The brand spanking new version of Apple’s iTunes desktop software has just been released. iTunes 11 can be downloaded from Apple’s website or upgraded within current versions of iTunes. Its arrival is a month later than originally planned — a recent report from the Wall Street Journal said that there were “engineering issues that required parts to be rebuilt” before it could be released to the public.
But the tweaks to the service are going to be very welcome to many. iTunes 11 gets a bit of a makeover on its surface and under the covers to make it look more like the mobile version of iTunes that sits on your iPhone and allow content to better integrate with other Apple devices.
The user interface is revamped with more focus on album cover art and contextual information like the upcoming songs in your queue. The iTunes Store will have personal recommendations for users, artists will have their own dedicated pages on which they can share photos and tour dates with fans. The mini player also has a new look, and the software is more tightly integrated with iCloud: With iTunes 11 users can start watching a video on their Mac in iTunes and pick it up later on an iPad or iPhone in the same spot, and any music, movies or TV shows purchased in iTunes on another device can be re-downloaded from iCloud on the desktop.
For a neat look back at how iTunes’ design has evolved since 2001, be sure to see the retrospective that Ars Technica recently put together.
Update: MacRumors picked up on a cool new previously unannounced feature: you can now redeem gift cards or free codes for the iTunes Store via your computer’s camera.