By now you've probably heard that Apple released the mother of all iTunes yesterday. Dubbed version 10, this is the tenth version of the loved and hated music software for the rest of us. And you may also be aware that Apple has now dominated Facebook in the music sharing department in one move with the release of PING, a social network for music lovers. (Honestly I can't find PING anywhere in my new iTunes, so I'll skip that feature, other than to say it rocks. UPDATED: I found PING in the Store… see image at bottom of post.)
The first think you'll notice, because you'll have to find it to click on it, is the redesigned, exclusively for iTunes 10, icon. Here's what that looks like.
The CD and musical note was getting a little old. Since no one buys CDs now anyway… So it's a welcome update, if a little bit generic.
And then there's the new user interface… with better album artwork, if you've got it turned on. At least it looks better on my new Mac.
And you can see places where Apple really updated the UX to take better advantage of the screen real estate. Notice how the red, yellow and green buttons are now oriented vertically. NICE!
But the biggest improvement you will notice once you download/upgrade is the sound quality. There's nothing to this. If you turn it up louder, it sounds better. And the new iTunes 10 appears to get even louder than previous versions. And thus all of your music will sound better, as long as you turn it up.
"Even with the Equalizer off, it just sounds better," exclaimed my evil twin from the other room, of my mind. Something in the Preamp algorhythm seems to transparently make things sound brighter even when disabled. "It's an amazing effect. It's as if Steve Jobs has created some kind of magical sound enhancer."
Oh boy, and what about that "sound enhancer?" This reviewer advises you to crank it all the way up and see if you can tell what the frak it does. And don't bother with the sound check, I'd say leave it on sound unCheck.
And to truly unlock the power of your music, make sure and use Custom settings on MP3 encoding (so you can share it with your friends) and turn it to the new HIGHEST setting. (Previous versions of iTunes also had a highest setting, but this is a new version of iTunes, thus a new HIGHEST.) This isn't your Mom's MP3 encoder. And it's not for torrenting, cause these suckers are huge. But you'll be rewarded as the music sounds about 80% as good as the CD. And over those crappy little earbuds, who cares what the bit rate is anyway.
And here's the most important new feature in iTunes 10, although it's not new… It's the most important thing. Make sure you use the "Increase Volume" command as much as possible. It's a well known fact that louder is always better. And as some of us get harder and harder of hearing, you will really love the new extra loudness headroom in iTunes 10. It may have something to do with my new external speakers, but I swear iTunes 10 gets even louder than ever before.
And don't forget the Genius. While I never turn this on, I hear it makes your music even smarter. It's sure to make you want one of the new iPods.
And that's about it.
If someone can show me a screenshot of PING I'll include it. Because I am sure that if you knew I was listening to ACDC and I knew that you knew that I was listening to ACDC it would sound exponentially better AND louder. Cause that's the power of social media baby! We're all connected. We're all music lovers. And now we can follow each other without having to leave iTunes. I may never go outside or talk to another person again.
Turn it up!
PING – << I found it.
Oh, based on PING's suggestions, they really know nothing about me. I mean, Lady GAGA? Come on! So much for Genius.