iTunes 8.1 released, first impressions

Following up the news this morning, Apple has released their iTunes 8.1 update. The download clocks in at 63.4MB, and I've downloaded it myself to try out the changes.

First and foremost, here's Apple's changelog that you'll see when you install it:

iTunes 8.1 is now faster and more responsive. You will enjoy noticeable improvements when working with large libraries, browsing the iTunes Store, preparing to sync with iPod or iPhone, and optimizing photos for syncing.

In addition, iTunes 8.1 provides many other improvements and bug fixes, including:

- 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

First impressions:

First of all, I tried out syncing a movie to see if there were any speed changes there. Before the update, I put a 1.18GB movie onto my iPod touch, which took bang on 3 minutes. I removed the movie, and installed my iTunes 8.1 update. After that was done, I installed the same movie, which took 2 minutes and 10 seconds. Not a bad speed increase, and it'll add up when putting on a whole range of content.

The iTunes Store, to me, didn't feel much faster. iTunes itself felt faster moving between Music, Movies and TV Shows, but the iTunes Store felt the same. Maybe it'll take a bit more testing, but I looked around quite a bit, as well as closing iTunes once and reopening it to test again. Your mileage may vary, but that's what I found at least.

(Note: I'm on Mac OS X, so my speeds will most likely be different to those using Windows. I haven't had the chance to test it yet, but I'm sure the comments will indicate what it's like.)

One cool feature I thought was iTunes DJ (Party Shuffle, just renamed). It's called this because this morning's Remote (for iPhone/iPod touch) application update allows you to request songs while iTunes DJ is running. That's pretty handy, if you ask me. I decided to give this a try, and discovered a small niggle; your iPhone or iPod touch has to have their Remote app paired with iTunes. So, that would either make for a very awkward beginning to a party, or people would have to request you to request a song. It'd be nice if you could anonymously request a song, providing you know the person's iTunes library name, but that could bring problems if there are people next door with an iPhone or iPod touch.

Those are my initial impressions, and if you care to download iTunes yourself, you can do so below or use Apple's Software Update.

Download: iTunes 8.1 Download

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I see a notable difference in speed. Like, for example, it would take like 30-60 seconds to go from iTunes store to the App Store because of freezing. Now, it doesn't freeze and loads in <5 seconds.
That freezing problem is what almost sent me back to XP. Now that that's fixed, I'm happy ^-^
Also

- Improves performance when downloading iTunes Plus songs

So does that mean it won't freeze for 2 minutes per song like it did for me? YAY! (I have lost 3 tracks on an album due to this and had to request Apple to let me redownload them)

wow, since I installed a 7 built a while back I told myself to stay far away from iTunes. my library has over 35,000 files and v7 took at least a minute to open. That is certainly not the case with the new version. It took a long time to add the files, which I expected. But once they were all in the library it opened with a snap - I am really surprised. They must have worked hard on the database system. On the other hand there are hundreds of flacs in my library and I therefore will stay with Songbird for now. Definitely an improvement in speed over older versions. I also noticed that the sound is of less quality than VMP or Songbird, doesn't matter if I turn the sound enhancement on or off. It sounds "flat".

I have more than 15.000 songs and it's really interesting that iTunes is not using much RAM on my computer with that many song . It's using 40MB of RAM and it's really fast. I thought it was a lot of RAM at first so I ran Winamp and it used 77MB of RAM then I ran WMP and it was around 40 MB too. WMP is good too but I love that cover flow of iTunes so I guess I will stick up with iTunes.

My main gripe with iTunes is its poor sound quality. WMP rocks the house in comparison. Other than that its great.

I hardly notice any speed improvements, it's as annoying f*c*ing slow as it was on v8 (on Win Vista) (say 3-4 secs for any link i click)..... on top of that this update f*c*ed up my complete system by complaing about a certain protected registry key not being able to update (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=6810204) after which uit messed up my previous version 8 and kept me busy for all evening to restore and cleanup and having to go through all sorts of specialized utils and actions to get this update to install. So iTunes still sucks BIG TIME for me!

No kidding.
If the ARM processors found in portable players can playback music and scroll a list at the same time, theres no reason any any full size computer from the last 15 years should choke on basically the same task.

Let's just be glad Apple doesn't have the iTunes-Windows team writing their firmware revisions.

I see absolutely no difference in performance between the previous version and this one, still feels a bit sluggish on windows platform compared to os x version where it runs smooth.

Jasmin said,
I see absolutely no difference in performance between the previous version and this one, still feels a bit sluggish on windows platform compared to os x version where it runs smooth.


To be honest I cannot see any difference at all.... is it just me or what because I see no change in performance although it runs a little smoother on Windows and that's about it.

