Apple has released iTunes 9, brining with it support for Apple’s new iTunes LP enhanced album format, app organization features, an improved iTunes Store layout, smarter syncing, Genius Mixes, and Home Sharing. iTunes LP is a new enhanced album format that gives users an interactive, DVD-style presentation of the content, including lyrics, photos, writing, videos, and more. The new content will launch on a number of new albums, including Pearl Jam’s upcoming release Backspacer, as well as “Deluxe Edition” reissues of classic albums such as Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan, American Beauty by the Grateful Dead, and The Doors: 40th Anniversary Mixes. An equivalent feature called iTunes Extras will be included with select movies, offering a DVD-style interface with extra features, including (for Wall-E) 3-D set fly-throughs, details on different robots, and more. Continue reading for more on iTunes 9 and for screenshots of the new software.

“iTunes 9 is a great iTunes release, with innovative features that make using iTunes better than ever and iTunes content richer than ever,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iTunes LP, for example, lets artists share more of their creativity with fans and gives music lovers the feeling of being immersed in an entire album with art, lyrics, liner notes, photos and videos.”

iTunes 9 also adds a new application management feature, which allows users to set up pages of apps from their existing application library, move and reorder entire pages of applications, and can of course still change them on their devices. Genius Mixes are an expansion of Genius Playlists, utilizing a “Genius DJ” that creates “endless mixes of songs that go great together”—up to 12 from a media library. When syncing in iTunes 9, users can now choose to sync by artist or genre automatically, in addition to playlists, sync photo Events and Faces in addition to Albums, and automatically sync new purchases of music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and applications. Also new is a feature called Home Sharing, which lets families copy iTunes content to and from 5 authorized computers in their house, using drag-and-drop, and can also auto-sync new music, movie, TV, audiobook, or application purchases across all 5 computers.

Finally, iTunes 9 brings with it a completely redesigned iTunes Store, with a new navigation bar at the top of the Store, providing one-click access to different parts of the store, drop-down menus to dig deeper into different sections of the store, and new artist pages, movie, and TV pages. Users can now preview and buy songs and albums right from the top charts, with easier Quick View and previewing of albums, and a new arrow next to the buy buttons lets users create wishlists, gift albums or songs, and share links on Facebook and Twitter, directly from iTunes. iTunes 9 is available as a free download starting today.

Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.