Apple unveils iTunes 12 beta, brings much needed improvements

The flat design has been around for quite some time now, but had only recently came to iOS devices when 7.0 shipped last year. Although the Mac OS X desktop interface hasn't changed much, it's going to receive many of the aesthetics from iOS 7.0 when OS X 10.10 "Yosemite" is released this fall. Of course, iOS and OS X are not the only Apple products that are expecting some improvements. Following the iOS 8 and OS X "Yosemite" beta updates that was released today, the company unveiled the new iTunes 12 beta that brings some visual changes, as well as an anticipated feature.

The beta build of iTunes features a flatter design, similar to what we have seen in "Yosemite," and much less surprising, is only available for users with a developer preview of the unreleased OS. Apple has also simplified the experience even more by reorganizing the buttons for Music, Movies, Apps, etc, while hiding some of the lesser-used options. Along with the new design, Apple has added the Family Sharing program, which allows up to six family members to share content, as long as they use the same credit card information. This is great news for users that do not wish to purchase their favorite content again for use on other accounts.

It seems that Apple is headed in the right direction by rolling out a more simplified interface with a streamlined design across all of their platforms. With all of the improvements being made to iTunes 12 and OS X, it looks like  "Yosemite" could prove to be a hit when it launches this fall.

Source and images: AppleInsider  

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been using this application for a day, its incredibly difficult, convoluted. Everything is more difficult than the previous version. I want my side bar back. iTunes is not on a touch phone its a desktop, this was written by people who care more about demos than an actually useful application.

I hate using windows media player for playing music itunes is easy to use, and if i am not using that i am using foobar 2000. wmp needs to step up the game with dynamic playlists like itunes has. Apple needs to stop shooting themselves in the foot by trying to launch their own proprietary versions of everything and get back more app support. Iphones need to start implementing more features to old phones and stop locking old phones out of features. I had the iphone 4 when it launched on verizon to only be screwed by apple when the 4s came out with support for siri. Was it a feature that I needed? no. But I would of loved to play around with it. With windows phone 8, I have never had that problem.

does the 'much needed improvement' part include not being the most ghastly piece of software that I have ever used and which, every time Apple claim they have improved it, makes me feel ever more like throwing my iPhone against a wall so it stops working.

You guys can have all the fun you want because I'll stick with my NON-proprietary media player and portal that isn't baked in to the OS. J.River Media Center on Windows RULES. And it's soon to RULE on Macs too. :-) (Oh and it's not for the freeloaders because it cost $50, and version upgrades cost $20).

JoshDouble said,
So you run a $50 iTunes clone on your proprietary OS? :)

You're not funny, and obviously you've never run J. River Media Center. I have multiple libraries on mine, tens of thousands of songs and it opens instantaneously. Superb video support, and it's very customizable. Supports WASAPI and ASIO, plays flac audio (of course, Apple wouldn't allow that since they came up with their own proprietary codec) and just about anything else you throw at it. Can iTunes do even a small percentage of what JRiver Media Center can do? I've used them both, and have to say no. There's no comparison whatsoever. And please don't mention the Windows Media Player won't play FLAC audio. You can easily get a plug in for it. Can you do the same for iTunes?

Yup. JRiver MediaCenter rocks!! Best $50 I ever spend on media software! :-D

@Josh: download a trial, and start using it for a month, come back and tell us if you still like iTunes ;-P

devHead said,

You're not funny, and obviously you've never run J. River Media Center. I have multiple libraries on mine, tens of thousands of songs and it opens instantaneously. Superb video support, and it's very customizable. Supports WASAPI and ASIO, plays flac audio (of course, Apple wouldn't allow that since they came up with their own proprietary codec) and just about anything else you throw at it. Can iTunes do even a small percentage of what JRiver Media Center can do? I've used them both, and have to say no. There's no comparison whatsoever. And please don't mention the Windows Media Player won't play FLAC audio. You can easily get a plug in for it. Can you do the same for iTunes?