Jasmin said,
I see absolutely no difference in performance between the previous version and this one, still feels a bit sluggish on windows platform compared to os x version where it runs smooth.

Blazing fast for me under Vista

Either people need to upgrade their computer, maintain, or look into what's causing their "still sluggish" iTunes problems. Even before the 8.0 iTunes was a tad slow but nothing really unbearable. Then when 8.1 came out things were just a lot snappier. If it works, well it works. I don't think Apple is dumb enough to claim things that aren't true when it has already been proven by other users that there's an improvement. There's obviously something wrong with everyone elses computer unless the obvious reason is outdated hardware. One thing that did make a difference a while back was that I got Diskeeper and after that things were just a lot smoother. But who knows, might be software conflict too or maybe some of the registry needs to be cleaned out

It's faster for me then 8.0 was, it syncs very fast, imports mp3s fast. I've had a bunch of delays and itunes being hung in vista x64 with 8.0. So far these issues seems to have been resolved. I can dock and undock the ipod and it seems to do what it's supposed to. I have disk access enabled and manually manage sync on. I do sync podcasts automatically without having to drag and drop them. Using 5th gen ipod.

Good upgrade, for me anyways. After I install, I go ahead and uninstall all the bloatware crap that I don't need; the Bonjor, MobileDeviceSupport (also includes mobileme), and AppleUpdate. If you ask me these additional packages are good to have, but should be part of a customized setup for those that do not need them. I mean if I uncheck the box for do not update itunes automatically, why the hell does it still install apple update?

Yeah but is it 64bit yet? Or are tehy not updating Quicktime too I just want my control bar back when watching trailers again, lol.

Im so glad im not the only one that is annoyed by this. How is this still not fixed. QT still has this problem unfortunately. Most annoying bug ever.

It's still slow, it still installs stuff even when you tell it not to. The iTMS is still sluggish as hell trying to connect to it or get data. Apple Drops Ball 8.1

Only real use for iTunes is to update your player, or buy music. I myself only install iTunes when I need to update my player. other than that, Winamp does all my syncing for me.

iTunes ruins my life. Floola is my savior.
I have had 4 iPods in my time and I i feel that one of the only things that let it down is the iTunes app. Its almost like the only people who like iTunes are the people who have no idea. You can't honestly think that it is a good piece of software. Like it just blows my mind how crap it is. Sure transfer speeds are pretty sweet, but the program just feels like it is the iexplorer7 of the media player genre.
Hooray for Floola.

iTunes in terms of managing your library does a very good job. It's the rest of it and what comes with it is what annoys me. It's Nero Burning ROM all over again.

Honestly I haven't had any issues (oh yea and I do have a ****ing clue thank you very much) with iTunes on Windows XP or Windows Vista, the only slow part for me is accessing the store (big whoop). Oh yea and thats on a 7 year old system running either XP SP3 or Vista SP1 at any given time.

installed a number of unwanted processes, enough said, until Apple fixes this and improves the GUI i'll never use this software, on Windows anyhow, how much resources does iTunes 8.x use on a PC as opposed to Mac? they should be the same

FusionOpz said,
If you've done any development work then you know theres no luxuries when doing windows dev.

Day two of unqualified, inaccurate statements supporting Apple?

C_Guy said,
Now Grey you know you shouldn't feed the trolls otherwise they won't starve themselves...

I wonder who are the trolls here ? Not clear to me.

FusionOpz said,
most of those resources are built into the OS on a Mac, Windows doesn't have that luxury of having the same resources built in.

When you make a bizarre statement like that it begs to be corrected. Windows doesn't have the same resources as OSX? It doesn't have an update service, device management, and LAN peer-to-peer?

Does that need to be another service running? Why can't iTunes just check for updates when you're running it? Why can't they just use UPnP instead of their proprietary Bonjour? Why does it still install the updater when you tell it you don't want to check for updates to Apple software? Why doesn't it ask you if you want the Apple mobile device system installed? Why can't it use the standard Windows API for the UI? Why is it after all these years of supporting their non-PC equipment on Windows that Apple still can't do it properly?

Martog said,
Technically iTunes has WebKit/Safari built into it, just Apple won't let us use it to browse with yet. :(


The iTunes Store is not displayed using WebKit. It is displayed using WebObjects.

osirisX said,
The iTunes Store is not displayed using WebKit. It is displayed using WebObjects.

WebObjects is a Java web application server from Apple Inc., and a web application framework that runs on the server. It is available, at no additional cost, as part of the Xcode Developer Tools included with Apple's Mac OS X operating system.

So it's WebObjects eh? but then how does it get rendered/displayed?

