Feeds

Apple lands democracy on fanboi party-goers

iTunes' egalitarian DJ

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Apple released an update to its iTunes music-management application on Thursday. The updated version, iTunes 8.1, adds support for the third-generation iPod shuffle released on Wednesday, improves performance, and patches two security vulnerabilities.

Plus, it lets fanboi party-goers request and vote on music.

The iTunes DJ feature replaces the old Party Shuffle and adds one slick new twist: You can now use Apple's Remote app on your iPhone or iPod touch - available for free on the iTunes App Store (iTunes link) - to request and vote for songs when an iTunes DJ mix is playing. If you're throwing a party and your crowd includes a horde of iPhone and iPod touch users, you can allow them all to view your iTunes DJ mix on their handhelds to control the tunes - and, yes, you can password-protect the mix to prevent your friends with bad taste from mucking up the evening.

iTunes 8.1 iTunes DJ mix - iTunes view

Your guests can vote on songs in your iTunes DJ mix - if they have the password

iTunes 8.1 iTunes DJ mix - iPhone view

Messages from iTunes 8.1 can entice partygoers to vote for songs

Also added is the ability to AutoFill any iPod - a feature previously available only to the iPod shuffle. AutoFill can pack your 'Pod with songs chosen from either your entire library or from any playlist you choose. You can set AutoFill to choose songs either randomly from the location you specify or to prefer songs you've rated higher than others.

The Parental controls (iTunes > Preferences > Parental) have been updated to allow you to disable access either to the entire iTunes Store or limit access on the Store to just the educational offerings at iTunes U. Unfortunately, this new "feature" disables access for all users of iTunes - and not merely for users you select.

Apple also touts the ability to now allow CDs to be ripped at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus (256kbps, 44.1kHz, VBR, optimized for MMX/SSE2). This, of course, is not a new feature - you've always been able to rip CDs at a variety of encoding levels, up to and including AIFF. The tweak here is merely the addition of a setting in iTunes > Preferences > General > Import Settings that specifically names an encoder as iTunes Plus when you select AAC Encoder in the Import Using drop-down menu - useful for the codec-challenged, we assume.

According to Apple, the new version is "faster and more responsive" when working with large music collections, syncing both music and photos, and browsing the iTunes Store. In our testing, the browsing improvements were apparent, with minimal slowdowns occurring even after browsing many pages - a real annoyance in iTunes 8.0.

Two security patches are also included, one for Mac OS 10.4.10 or later plus Windows XP and Vista, and a second for Windows XP and Vista only.

The all-OS patch fixes a vuln in which a malicious podcast could pop up a dialog asking for your iTunes Store ID and password. Odds are, you're not dumb enough to fall for such a transparent phishing expedition, but more-naive users might. iTunes will now detect such a ploy and warn you by "clarifying the origin of the authentication request in the dialog."

The Windows-only patch fixes a Digital Audio Access Protocol (DAAP) vuln that could result in a denial of service.

Mac users can download iTunes 8.1 through Apple Menu > Software update. Both Mac and Windows users can download it here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.