Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 7.1 | iLounge Article

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Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iTunes 7.1

Wondering what’s new and interesting in today’s release of iTunes 7.1? Here’s the breakdown.

 

(1) Full-Screen Cover Flow: Our pictures below show the evolution of Cover Flow from iTunes 7.0 to iTunes 7.1. Previously, Cover Flow appeared only in a pane within the iTunes window, as shown in the first picture below. Now a full-screen mode has been added, accessible during both audio and video browsing, with track and volume controls built in so that your computer’s entire screen can be used to page through songs. It’s not quite as evolved as the Album browser on the upcoming iPhone - perhaps that’s coming next?

 

(2) Support for Apple TV: iTunes 7.1 is the first version of the software to include support for the upcoming Apple TV, a wireless device that performs iTunes-synced audio, video, and photos through a widescreen TV. Until Apple TV ships, the specifics of the iTunes/Apple TV connectivity won’t be totally clear, but a new Apple TV Preferences tab lets iTunes look for Apple TVs and either accept or deny their access to the computer’s iTunes library. Interestingly, iTunes 7.1 adds an Apple TV Help option to the Help menu, complete with the screen below, but none of the manuals are yet linked to the Help screen. Expect them around the time of Apple TV’s release later this month.

 

(3) Other Updated Preferences Tabs: The old 7.0 and 7.1 Preferences windows are shown next to each other below. Most of the updates to Preferences are small - we’ll note them here.

 

In addition to AppleTV’s addition as a new tab, General has seen a small shift: the Play Videos option has been moved to Playback, and the Shared Name for your iTunes library has for some reason been moved to General.

 

A new “Ratings for” option has been added to Parental Controls, and this one could be a biggie. Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom all have ratings tags for content - could this be a sign that iTunes Store videos are imminent in these five territories? Notably the United Kingdom has no option for TV ratings; our editor in the United Kingdom notes that TV shows aren’t rated there, but movies are.

 

(4) New Categorization Options: Apple has added a variety of new ways to categorize your content, accessible from the View Options menus for various types of video and audio content.

 

The old View Music is above, the new one is below. New are the “Sort Album,” “Sport Album Artist,” “Sort Artist,” “Sort Composer,” “Sort Name,” and “Sort Show” options. The same options have been added to View TV Shows.

 

iTunes 7.1 now defaults with a revised “Album” category - “Album by Artist.”

 

You can now access a Sorting pane from within iTunes’ Get Info that allows you to add alternate text for the aforementioned categories so that they can be sorted differently than iTunes would normally sort them. If you want The Beatles to be sorted by T rather than B, here’s the place to do it. Then you add Sort Artist to the iTunes library pane and sort by Sort Artist rather than Artist. If this all strikes you as a little too complex for iTunes - wouldn’t a list of rules with checkboxes have been easier? - join the club.

 

(5) Indications of Unwatched Video Content: If you haven’t watched a video yet - something you might care about if you’re planning to synchronize unwatched videos to your Apple TV - the video is marked with a small blue dot off to its left hand side. You can mark videos as “new” or “not new” by right-clicking on them.

 

(6) Secrets? Text strings within iTunes 7.1 suggest several previously unknown details about Apple TV. First, there is apparently a limit of five Apple TVs synchronized to one computer with iTunes. Additionally, there’s an unusual iTunes message warning that “All existing games on the Apple TV (name) will be replaced with games from this iTunes library.” Before you get too excited about that discovery, we also noticed similar references to Nike + iPod and Voice Memos on Apple TV as well - strings of text that may never be used by the program, and simply be duplicates of synchronization messages that pop up when an iPod or iPod nano is connected. As always, we’ll have to wait and see what Apple actually does in the future.

 

(7) Colored iPod shuffle Icons: iTunes now correctly identifies the color of an aluminum second-generation iPod shuffle under the Library and Settings menus.

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Comments

1

What’s this “album by artist” thing? Not sure I understand.

Interesting, the 5 iTV limit, when you can sync with an unlimited number of iPods. Wonder if it has something to do with the wireless nature of iTV?

Posted by mattwardfh in Texas on March 5, 2007 at 6:29 PM (CST)

2

“Album by Artist” was introduced in version 7.0, but now it is the default. It helps to keep albums together based on the album name and the Album Artist field.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on March 5, 2007 at 6:53 PM (CST)

3

It also provides compatability for Windows Media Player in case you happen to have your music also in WMP’s medialibrary (e.g. with MCETunes (http://www.mcetunes.com). Album-artist is WMP’s default sorting method and helps groups compilation albums.

Posted by djr on March 5, 2007 at 7:47 PM (CST)

4

That new blue dot that shows whether a video has been played or not is very welcomed.

However it’s showing most of my videos as new, and I have watched most of them. Oh well.

Posted by kainjow on March 5, 2007 at 7:54 PM (CST)

5

kainjow: I had the same problem with videos.  It is caused by not playing the video to the end, like skipping the credits.  You have to play it to the end for it to show as played.

I hope the blue dot makes it to the iPod as well.  It is hard to tell when I look at a list of a dozen episodes which I have watched and which are still new.  I have this problem when I go on a long trip.

Posted by Chrystopher on March 5, 2007 at 8:11 PM (CST)

6

I wish when you ripped a CD it put the album in the folder for the artist of whom you select “album artist.”  I thought that was supposed to be the point:  if you have one guest artist on a single artist’s album it doesn’t have to be a “compilation.”  However, it seems that this category is only any use for viewing through iTunes.

