Apple promised a new version of iTunes by November, and it's keeping that promise… barely. On Thursday, the company finally released iTunes 11, a badly needed update to its media app which vastly improves on its clunky predecessor with a completely rebuilt user interface. We could go through all the changes one by one, but the bottom line is: Try it, you'll like it. If you're even slightly hesitant about whether or not to upgrade, here are the three most compelling reasons to get the new iTunes now:
1. It's a lot faster
Older versions of iTunes were admittedly slow. Painfully slow. But iTunes 11 is legitimately fast, and feels "like something you wouldn't mind running all the time," says Kyle Wagner at Gizmodo. Search, scrolling, and browsing are all supercharged.
2. Search is actually efficient
Taking a cue from Google, iTunes search now displays results from the entire library as soon as you start typing in a search term. Each query returns results for songs, albums, and artists (along with album cover art!) in a new pop-up preview panel, so you can spend less time searching and more time actually listening.
3. The app is consistent and integrated across all your devices
That left sidebar eating up all the real estate? Gone, freeing up room for a visually-driven interface showing all your purchased songs that's consistent across all your Apple gadgets. The new app also allows for a deeper integration with iCloud, which can save your place in a movie or TV show. If you're watching Mad Men on Apple TV, for example, you can hit pause and pick up where you left off on your iPad or iPhone. Also new: If you click to buy a song, iTunes will immediately start streaming the file à la Spotify to save you a few megabytes. You can either continue to play the song from the cloud or, if you so choose, go old-school and download the purchased song to your hard drive to listen to offline.