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.