Apple Improves iTunes 9 With Syncing, Visual Enhancements

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Apple released its ninth version of iTunes, which comes complete with improved navigation, better syncing capabilities for iPhone and iPod Touch, and an array of visual enhancements.

The new iTunes 9 offers copious enhancements to iTunes' look and functionality, which The Wall Street Journal lauded as more intelligent, more accessible and easier to use than its predecessor.

One enhancement is a spate of new syncing features that allows users to more easily sync music and video from their computer to their iPhone and iPod, and organize all the apps on their iPhone or iPod Touch, right into iTunes.

Another general iTunes improvement is the new Home Sharing feature, which gives users an easier way to organize apps on their iPhone or iPod Touch by allowing users to copy song files shared from one computer to another. The Home Sharing feature allows users to look into the shared library on another computer, select the song, movie or audio book file that they want copied, and then drag it into their own iTunes library. The Home Share function can be configured to automatically transfer new media purchased on another shared computer to their library, but doesn't delete the original media file on the owner's computer. However, the function only lets users browse iTunes libraries of up to five computers.

Apple also launched an array of visual enhancements with iTunes LP, a feature which allows users to download select albums accompanied by visually stimulating interactive art, in an attempt to replicate LP record albums of yesteryear. The artwork also comes with liner notes, performance and artist photos, and other design features once associated with record albums.

iTunes 9 also now displays an exact visual representation of users' iPhones and iPod Touch screens on their computer, which users can rearrange with the mouse.

In the new iTunes, users can create up to 12 Genius Mixes with a Pandora-like function that allows them to find a series of songs that mix well from their iTunes library, and then automatically create multiple mixes that play repeatedly.

Other improvements include features that allow users to save the iTunes Store items they want to buy later in a new wish list, or buy ringtones of songs directly from the iTunes Store on their iPhone while assigning a specific song to a contact.

The iTunes Store even received a facelift, complete with a redesigned interface and improved navigation throughout the site. Along with movies, users will have access to special features they can download in their iTunes libraries, such as interviews , trailers or images.

The new iTunes 9 is available as a free download here.

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