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Apple releases iTunes 11 following delay

After a brief delay, Apple has now released the latest version of its music software, iTunes 11.

The revamped iTunes is available via the download link on Apple's iTunes website, or via the "check for updates" option on the desktop version of the software.

When you first sign in, Apple will ask you for permission to "share details about your library with Apple to see artist images, album covers, and other related information in your library."

To access music, you can click the "Music" icon on the top left and sort by songs, albums, artists, genres, or videos using the menu that sits along the top of iTunes 11.

The new version gets rid of the old left-hand bar; playlists and radio now appear in that top menu, while other options - movies, TV shows, podcasts, and access to devices and shared libraries - are accessible via a drop-down menu underneath the "Music" icon.

To buy new music, click the "iTunes Store" link on the top right.

The updated iOS iTunes Store includes Facebook integration and the ability to preview songs while browsing. There's also a completely redesigned interface, as well as improved performance and search results.

The new desktop iTunes includes an edge-to-edge design. Click on an album and it expands in place, with a ghost album cover in the background. Song list view and playlists are still available, but you will be able to see both lists simultaneously for the first time, and more easily re-arrange songs. The software will also now include a "mini player."

The revamped iTunes was originally scheduled to go live by the end of October. But Apple said several weeks ago that at it needed a few more weeks because "we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right."

Apple showed off iTunes 11 at its iPhone 5 event in early September, as well as a refreshed version of the iTunes Store for iOS, which has been live for some time. There was some speculation that Apple might release iTunes 11 at its recent iPad mini event, but the company stuck to tablets and Macs.