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5 Clues iTunes 11 Leaves for iOS 7

iTunes 11 hit yesterday, after two months of waiting and one month of delays. While the underlying code may not have changed very much, visually, iTunes has received a complete makeover. I think it’s a winner, and the new interface elements give us a small picture of some of the things we can expect from iOS 7 next fall:

  1. In the default view for music, the user is presented with grid of album covers, and when clicked each album will expand in the style of springboard folders. The new Remote app for iPad mimics this behavior and I would be shocked if iOS 7 doesn’t bring this behavior to the iPad’s music app. It is so much cleaner than the present method, which pops up a modal window just like iOS 3.2 on the original iPad. Additionally, this interface would be welcomed in the iPad’s Video app, which itself feels dated and is, dare I say, ugly.
  2. Playlist creation is simplified, if a little hard to discover. Click and drag a song to the right side of the window and iTunes will give you the option to add it to a current playlist or start a new one. This would be perfect on the iPad.
  3. Cover Flow, which originated in iTunes, is gone. Did anyone ever like Cover Flow1? If I had to guess, I’d say Steve did. I would like and expect to see Cover Flow slowly vanish from the rest of Apple’s systems.
  4. And there’s Up Next, by far my favorite addition to iTunes 11. Up Next lets you put a song in a queue (or even push it to the front of the queue) of songs that will play next. When that queue runs out, iTunes will go back to playing whatever it was before, whether that be an album or a playlist or a shuffle. Of this I am most sure, that Up Next will make it into iOS 7 for both the iPhone and iPad next year2. Up Next marks the first dramatic change and improvement iTunes’s made to my music listening.
  5. Finally, MiniPlayer. Call it a wildcard, but I’d love to see something more aligned to the new MiniPlayer come to iOS. Currently, iOS places basic music controls in the multitasking bar. This widget mirrors the functionality of the old iTunes MiniPlayer with play, pause, and skip controls. iTunes 11 adds the ability to search your library and add songs to Up Next right from the MiniPlayer. These features greatly improve the music listening experience while multitasking on your Mac, and they’d be a gem on your iDevices.

  1. Seriously, when was the last time you used it, even on an iPhone? ↩︎

  2. If I’m wrong, it’ll be because Up Next is slipped into version 6.x. ↩︎