iTunes 8 is finally available! We’re going to take you step-by-step through the installation process, and also show you some of iTunes 8’s key features, including Genius, grid view, and Magnetosphere.
Note: Skip down for video demo
We’ll be demonstrating the iTunes 8 installation process for Mac.
The file size for iTunes 8 is 55.9 MB. (It’s slightly larger for PC at 64.7 MB.)
When you begin the installation process, you will go through the same steps as prior versions of iTunes. Keep in mind that iTunes 8 has new Terms and Conditions, so be sure to take a look at them.
One difference is that you must purchase from your local iTunes store. For instance, if you are in Canada to visit relatives and want to download some music, movies, or shows, you will have to buy from the Canadian iTunes store, as you will not be able to access the iTunes account from your home country. (So if you want to download some quality NBC programming with your iTunes USA account, you won’t be able to from the Great White North, or anywhere else abroad.)
You will be reminded that iTunes 8 will take up 36.3 MB of space. Make sure your computer has enough storage:
iTunes 8 will require QuickTIme 7.5.5, but do not worry, as it will update it automatically:
In our case, we did not have to reboot our computer to finish the installation. However, other users have reported that they had to reboot.
When you launch iTunes 8 for the first time, it will start the process of creating artwork thumbnails. This is due to the fact that iTunes 8 has a new grid view option and it needs thumbnails for it to show. The process may take a while, based on the size of your library
Genius Configuration Process
One of the features of iTunes 8 is Genius, a music recommendation engine.
Here’s how to set it up:
iTunes will then begin a 3-step configuration process for Genius, in which it will:
1. Collect information about your iTunes library
2. Send that information to Apple
3. Deliver recommendations to iTunes
The Genius configuration process:
click to enlarge
If you have a large music library, brace yourself for a long wait. In our case, it took 40 minutes for the configuration process to complete.
Good news: while Genius is being configured, you can still use iTunes.
After Genius is installed, you will see the Genius icon with rotating arrows under Playlists, and the icons below in the bottom right-hand corner of iTunes:
Just click on any song you would like to play, and then click the Genius icon.
The Genius results will show inside Genius side bar.
If you do not like the idea of sending your data to Apple, you can turn off Genius by going to Store->Turn Off Genius:
You will be asked if you’re sure you want to turn off Genius:
If you choose to turn Genius on again, the configuration will be much faster.
Grid View Overview
If you have an obscure music collection, your grid view may look like this:
Of course, if you have artwork for all of your albums, it will look much nicer:
When you hover your mouse over an album, you will be able to click the Play Album option:
Unfortunately, you can only control whether or not you want to play an album through the thumbnail.
The use of grid view is based on your musical preferences. You may like it if you are the type of person who listens to music on a Fire-and-Forget basis. If you like to skip songs or stick to playlists, you won’t find much use for grid view.
Magnetosphere Visualizer Demo
First, select Magnetosphere as your default visualizer by going to View -> Visualizer -> Magnetosphere:
Then Select Show Visualizer.
Click here for Magnetosphere Video or you can watch the video below.
iTunes 8 Demo Video
There is plenty to like about iTunes 8. We enjoy watching our downloaded shows in high def, and the oh-so-cool Magnetosphere mesmerizes us.
Genius is a nice concept, but it remains to be seen whether or not the music recommendations offered by Genius are as spot-on as Pandora or other recommendations engines. Right now Genius acts like juvenile delinquent, as the selections it offers are hit-or-miss.
Grid view is the only new feature that underwhelmed us. It’s only impressive if you are serious about having artwork for every single album in your library.
Overall, iTunes 8 is a fine upgrade on an already-superb multimedia player. It will be interesting to see how well iTunes 8 pairs up with the 2.1 firmware.