With Apple’s recent iTunes 10.5 update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, the popular media management software adds flexible online cloud-based music storage to its features and introduces wireless computer synchronization. As a result, the service now demands less time and active management from users, minimizing prior inconveniences and making the process of purchasing and enjoying digital tunes, apps and videos less cumbersome.
Available as a free download, enhancements dovetail cleanly with the new iOS5 upgrade to remove the need for physical connections to synchronize content, including digital music, courtesy of WiFi-based wireless syncing with Mac and PC. Further improvements include support for tapping into iCloud’s online storage functions to automatically download current or past purchases made from one Apple device to all associated gadgets via 3G or WiFi connection.
Added options to leverage the service’s upcoming iTunes Match capability ($24.99/year) also enable upload of music ripped from CD or purchased from other distribution services straight to the online cloud. Once archived, these tracks can be identically copied or streamed on-demand to devices at 256-Kbps AAC levels, regardless of the quality of the original track’s encoding. As a bonus time-saving measure, if songs are already found contained within iTunes’ 20 million-strong library, they’re automatically added to one’s iCloud account, with no need to re-upload.
Ensuring that users’ digital music collection populates identically across iPhone, iPod or iPad without multiple connections and transfers, or manual prompting, and allowing more portability across devices, new revisions appear a welcome boon. Minimizing purchasers’ previous gripes regarding the amount of time, effort and obscure workarounds required to transport e-books, apps, songs and video across individual devices, all hope to alleviate user frustration. While power users will clearly derive more benefit than passing window shoppers, additions ultimately add considerable user-friendliness, and point towards an increasingly interconnected and streaming on-call future for products sold through Apple’s online storefront.
Given its practical expansions, the new version of iTunes should be of interest to everyday shoppers who’ve previously resisted the company’s previous barrage of less far-reaching patches and revisions. Retrievable at no cost and capable of making everyday use of digital audio and supporting mobile devices less taxing, holdouts may finally have reason to consider breaking down and adding it to their download queue.