Apple has updated its iTunes digital-music software to version 3. New features include Smart Playlists, which Apple calls “revolutionary new way to listen to your music”. Other new features in iTunes 3 include Sound Check for consistent volume playback, and support for audio programming from

During his keynote speech at Macworld Expo New York, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that 14 million copies of iTunes have distributed since its introduction 18 months ago. Version 3 is available as a free download to Mac OS X users only (version 10.1.4 or later), and is included with Apple’s iPod digital-music player.

Smarter play Smart Playlists automatically and dynamically update their songs based on simple rules set by the user. For example, a user can specify that a Smart Playlist contain every song by a given artist, and when new songs by that artist are added to iTunes’ music library, they will automatically appear in this playlist. Or, a user can specify that a Smart Playlist contain their 25 most-listened-to songs, which will be dynamically selected based on the up-to-the-minute play counts for all the songs in their iTunes library.

In iTunes 3, Smart Playlists make it easy for customers to automatically create mixes of their favorite songs from their music library based on any criteria they choose - artist, genre, play count, release date and more. These mixes can dynamically change and grow as the user’s music library grows. Smart Playlists work with iTunes’ new song rating feature so that users can identify their favourite music and have it automatically added to a Smart Playlist for playback on their Mac or their iPod.

Easy listening “iTunes 3 with Smart Playlists is a major leap forward in the digital music revolution,” said Jobs. “iTunes 3 and iPod provide the easiest to use and most advanced digital music experience available, and are setting the pace for the industry.”

With support for Audible content, iTunes 3 allows Mac users to access a broad range of audio programming over the Internet. Through, customers can choose from over 4,500 audiobooks and 14,000 other audio programmes.

Both iTunes 3 and iPod also support Sound Check, which automatically adjusts the volume of songs for a more consistent listening experience.