Today at the Apple iTunes event Steve Jobs announced the coming of iTunes version 9. Now the press release is out, and we've got a full list of info on the new features for this version of iTunes. First up, iTunes 9 heralds the introduction of iTunes LP.
These "LPs" will be full-sized albums that also come loaded with special features. Additions brought by LPs include; "live performance videos, lyrics, artwork, liner notes, interviews, photos, album credits and more". New albums such as Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited,", Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me", The Grateful Dead's "American Beauty" and Dave Matthews Band's "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King: iTunes Pass" are now available.
iTunes Extras were also announced, which provide the same service as LPs, but for movies. They come with expanded features like documentaries, deleted scenes, interviews, and interactive galleries. Select movies, including "Twilight", "Batman Begins", "WALL-E", "Iron Man", and "The Da Vinci Code" now can be purchased as iTunes Extras.
iTunes 9 includes a bevy of other features. Home Sharing has been introduced, which allows users to easily transfer music, movies, and TV between up to 5 computers in your home. Your family members will be able to view as many as 5 iTunes libraries that are connected to their home network. When you click to open a new iTunes library, only the content that your computer does not have will show up, which should make importing new content much easier.
Genius Mixes have also been added in 9. This updated feature analyzes the results of over 27 million music libraries and 54 billion songs. The Genius DJ then automatically mixes up to 12 different playlists from your iTunes library. Apple brags that this digital DJ is capable of picking which songs go best together and making his playlists based on that.
iTunes 9 was built to sync up better with iPhone OS 3.1. You'll now be able to organize your iPhone apps in iTunes. Once you've settled on a design, you can automatically port it to your iPhone. Users also gain the ability to sync music by artist and genre, as well as sync photos by events and faces. Apple's also added 20,000 new ringtones to the iTunes store for $1.29 a piece.
It looks like Apple really went all out on iTunes 9. These new features sound really useful (especially the new syncing options) and the iTunes LP feature sounds better than I anticipated. Apple might just have a good shot at revitalizing "album sales" as we know them.
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