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Apple iTunes 11 available to download

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Apple has released the latest desktop version of iTunes, introducing the biggest refresh of the software for several years as Apple contends with the rise of streaming music rivals such as Spotify.

The update, dubbed iTunes 11, is available to download now for Mac and PC, after being delayed a month due to what was reported to be "engineering issues".

iTunes 11 - store front

© Apple



Apple says that it has "completely redesigned" iTunes from the ground up. But if you already have an Apple mobile device with iOS6 on board, then the design and look of the store will already be familiar to you.

One of the biggest changes with the new iTunes is that it has been made more simple and easy to use, with a cleaner and more visually rich aesthetic.

There are a number of new features, including album covers expanding outwards to show more songs and data, including related tracks and music that is available to purchase. This means that you don't have to click through to another page to see the metadata.

The iTunes mini-player feature has been redesigned so that it includes an Up Next feature, showing what tracks are gong to play and in what order, with album art, title and artist.

You can now purchase music directly from your music library without having to access the iTunes Store page, and it is easier to create playlists.

iTunes 11 - direct store from playlist

© Apple



Apple says that iTunes 11 more closely integrates iCloud, meaning users can stream music, movies and TV shows that they have purchased from iTunes on all their Apple devices via iCloud syncing.

Adding media to an iPad, iPhone or iPod is also made more intuitive, as they appear in a top bar when connected and you just drag-and-drop the files.

But despite the iCloud integration, Apple is not yet becoming a streaming music provider, as users will still have to download the music tracks and albums, and pay for each one, rather than taking a monthly subscription similar to rivals Spotify or Pandora.

iTunes 11 - music playing (Muse)

© Apple



Apple's iTunes remains the dominant force in digital music, but streaming services are growing fast and appeal to consumers as a way to have a digital locker filled with music for access on the go.

Apple has been exploring options for its own online music streaming service, but the firm is thought to be taking a "cautious" approach to the emerging market.

You can download iTunes 11 now from Apple.com, or if you already have iTunes 10, you will be prompted to download the update next time you log on.

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