AAC is an open standard which Apple supports and ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio CODEC) is open source and free for anyone to use.

jesseinsf said,
You guys can have all the fun you want because I'll stick with my NON-proprietary media player and portal that isn't baked in to the OS. J.River Media Center on Windows RULES. And it's soon to RULE on Macs too. :-) (Oh and it's not for the freeloaders because it cost $50, and version upgrades cost $20).

Wow, what did I even just read?

I'm using JRiver's MediaCenter for years now, it supports my 80Gb iPod with no hassle. It's lightning fast, low on resources and has a gazillion other nice things to use.

Never touched iTunes after installing that. I also only use QT player, as webvideo often demands it...

Dutchie64 said,
I'm using JRiver's MediaCenter for years now, it supports my 80Gb iPod with no hassle. It's lightning fast, low on resources and has a gazillion other nice things to use.

Never touched iTunes after installing that. I also only use QT player, as webvideo often demands it...

yea but that software costs $50.

Did anyone actually use iTunes 11 on Windows? From the look of the comments, I guess not. If you don't own any other iDevices, all you need to install is the Application Support msi and iTunes itself, no Bonjour etc.

The experience is far better than earlier versions; I've had iTunes 11 on Windows ever since it first launched and I am still confused about these "if only it worked properly on Windows " comments ...

The experience may be better, but still leaves a lot to be desired:

1. I wonder why iTunes on my Windows PC feels the need to consume 600 mb of memory while playing music.

2. It takes ages to open (even though there seems to be an iTunesLauncher background service running at startup)

I tolerate it because of my iPad and the occasional music purchase, but I wish I could do without it.

BigGiantHead said,
The experience may be better, but still leaves a lot to be desired:

1. I wonder why iTunes on my Windows PC feels the need to consume 600 mb of memory while playing music.

2. It takes ages to open (even though there seems to be an iTunesLauncher background service running at startup)

I tolerate it because of my iPad and the occasional music purchase, but I wish I could do without it.

itunes on my old windows machine opened in about 3 seconds

Deyirn said,
i just need my music player to play music, like foobar does, not it being everything else



I am happy for you... have a cookie. On the other hand, Apple want iTunes to be their complete interface to digital media. Gues which of you gets to have the final say?

They need a serious redesign given how dated the software now is. I only use an iPhone (and iTunes) due to it being a work phone and I don't understand people using the work "intuitive" to describe it.

I'd say they're about even.

(Office for Mac/iTunes for Windows) is a bloated mess, and performance is extremely sluggish. It doesn't "fit" well with the OS UI patterns, and just eats system resources when running.

That said, I have to continue using (Office for Mac/iTunes for Windows) because their are some features that (Apple/Microsoft's) alternative just doesn't do: (Parse complex spreadsheets/Sync with iOS devices).

cyberdrone2000 said,
I'd say they're about even.

(Office for Mac/iTunes for Windows) is a bloated mess, and performance is extremely sluggish. It doesn't "fit" well with the OS UI patterns, and just eats system resources when running.

That said, I have to continue using (Office for Mac/iTunes for Windows) because their are some features that (Apple/Microsoft's) alternative just doesn't do: (Parse complex spreadsheets/Sync with iOS devices).

Office for Mac is not sluggish, as of the 2011 edition at least, neither is OneDrive, Outlook.com, or Office Online. On the other hand, iCloud barely works in Chrome or IE on Windows, it's as slow as possible.

ians18 said,
Office for Mac is not sluggish

My personal experience begs to differ: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/163426/Sluggish.mp4

The menu bar indicator to the immediate left of Wi-Fi is the CPU Load indicator (it jumps to 100% the moment that Excel opens)

Also of note is the fact that the sheet I opened is a glorified to-do list from one of my clients. It has no equations or anything special, other than text in cells, and background colors to indicate completed status.

cyberdrone2000 said,

My personal experience begs to differ: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/163426/Sluggish.mp4

The menu bar indicator to the immediate left of Wi-Fi is the CPU Load indicator (it jumps to 100% the moment that Excel opens)

Also of note is the fact that the sheet I opened is a glorified to-do list from one of my clients. It has no equations or anything special, other than text in cells, and background colors to indicate completed status.