So you have an authoritative source that says things have changed?
No. You don't because you are wrong.
But you'll never admit [< snipped > - Calum]

shakey_snake spends some quality time with iTunes:

  • 70Mb download is way too big for this app, yeah you only have to do it once, but seriously.
  • still doesn't play .flac or .ogg,
  • Only installs 5 background processes: awesome. :rolleyes:
  • interface completely freezes when adding folders to the library
  • window is slow to minimize and restore
  • repeatedly tried "acessing iTunes store" without my asking it to
  • chugs on scrolling a browser pane
  • very slow to switch selections

In conclusion: iTunes continues to be worthless.
Uninstalled. [edit]


wait...


wait...


wait...

OK now uninstalled (15 mins after telling it to).

70MB download - See comment above on why it is so big.

Your slowness issues and other problems, what exaclty are you running for hardware? You must have some old pieces in that machine. It absolutely flies on the three machines I have installed it for thus far, I still have 3 more to go at least.

And your time between initial post and edit was 11 minutes, that is hardly 40 minutes. Please stop spreadnig the FUD.

Good for you, none of us care. It works great for me and runs nice and fast. If you expect it to be bad, then it will be bad, congratulations you just wasted your own time.

Not you martog

Martog said,
And your time between initial post and edit was 11 minutes, that is hardly 40 minutes. Please stop spreadnig the FUD. :)

1. I started the uninstall process before posting the first time
2. I had to manually kill firefox to uninstall the Bonjour service. WTF.

I guess you never looked at your FF plugins (I don't even use FF) to see that there are iTunes and Quicktime entries in there.

Still never answered on what kind of hardware you are trying to run it on. Obiviously you either have a slow machine or a conflict somewhere that is causing your issues.

C2D T5670 2gigs ram, 7200rpm hdd
If there's a conflict somewhere, how is that not iTunes' fault? Other media apps (fb2k, zune player, the new Songbird, J. River MC) using libraries watching the exact same folders don't make my system chug like it's 5 years old. :|

I didn't close firefox between installing and uninstalling iTunes. There was nothing to see in the plugins or extensions.

I decided to go for a bit of a test tonight and install it on two more of the computers here, can't really compare my Q9450 with a RAID 10 of 10K RPM drives, Q6600 with a RAID 5 of 1TB drives, or my T9600 with 7200RPM either.

Now iTunes uninstalles previous versions during an install, so I installed on the following two computers:

Athlon 64 X2 4200+ 7200RPM SATA, took:8minutes for complete uninstall/install.

Celeron D 2.4GHz 512MB 40GB 7200RPM IDE took: 7 minutes for uninstall/install

You do have a newer system yes so I am unsure why iTunes would be causing the issues you are having. I am just not experiencing slow downs on any of my systems, not even on the Celeron D system, which is amazing as it used to dog on that computer. Something is not agreeing with inside of your computer and I wish I could tell you what, especially since how well it runs on lower spec machines. Only the Celeron D is running XP, all the others are running Vista 64bit and one runs Server 2008 64bit.

15 minutes to uninstall. Hardly beliveable unless your copie of windows needs a frech clean new install which is probably the case.

Or maybe he wants to post honest feedback.

Apple fanatics just can't handle unbiased reviews sometimes. Just look at the comments.

C_Guy said,
Or maybe he wants to post honest feedback.

Apple fanatics just can't handle unbiased reviews sometimes. Just look at the comments.


Yes because installing on 5 different computers all non-Apple running Windows Vista, 2008 and XP are biased, right?

I've posted honest feedback using systems far less powerful than his, unforunately he had a bad time but I have had nothing but good with my experience so far. Hardly a fanatic here as I will be selling my Macbook Pro soon as I got HP laptop to replace it.

C_Guy,

Looking at the comments makes me believe this application works better than previous versions of it.

Of course i wont install it as iTune is a bad music player if you compare it to anything else including WMP, i don't own an iPod and i'm not using iTune music store.

I never owned any Apple product. Would like to buy a Touch but too much expensive for my taste (same thing for the Zune there's better options for less in Canada like Sansa).

Windows beeing what it is i'm sorry but when you have a problem un-installing an application there's 50% chance that the problem comes from Windows and 50% it comes from the application installer itself. Generally it's a good idea to try to install and un-install it on a 2nd machine before going to a forum and write about it.

Had problem once installing a copy of Adobe Creative Suite CS (legit of course) on a computer running XP at work. Took age to install, did not work once installed and finally un-installation bugged too. I did not go to neowin board to complain about it acting like it is was 100% sure the problem came from Adobe Creative Suite CS. Turned out that the DVD drive had problem reading the second disc for an unkown reason.

