iTunes 8.1 released, list of changes published

On the heels of its announcement of the third-generation iPod shuffle, Apple this evening released iTunes 8.1, a 65.4MB download for Mac users, and a 69.9MB download for Windows PC users. Unusually, a list of the many changes to this new version has been included in the Software Update feature of Mac OS X, noting the following:

“Faster and more responsive, with noticeable improvements when working with large libraries, browsing the iTunes Store, preparing to sync with iPod or iPhone, and optimizing photos for syncing.
Supports syncing with iPod shuffle (3rd generation)
Allows friends to request songs for iTunes DJ
Adds Genius sidebar for your Movies and TV Shows
Improves performance when downloading iTunes Plus songs
Provides AutoFill for manually managed iPods
Allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus
Includes many accessibility improvements
Allows iTunes U and the iTunes Store to be disabled separately using Parental Controls.”

Additional improvements and bug fixes are also included in the release, notably security updates relating to iTunes networked media sharing in the prior PC version of iTunes, and “malicious podcasts” in the prior Mac version of iTunes. Apple’s iTunes download page is available here.

  1. My large library (>550GB) loads TONS faster on my old XP sp2 single core 1.5GB system. Thanks for a useful update! P.S. to the user asking about iTunes DJ, if you’ve used older versions of iTunes before it used to be called Party Shuffle, you can google that for info.

  2. Seems to be an issue right now with accessing the iTunes Store after the 8.1 upgrade, though I’m not sure if it’s iTunes itself, or a network issue on Apple’s part. But I can’t purchase anything (free or otherwise) from the iTunes Music Store!

  3. I must confess that I’ve been having a blast fooling around with this new iTunes DJ feature, what with requests and voting… The requests feature includes input from the Genius function which, next to the ability to request anything from the song library, you also can see Genius’ recommendations on what goes best with the song playing… I can see could become a potential battle at parties – kind of like the neighbors having a TV remote battle in the Spielberg film, “Poltergeist”, if you remember that… 😉

  4. “Allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus.” Actually sets 256 kbps (stereo) as the default. Kind of annoying when Apple were at pains to let us know that their codec sounded better than others at 128 kbps, hence the previous default. I ripped my entire library to match and now it’s lower quality than current purchases on iTunes. Am I obsessing? Or should I just accept it and move on? I guess I get to have more music available on my iPhone/iPod. And truly, I’ve listened and can’t distinguish between 128 and 256 kbps – so there you are, I’ve resolved my own obsession (it doesn’t matter and I have more music on the go). iTunes Plus is just marketing; when will they release son of iTunes Plus at 512 kbps?

    Also, I sync Contacts and Calendars to Outlook which links to my work-based calendar system. Every time iTunes comes out with a new version I have to hope there won’t be problems. At very least, my morning gets wiped out starting and re-staring my computer and then hoping it actually syncs, but you can’t stop progress!

  5. Dominic

    If you can’t hear the difference anyway then don’t worry about it. I personally can hear it but if anything you can rip newer songs at the higher bit rate, just don’t try to re-encode the tracks you have to a higher bit rate cause it won’t work right. Just leave them alone.

  6. Yes. They finally fixed the worst issue with podcasts ever. Before, when you download a podcast while watching one simultaneously, the one you are watching will lag for about 5 seconds when the download is done. I don’t care about most other new features, this made iTunes 8.1 an exciting update for me.

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