iTunes 11

Author: Colin | Published: 18/1/13
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Although I love physical media, I listen to much of my music at home from my laptop and iPhone relayed through an Apple tv. I’m therefore pretty reliant on iTunes. It’s a reasonable music asset management and playback tool. As a way of viewing covers it was just about okay though it was only ever possible to view one element of the cover – there was no way to view the back or inside cover. However, there was the choice to display a grid of flat album covers flat against an optionally dark background and resize them up to a certain scale or, alternatively, view them even larger in coverflow mode with track details displayed below. Both views made it easy to see playcounts which is important to me so I could pick up listening to an album from the point I left off.

Then iTunes 11 came along, I read Daring Fireball’s positive appraisal and responded to his advice to “give it a go”. This was a mistake. It’s a nightmare to downgrade again and in the end I gave up trying. I dislike the latest version of iTunes because it removed both coverflow and the ability to resize covers in the grid display which now has a white background with no option to make it dark. These were replaced by the gimmick of the limited listing ‘reveal’ which displays a slightly larger version of the cover with the edges blurred out (this looks terrible to me) and the background colour determined by an algorithm that assigns a colour scheme made up of the cover’s dominant hues. I also have to change views to see playcounts which is silly. These design choices further reduce the visual experience of music and reduce ease of use, seemingly merely for the sake of change. Unfortunately, there’s no viable alternative in the Apple universe.

However, I’m writing this not to complain, but to point out that there’s a way to see a larger version of the cover art that is slightly hidden and might be of interest to cover art fiends like myself. If you click the miniature cover in the player window, it opens it up in a pop up window with a Quicktime player and window bar that appears and disappears on mouseover. You can even click the little green button to maximise the image and minimise the background iTunes window.