Lost in the iPod Nano and Rokr phone shuffle was the latest update to iTunes. Apple iTunes 5.0 does not incorporate a subscription service as some of us suspected, and while there is nothing major to report, the new jukebox client does have some highly useful features that iTunes aficionados will appreciate:
- Interface has a refined look--not major but tighter--more square; elapsed time/total time of track on either side of meter.
- You can now organize playlists in folders.
- Convenient search bar--in your search query, you can hit a tab to find just All/Music/Audiobooks/Podcasts, then Albums/Songs, and so on. You'll see this in Music Store too.
- Microsoft Outlook syncing with iPod--autosyncing out of Outlook and Outlook express (Windows only).
- Smart shuffle--"make it less random" so that you're more or less likely to hear same artist.
- Album reviews--1,000 new iTunes reviews and counting.
- Parental controls--restrict explicit content, disable sharing/podcasts.
- New releases--you can see all new releases using tabbed-based section; we like this a lot.
- For the first time, you can get all of Madonna's albums and songs from an online music source. Originally a foe of digital music, Madonna has now embraced the world of downloads.
- The entire Harry Potter series is now exclusively available on iTunes Music Store as audiobooks.
We would loved to have seen line-in recording as well as an "up next" feature where you could play DJ, but maybe they'll be in version 5.1.