Yesterday, pretty much everywhere I went, I overheard people discussing the new iTunes 11 upgrade that had just launched–on the subway, in a movie theater, on line for lunch at the deli. And I must say, the reports are very mixed.

Now that the new iTunes 11 is available for download (albeit s-l-o-w-l-y), and with a few people admittedly a bit gun-shy of Apple updates, post iOS6, here are the the top features you can expect–whether you think you’ll like them or not. –Liz

iTunes 11

New Media Player
First of
all, the media player looks totally different which always takes some
getting used to. It’s much more visual which for me, is easier than
searching through text but I’m not entirely sure if this is an
improvement or just a change. Time will tell.

iCloud Syncing
Now, you will finally (!) be able to sync
all your music purchases automatically to all your devices so you can
listen anytime, so your kids have access on the tablet while you have
what you need on your laptop. I also just love the iCloud storage in
general, considering how much space even a small library can take up
(and how
many apps my kids want to download). You can also download items onto a device if you’re headed offline, like for travel.

ITunes Match
Sign up for the new iTunes Match
and it can take songs from your library that aren’t already in the
iTunes store, like things you’ve downloaded from CDs, will be matched,
which is faster than uploading it all yourself. There’s been mixed
reviews on how well this is working just yet but hopefully it will
improve. Also, it’s questionable as to how much you might use this if
you’ve moved away from purchases and towards subscription streaming services.
(Which also explains why this was developed–Apple wants to sell more
albums, right?)  One more question: I haven’t yet figured out if the
“matching” songs sound as good as originals.

iTunes 11 sync

This lets you search your library for songs that go well together, sort of taking a page from Pandora.
This way you can sort by genre or vibe, creating easy playlists like
“Kids Tunes I Prefer to Be Out of the Room For” or “Exercise Music to
Crank Super Loud.” Of course it also means they can make recos–so you can buy more songs.

Mini Player
may be one of the coolest additions as all. The MiniPlayer keeps your
player small and out of the way on your desktop (like an iChat window),
but big enough so you can see what song is coming up an do some basic
searching or changing the track order. In fact, it’s shocking this
feature never existed sooner when you think of it. Also there’s the “Up
Next” feature which mirrors the Spotify queue. Nice to be able to change
your playlist on the fly.

iTunes 11 MiniPlayer

So how are you finding the iTunes 11 upgrade so far? We’d love to hear your thoughts.