Posted by superape on March 5, 2007 at 8:43 PM (CST)

7

does it let us have seperate artwork within itunes for a show with more than one season?

Posted by Billabong on March 6, 2007 at 1:34 AM (CST)

8

Jeremy, would you be able to test whether or not the 2GB limit on sharing is still in place? In previous versions, larger movies would be shown as shared, but when you double-clicked them, nothing would happen. This functionality will be crucial for AppleTV and watching longer rips like the Godfather or LOTR.

Posted by mrfett in Washington, D.C. on March 6, 2007 at 2:32 AM (CST)

9

the album by artist thing sorts your library in order of artist, but keeps all albums together, so compilations are either at the bottom, or in alphabetical order according to their album artist. the best part about album by artist, imho, is that within one artist, it groups albums by year, not alphabetically. it just makes so much sense…

Posted by Nuke666 in Melbourne, Austalia on March 6, 2007 at 7:40 AM (CST)

10

ah, woops…the year thing only works if your sort by “album by year” which will appear if you keep clicking the album column header

Posted by Nuke666 in Melbourne, Austalia on March 6, 2007 at 7:44 AM (CST)

11

My main gripe is the burn button…how hard would it be to give us the burn options (audio/mp3) right there? maybe with a mod key, but why have to go to the prefs to make the switch? at least they are now labeling the button with its current format.

Posted by tweakly on March 6, 2007 at 2:27 PM (CST)

12

On Windows they also changed the look of dragging tracks to a playlist from the library. Instead of having a faded version of your list of tracks following the mouse there’s now an MP3 file icon with a starburst in the corner displaying the number of items you’re dragging.

Posted by Horatio Positronic on March 6, 2007 at 4:28 PM (CST)

13

One new feature that “almost” everyone missed in 7.1 is that iTunes is now accessible by sight impaired and blind individuals via VoiceOver on OS X. For the sight impaired community this is huge. In the past, iTunes was completely inaccessible. Kudos for Apple and iTunes. Now the iTunes store is just slightly accessible. With VoiceOver a user can search for items, but all that comes back that is accessible are the individual tracks. When (and I certainly hope it’s when and not if) Apple gets the iTunes store completely accessible, it’s going to be a fantastic resource for the sight impaired community and there will be nothing out there that can hold a candle to it. Believe it or not screen reading software for XP costs in the range of $1000.00 dollars!

Posted by Heart_Man_2000 on March 6, 2007 at 4:44 PM (CST)

14

That’s fantastic news, Heart_Man_2000.  When a developer make thier software more accessible, it tends to make it easier for everyone to use.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on March 6, 2007 at 8:00 PM (CST)

15

This is quite excellent. I spoke with an Apple engineer today and he told me that the iTv was almost ready for shipping and that it is really great, people will like it.

Posted by hisaltesse on March 6, 2007 at 9:23 PM (CST)

16

2GB video sharing limit is gone. good news for us streamers…

Posted by mrfett in Washington, D.C. on March 6, 2007 at 10:52 PM (CST)

17

Also if you’ll go to About iTunes scroll text says “1-Click is registered service mark of Amazon.com Inc.,”.
That wasn’t there before. Or was it?

Posted by Georgeee on March 7, 2007 at 4:34 AM (CST)

18

Wow, being able to define the sort names is *the* most useful thing, I have been waiting for this for years!

BTW, in contrast to what is said above, you don’t have to enable the “Sort Artist” column to be able to sort by that field, sorting by Artist (or “Album by Artist” or “Album by Year”) automatically does the right thing! This is just great!

Posted by palmin on March 7, 2007 at 7:17 AM (CST)

19

I’m just glad that iTunes no longer skips during song playback.

Posted by flatline response on March 7, 2007 at 1:23 PM (CST)

20

any idea on hot to make coverflow work on a pc with a matrox g400 video card?
TNX

Posted by MOMAtteo79 on March 8, 2007 at 6:30 AM (CST)

21

Another new thing is a dialogue box that pops up when you have connected an iPod using a USB 1.1 port, telling you to use USB 2.0 if possible, for better performance.

Posted by K. Pilkington on March 8, 2007 at 3:21 PM (CST)

22

well, the sort artist thing is kinda great, but they did screw up a little with it. There should be a way of applying the changes universally for an artist, rather than having to tag all the song files individually. For example, I want David Bowie to come up under B, and not D. Going through and manually changing 25 albums worth of songs individually, plus all my other solo-artists as well, doesn’t seem very appealing.

Posted by Lawrence Mikkelsen in New Zealand on March 8, 2007 at 10:24 PM (CST)

23

Lawrence - You don’t have to do each song individually to get the artist name to sort like you want.  Just change ONE of the songs to sort the way you want it to, then highlight that very same song you changed and right click on it - you will know have the option to apply the sort criteria to other songs automatically.  In your case you want to select “Apply to same artist”.  That will go through and change all of the sort tags for that same artist to match the one that you did manually.

Posted by d-bone on March 9, 2007 at 12:42 PM (CST)

24

Did anyone else notice that you can browse through Cover Flow by two finger scrolling, both up and down and side to side. This is much like the iPhone Browsing.

Posted by samijo on March 10, 2007 at 12:27 PM (CST)

25

I need parental control for my sons ipod. How do i download these?

Posted by Susan on June 15, 2008 at 6:02 PM (CDT)

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