**** happens. Need to try more than once on different computers to be sure it comes from the application itself.

C_Guy said,
Or maybe he wants to post honest feedback.

Apple fanatics just can't handle unbiased reviews sometimes. Just look at the comments.


You know the same thing could be said about you being a "fanatic".

Xero said,
Good for you, none of us care. It works great for me and runs nice and fast. If you expect it to be bad, then it will be bad, congratulations you just wasted your own time.

Xero, as much as I don't agree with shakey_snake's opinion on iTunes 8.1, he is still allowed to voice his opinion and your attitude is really horrible. Please, respect another person's opinion and debate/discuss maturely with them.

Is there a problem with the store?
I just tried to download a song but I keeps timing out.

As for this new release, noticed no difference or speed increase. Ah well.

I have always thought itunes Store is slow. Especially the response when clicking on apps to download

Ghhggghhh... 63Mb for a media player... hooooolly ****.
Wow.... sorry but I can't believe people are using this bloatware. Ever heard of Foobar or Amarok?
Anyway, I know that what other uses is none of my business, but... damn, this is just outrageous. This things runs like 3 processes in the background.. gahh :x

- Allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus
Is that suppose to be like a favor or something. like a new feature?!!? What's wrong with LAME V0 and/or 320kbps or even FLAC??

Anyway. my 2 cents...

You must be rocking a sub 100GB hard drive or something to be complaining about the size. In the day an age where a TB drive can be gotten for $100 or less, it is not overly an issue. True developers should not be making software big for the heck of it.


I guess you never bothered to look in the %System Root%Program FilesiTunesiTunes.Resources folder and see that it includes many language files. Yes they could do a single language release and trim it down some but they rather push out a multilingual release and there is really nothing wrong with that. Even the Quicktime Folder has multingual resource files in it. The players themselves are actually a lot smaller than you are making them out to be.

The download could probably be 20-30MB at most if they stripped out the multilingual resources.

djesteban said,
I can't believe people are using this bloatware

I suggest you do some research to see how slow/fast the new iTunes 8.1 is before you jump to conclusions and call it "bloatware".

It is probably almost as fast as foobar with this update and I am not even exaggerating.

djesteban said,
Wow.... sorry but I can't believe people are using this bloatware. Ever heard of Foobar or Amarok?

LOL, yeah, Amarok is so fast and light.

On OS X, I've checked and all the languages except French & English take 93.5 MB and iTunes is 148.5MB. Each language is barely 6MB.
I bet in Snow Leopard, it'll be cut off by like 50-80%, which is awesome

FusionOpz said,
The lightest player is mplayer.... >.>

I'd rather use WMP than Mplayer. WMP has a better interface.

For movies WMP Classic is still the best with VLC a close second. For music anything with a good way to handle playlists do the job. I find WMP to have playlist management that is better than most players out there.

shakey_snake said,
You are seriously exaggerating.

Judging by this comment of yours, you must not have very good hardware at all. Therefore, because it runs extremely fast on my average hardware, I stand by what I said; I am not exaggerating

The size of something does not suggest it to be bloatware - infact to the contrary. It probably means to do specific things, specific code is written and so it performs faster (not slower) at those tasks. Very simple players obviously have less to do and that is why they are smaller not their coding, its probably likely their code is more bloated than say Windows or Apple. If they wanted to do a small simple player it would be another product - but the aim is to make a software that can do a variety of things - it is not merely a media player as you suggest.

PureLegend said,
LOL, yeah, Amarok is so fast and light.

Actually on linux it's nice, if it only didn't install so much KDE libs along with it...

djesteban said,
Ghhggghhh... 63Mb for a media player... hooooolly ****.
Wow.... sorry but I can't believe people are using this bloatware. Ever heard of Foobar or Amarok?
Anyway, I know that what other uses is none of my business, but... damn, this is just outrageous. This things runs like 3 processes in the background.. gahh :x

- Allows CDs to be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus
Is that suppose to be like a favor or something. like a new feature?!!? What's wrong with LAME V0 and/or 320kbps or even FLAC??

Anyway. my 2 cents...


Amarok?
You have been fallen on your head?
How much space takes to install Amarok in windows? Do you even know?

Calum said,
Judging by this comment of yours, you must not have very good hardware at all. Therefore, because it runs extremely fast on my average hardware, I stand by what I said; I am not exaggerating :)
You've changed your point then.
Were you comparing iTunes to other software or not?

Other software runs fine on lesser hardware.

Yeah i am surprised when i updated iTunes on my PC. Before it was kinda slow on moving between stuff. But now, it doesn't even lag.