Kbps iTunes Plus format.
Apple has also updated the free Remote application that allows your iPhone or iPod touch to be used as a remote control as well as Front Row, Apple's media center software for Macs and the Apple TV.
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Trustedreviews says that compared to Spotify, the iTunes ressembles a tanker. We wouldn't deny it. Apple is notorious for intrusive applications (e.g. AppleMobileDeviceService.exe) that take a lot of space and resources, at least for our taste. That said, we had an overall positive impression during the few minutes that we played with the new iTunes.