The iTunes logo was due for an update, but I wonder if they couldn't have done something a little more interesting.

After a few hours with the new version of iTunes, here’s what I can say so far:

Performance

  • Performance definitely seems snappier. I have a pretty large music and media library, but I’m able to move around much more quickly. Clicking on actions such as checking for app updates are definitely more responsive.

Graphics

  • Overall, I like the new layout. Everything is just a little bit cleaner. New icons in the Library bar look nice. The changes they made to the way album artwork gets grouped together helps reduce some of the clutter.
  • I can’t help but think they could have done a little better with the new logo. I understand the reasoning behind taking the CD out of the logo, but the blue disc with a gradient in it is just a little blah. I’ll probably get used to it eventually.

Ping

  • I think the new social aspect of iTunes will be fun once it gets rolling. To be fair, it is a lot like what Microsoft did with the Zune social a few years ago, right down to the blocks of album artwork in your profile showing what a user likes. However, I think Apple has a much better chance of fostering an active social network since people are actually willing to admit that they own an iPod.
  • Content in this area is pretty sparse though. I’m surprised that Apple didn’t do more to ensure that more artists had profiles set up in the system before letting Ping loose to the public. I’m sure a lot of it comes down to taste, but the only real artist of interest to me in the initial suggestions for me was U2. Searching for other popular artists like Sting, John Mayer, The Beatles, Peter Gabriel, The Stray Cats and Brian Setzer turned up zero results.

Bugs

  • So far the only big problem I’ve encountered is that the second time I plugged in my iPad for syncing, I discovered that suddenly every app in both my iPhone and iPad lists were checked and it dutifully tried to sync every single one of the 300 and some odd apps that I’ve collected over the years. Not sure where that came from, but if it tries to do that every time I sync it’s going to get real old real fast.