On Thursday, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released the latest version of its popular iTunes music software.
iTunes 11 was originally scheduled for release last month, but the company postponed the release to complete additional refinements, the Houston Chronicle notes.
Critics and users have often slammed earlier versions of iTunes as slow and bloated. In the new release, Apple has completely overhauled iTunes’ user interface, trimming away unneeded features and boosting the program’s performance.
Also gone is Cover Flow, which displayed album covers in a rotating display.
Like its predecessors, iTunes 11 works on computers running Apple’s operating systems, as well as Microsoft‘s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows.
Here are four new or enhanced features found in iTunes 11:
- Expanded View — Album covers are blown up to display content information, while the cover art’s primary color scheme becomes the background.
- iCloud Streaming — Unlike previous versions if iTunes, music tracks stored in a user’s iCloud account don’t have to be downloaded first and can be played just by clicking on the title.
- New Mini-Player — While a long-running feature, which collapses iTunes to a tiny window showing just the basic controls, the redesigned version pares out everything by the artist and title names.
- Up Next — Users can determine which song plays next by clicking an arrow alongside the song title and see the queue of songs waiting to play.
Shares of Apple slipped fractionally in Thursday morning trading.