I'm sorry to hear that you've had a bad experience. :( Everyone's experience is different I guess.

ians18 said,

I'm sorry to hear that you've had a bad experience. :( Everyone's experience is different I guess.

Very true.

I'll give you this: If OneNote for Mac is any indication of what the next version of Office for Mac will be like (and Microsoft has claimed it is), Apple had better step up their game with iTunes on Windows.

Even though the new version of OneNote still has a clunky UI, and lacks a ton of features, its buttery-smooth performance makes up for it.

I bought a subscription to Office 365 in anticipation of that version coming out (but I needed to use Office for work immediately).

Office 2011 is very sluggish for me (Core i7, 8 GB RAM, SSD) when compared to everything else on my computer, including running Office 2013 in a Windows VM. After using OneNote, I'm hopeful the next version will be better.

JHBrown said,
I was thinking the same thing. Runs great on our Macs. Won't let it touch our Windows 7 computers.

Will NEVER dream of installing itunes on ANYTHING of mine and almost do my best to convince others to let me remove it off their machines also.

cork1958 said,

Will NEVER dream of installing itunes on ANYTHING of mine and almost do my best to convince others to let me remove it off their machines also.

iTunes on Windows has worked perfectly fine for me for years.

Never had any problem running iTune on Windows. And I have a HUGE amount of songs and many playlists. In fact, I have more problems with WMP.

This was true with XP, 7 and now 8.1 - in MY experience.

cyberdrone2000 said,

I'll give you this: If OneNote for Mac is any indication of what the next version of Office for Mac will be like (and Microsoft has claimed it is), Apple had better step up their game with iTunes on Windows.

Even though the new version of OneNote still has a clunky UI, and lacks a ton of features, its buttery-smooth performance makes up for it.

I bought a subscription to Office 365 in anticipation of that version coming out (but I needed to use Office for work immediately).


365 is awesome. Aren't they due for a 2014 release of Office? It's usually followed the year after...

Unless they plan on cutting the yearly naming and standard licensing out altogether, which is what it looks like they've been trying to do, as they opt to remove Professional and I think soon enough, Home and Business from stores.

Lamp0 said,

iTunes on Windows has worked perfectly fine for me for years.

I might have to give the latest version a try then on my Windows 7 computer.

devHead said,
If only Apple could make their software run as well in Windows as Microsoft does for Apple computers.

Haven't had issues with iTunes on Windows lately. Not since about iTunes 7 has it given me grief (and it was terrible then). Now it is basically the same experience on either Windows or Mac IMO.

cork1958 said,

Will NEVER dream of installing itunes on ANYTHING of mine and almost do my best to convince others to let me remove it off their machines also.

What reason could you possibly give to remove it off others machines? Apart from "I don't like it, so neither should you". Its been fine for ages!

I have annoying problems with skips and stutters in video that is downloading (including complete freezes).

This happens even when the download is running well ahead of the player, and I've had it on Windows 7 and Windows 8.x on both of my last two PCs.

On my Mac it's still not a great experience but I haven't had these serious and basic issues.

'With all of the improvements being made to iTunes 12 and OS X, it looks like "Yosemite" could prove to be a hit when it launches this fall.' Based on the price (and its polish) I'm very confident it will be.

If only iTunes on Windows were as lightweight as Windows Media Player; I wonder what they compile it in.

Apple have less 10% of the PC market share how big a hit is it really going to be? Guess it will compare to every new iPhone having "record sales" despite the falling market share.

Edited by Son_Of_Dad, Jul 22 2014, 5:34am :

Son_Of_Dad said,
Apple have less 10% of the PC market share how big a hit is it really going to be? Guess it will compare to every new iPhone having "record sales" despite the falling market share.

They may have less than 10% of the market but they are doing something right as they make more money than Microsoft.

bithush said,

They may have less than 10% of the market but they are doing something right as they make more money than Microsoft.

Over charging?

Son_Of_Dad said,
Apple have less 10% of the PC market share how big a hit is it really going to be? Guess it will compare to every new iPhone having "record sales" despite the falling market share.

