Apple has introduced a new version of iTunes at its “Let’s Rock” event in San Francisco.
The new version of iTunes introduces a new playlist functionality entitled “Genius Playlists”, which join the regular playlists and Smart playlists. The new Genius Playlist analyses the track being played, and selects similar tracks in your iTunes library. It is similar in function to online services such as Last.fm and Rhapsody.
Steve Jobs said: “it automatically make playlists from songs in your music library that go great together in just one click.”
Genius works by comparing your music library to algorithms that Apple has created. These algorithms are stored in the Apple “cloud” and pushed to your computer once per week. Information about your music, conversely, is upload to Apple’s computer network.
Presumably pre-empting any concerns about privacy, Steve Jobs pointed out that at no time would the information your Mac sends to the Cloud contain any personal data. “It’s sent completely anonymously” said Jobs.
The Genius feature also sports a new Genius Sidebar that recommends music from the iTunes Store based upon the songs that you are playing in a Genius playlist.
iTunes 8 also sports a new browser for viewing your albums that shares many similarities with the photo browsing system found in iPhoto.
Finally, iTunes 8 now offers improved accessibility including access to the Voice Over functionality found in OS X Leopard.
iTunes 8 is available for download today.