Steve Jobs is Back, Announces iTunes 9 Out Today

iTunes 9Apple’s Rock and Roll event is still in full swing, but there’s at least one bit of news worth sharing right now. Steve Jobs didn’t just make an appearance at today’s event; he was on stage, announcing the release of iTunes 9, which is available for download today. Obviously it’s good to see him back in good health, and better to have him at these big media events, making announcements.

As for iTunes 9, Apple’s added a lot more features, which means more and more bloating. The software seems to be getting bigger than ever, and I don’t really see that as a good thing. There are some new features, though, that will excite some.

Perhaps the best is Apps Organization, a new tool within iTunes that will allow you to view the app pages on your iPod or iPhone and reorganize them with simple dragging and dropping. As a matter of fact it works a lot like the custom app I wrote about a few weeks back. You can move multiple apps at a time and spring to an app by double-clicking in a scroll menu containing a list of all your apps down the left side. Good stuff.

Another notable feature is iTunes LP, a service that gives you access to all of the trappings of a traditional LP purchase – album art, lyrics, special materials from the artist – in a digital format. Apple will also be adding custom interviews and other special materials to iTunes LP, all viewable within iTunes.

One of the best features with iTunes 9 is home sharing. Yes, I’ve heard the arguments about owning the music you purchase and doing what you please with it. Let’s not rehash that here. Point is, iTunes can now be authorized on 5 computers and those computers can actually copy music between one another with a simple drag and drop. The feature also allows you to view only those songs in a networked library that you don’t have yourself.

As for the less notable features, the iTunes store is getting a redesign and there’s going to be Facebook and Twitter integration for sharing the things you like. Not anything I’m all that crazy about. The iTunes redesign is more of a tweak than a true overhaul and I think we all know how I feel about the social media iTunes will be integrating.

As I write this I’m also working on two other significant Apple updates, so check back often. There’s some disappointing news ahead.

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