The most recent versions of OSX have all been hits because they're free.. so why wouldn't you install them? The install base as a percentage for Mac owners is enormous as a result. Obviously in the wider market, compared to Windows, then it's not "a hit" but that's probably never going to change unless Microsoft make some ludicrous mistakes over the coming years and Apple drastically reduce the price of their hardware.

Apple might have less than 10% of the PC market share, that doesn't mean that iTunes isn't installed on a much higher percentage of consumer PC's!

Son_Of_Dad said,

Over charging?


Nope. If they were, they wouldn't sell. The pricing seems to be in line with what people are ready to pay. That's the whole reason behind their success.

(this is the part where people who hug their droids in their basements and haven't discovered the real world start blaming brainwashing, fanboys, and cults, and proceed to get a headache from trying to make the braincells work... in fact, there are people who value walled gardens and a design focus, ready to pay premium prices for this, and these people aren't stupid only for that reason alone.. there's room for everyone)

Edited by Northgrove, Jul 22 2014, 1:37pm :

Vishwal said,

Plus fooling people with pretty face.

It's cute watching non technical ppl talk about tech. Apple is over priced, no doubt about it, but its still a way better experience than MS products. Only use i have for windows now is my desktop for gaming, Windows 8 is such a terror that i cant stand using it for anything else.

Beyond Godlike said,

It's cute watching non technical ppl talk about tech. Apple is over priced, no doubt about it, but its still a way better experience than MS products. Only use i have for windows now is my desktop for gaming, Windows 8 is such a terror that i cant stand using it for anything else.

It just irritates me that people so arrogantly dismiss a lot of Apple stuff as nothing more than shiny. They're so blinded by fanboyism them simply can't see past high pricing of hardware.

I won't deny that they do charge a lot for hardware, but there's so much more to it than that. One bonus is that your OS is free, and so are the upgrades.. that has to be worth a couple hundred dollars of Windows license costs you avoid paying.

But besides that you have a beautifully designed piece of hardware, with extremely tight hardware & software integration. Features such as sleep work correctly, all the time. I never, ever shutdown my Mac - I sleep it, only rebooting it to install updates. And it works every time, reliably, with near instant wake up.

I just don't think as industrial pieces of design, many other companies come close to Apple hardware - certainly when it comes to their notebooks and desktops. And as soon as you DO get systems which have an even vaguely similar level of fit and finish, lo and behold, the prices get extreme. Just take a look at the Surface Pro 3, for example.

I know the trolling will never end on Neowin, but by god, it does get agonising after so many years on here.

Well that is in fact an opinion so it doesn't mean ######. I have to work with macs and windows, they are basically the same thing. I for one prefer microsoft products. I have a windows 8.1 phone, an 8.1 pc and a xbox one. I love their products. But that is my opinion. so your statement is obligatory.

Beyond Godlike said,

It's cute watching non technical ppl talk about tech. Apple is over priced, no doubt about it, but its still a way better experience than MS products. Only use i have for windows now is my desktop for gaming, Windows 8 is such a terror that i cant stand using it for anything else.

watsxn said,
Well that is in fact an opinion so it doesn't mean ######. I have to work with macs and windows, they are basically the same thing. I for one prefer microsoft products. I have a windows 8.1 phone, an 8.1 pc and a xbox one. I love their products. But that is my opinion. so your statement is obligatory.

I guess I prefer a platform with app support. I was looking at the windows phone market place just the other day and it was such a joke, filled with fake google apps and other scams..inferior apps at best. Not to mention the platform itself.

With 6.73 OS X is not even near 10% marketshare. Secondly, Apply doesn't make the chunk of its money through Macs but iOS devices so what Bithush says irrelevant. Thirdly Looking for iTunes and OS marketshare correlation is stupid to say the least. Spotify has 0% OS marketshare. So what?

Son_Of_Dad said,
Apple have less 10% of the PC market share how big a hit is it really going to be? Guess it will compare to every new iPhone having "record sales" despite the falling market share.

Out of context and irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Did OP edit his post or do you frequently dive into random subjects? :huh: