iTunes 8.1 "Coming Soon": Faster, More Genius-y, Rip to iTunes Plus

Apple's new iPod shuffle 4GB with VoiceOver comes with a little something else: the requirement for iTunes 8.1, which is yet to be released. However, in somewhat uncharacteristic style for Apple, their iTunes product page already has a teaser up for just what we can expect in the (presumably immanent?) new version:

  • Speed improvements: iTunes gets a speed boost. Now when it comes to loading large libraries, browsing the iTunes Store, and syncing your devices, iTunes responds faster than before.
  • Genius sidebar for movies and TV shows: In addition to music, the Genius sidebar now introduces you to movies and TV shows you might also enjoy.
  • Import as iTunes Plus: Automatically import music from your CDs as higher quality, 256-Kbps iTunes Plus files. Watch a tutorial to find out how to

Looks like only tangential love at best for the iPhone -- not even any Genius for Apps feature! Anyone find anything particularly compelling?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

iTunes 8.1 "Coming Soon": Faster, More Genius-y, Rip to iTunes Plus


Well speed improvements had better be right, right now iTunes is the only thing that causes my laptop to grind to a halt for several seconds. And browsing the store sometimes is so sluggish you would think I was using dial-up.
Only question is will this update also force Safari 4 onto my computer?

perhaps an iphone firmware coming along, Google Location, Volume control on Apple's headphones support are long overdue....

Speed improvements for the win!
And at every update I keep hoping for the ability to rate my songs directly on the Apple TV (just like I can do on my iPod)... Didn't happen in the last ATV update and I realize iTunes 8.1 won't help me with that...

I also noticed the latest update for the iPhone app, Remote has some mention of 8.1.

i already rip at 320 kbps aac. you've been able to customize rip settings in itunes for ages. but yeah, speed improvements for itunes for windows would be very welcome.
and as far as safari 4, so far i love it on the mac. in windows, not so much with the love. i don't know why you'd want safari in windows anyway.

@iphone 3G, no I do use Firefox as my main browser. But the last time Windows iTunes users had to "upgrade" iTunes there was a nice surprise, Safari 3 was also installed on my computer without my consent. I'm just wondering if Apple is gonna force Safari 4 on me now as well.

Firefox 3.1 will have the speeded up java engine as well, so hang in there. A late breaking bug has held it up for another round of beta.


Iā€™m just wondering if Apple is gonna force Safari 4 on me now as well.

My bet is yes, because iTunes embeds much of Safari into anything to do with the Itunes store. In fact, I would imagine any speed improvements in iTunes are solely due to Safari fixes, with perhaps the sync issue that caused ridiculous multi-hour syncs being fixed as well.
Itunes takes over 10 seconds to launch on my Quad processor high end HP workstation with 4gig main memory. Its the slowest application I have on this box.
Any speed up will be appreciated.

@icebike, you know that has always been what I thought was wrong with the iTunes store when ever it lags or hangs for no reason. I just never put it together, it responds to the back/forward buttons on my mouse and behaves like a browser.
One of my friend's got a new Dell Studio XPS about a month ago with an Intel Core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM. The thing is so fast it boggles the mind, high end games can be played at the highest settings with everything turned all the way up. Yet iTunes still hangs and can be sluggish at times, takes nearly 10 seconds to launch I would say. Other programs (including the Zune software) open nearly instantly after your mouse click.

There are a number of things you can do to improve iTunes' initial load time.
In Store:
Select "Turn Off Genius" if not needed
In Edit/Preferences:

  • Sharing: uncheck "Look for shared libraries" if not needed
  • Apple TV: uncheck "Look for Apple TVs" if not needed
  • Devices: uncheck "Look for remote speakers connected with Air Tunes" if not needed
  • Devices: uncheck "Look for iPhone and iPod touch Remotes" if not needed.

I did all but the last item, as I use my iPhone and the Remote app, and my iTunes 8.1 initial load time is now about 4 seconds.
Machine specs:
Intel C2D E6600 @ 3GHz
WD Raptor 74GB HD
2GB DDR2-800

I've got 8.1 and I have turned all bs off, and it's still a slug, too much bloatware, safari sucks too. iTunes is installing and pinging all the time, drives me crazy. No offense, but apple is rotting. It's no fun at all. I used to love everything from apple, but now i turn and never return.