Apple may have been focusing on its recent iOS 7 release, but the company has still found time to roll out a major update to iTunes with the release of iTunes 11.1. Despite the minor revision number, version 11.1 ships with a number of notable new features.
The headline new feature is iTunes Radio, which Apple has set up to compete with other streaming music services such as Last.fm and Pandora. Over 250 stations are available covering different genres, or users can create their own using a favorite artist or song as a starting point.
The service is free, but ad-supported unless you’re a subscriber to the iTunes Match service. At the current time iTunes Radio is only available to those who live in the US or who hold a US iTunes account, but is also accessible on mobile devices via the recent iOS 7 update.
Those unhappy at the loss of the iTunes DJ feature from iTunes 11 will be glad to hear a new Genius Shuffle option has been added to version 11.1, effectively replacing its functionality.
Meanwhile, Podcast Stations allow users to group favorite podcasts into “stations”, which update automatically with new episodes. The stations are stored in iCloud, allowing them to sync to the Podcasts app for iOS.
You’ll need to upgrade to iTunes 11.1 if you want to sync to your recently updated iOS 7 device, but one reward for doing so is that syncing apps to your devices is easier — users now get to view multiple home screens (and app folders) in a single window, simplifying the process of dragging and dropping apps between them.
One final change will affect Mac users who upgrade to OS X Mavericks on its release — books will no longer appear in iTunes, but instead be found in their own dedicated iBooks app.
iTunes 11.1.0 is available now as a free download for Windows and Mac.