iTunes 11 delayed into 'end of November'

Apple says the major new version of iTunes won't ship to consumers until the end of November. It was originally due in October.

iTunes 11's new interface.
iTunes 11's new interface. Apple

Apple says it needs a little longer to finish up work on iTunes 11.

The software, which adds a handful of new features and a facelift, was previewed at an event last month, and was originally due by the end of October.

Apple now says the software will be out before the end of next month.

"The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right," Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told CNET. "We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface, and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November."

The new software's headlining feature is a visual resign that takes a cue or two from Apple's iOS software, with a focus on album covers that can expand out to show you songs -- both in your library, and other tracks from Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Other features include deeper integration with content stored on iCloud, a new "up next" song feature, redesigned storefronts, and a revamped mini player that lets you search for songs, albums and artists without going back to the full view.

Apple's admission that the software won't be delivered on time bears some resemblance to the notably unspoken delays to last year's iTunes Match feature . That feature, which debuted during last June's developers conference, and was promised by the end of October, took Apple an additional three weeks beyond schedule to get it out to customers.

iTunes has become a decreasingly important aspect of using Apple's portable devices. With the launch of iOS 5 last year, iPods, iPhones and iPads can be set up and used without plugging into a computer, and with iCloud, they can be backed up wirelessly too. These were all functions consumers previously relied on iTunes to do. Meanwhile, Apple has reworked its own versions of these stores right on the devices, where about two thirds of iTunes purchases are made.

As of last month, Apple said it had more than 435 million iTunes accounts set up with 1-Click purchasing, meaning accounts with credit cards or other payment options attached. The storefront itself has a catalog of 26 million songs available for purchase, of which there have been 20 billion purchased by consumers during the past nine years.

Apple's last major iteration of iTunes, version 10, was released in September 2010, and added Apple's music social networking experiment Ping. The company quietly killed that feature off at the beginning of this month, after announcing plans to shut it down in early September. Since version 10, Apple has added additional features like iTunes Match, iTunes in the cloud, and 1080p videos from the iTunes Store.

Here's Apple's demo of the software from its September event:


Updated at 1:45 p.m. PT with additional background.

About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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