I've been using iTunes for a while now, and until lately I haven't wanted to use it for more than just updating my iPod. Recently though, Apple has added a number of additions that are making me like it more and more.

iTunes DJ

The last update to iTunes, I believe 8.1, included a couple new features that everyone should check out. If you don't already know about the Genius playlist, you really need to play with it. It is Pandora for your home library. Pick a song, and a playlist is made automatically filled with similar music. Genius also scans your library and will find recommendations for new music based on what you have. The first new update is the replacement of the "Party Shuffle" playlist generator with the new and improved "iTunes DJ". The iTunes DJ allows you to select a song, or set of songs, and iTunes will magically create a playlist of songs that are similar. The coolest part is you can have others with iPods or iPhones to request songs to the iTunes DJ. Here's what Apple had to say about it:
Requesting and voting on songs
While you’re playing an iTunes DJ mix, you can use the Remote application on your iPhone or iPod touch to request songs. You can also allow guests to request songs to play, and to vote for songs. Songs that are voted for play sooner.

iTunes Widgets

The next couple of features you should know about, are not new to iTunes, but are new to me, and have to do with sharing your tastes. Apple released a set of "widgets" that allow you to extend your publishing capabilities by adding a little flare of flash to your website. The first of the two widgets is called My iTunes. It is a " simple, self-updating add-on for your web page, social networking profile, or blog. Use My iTunes to share your top reviews, favorite artists, and new music, movies, and TV shows from the iTunes Store with anyone who visits your site." The second widget is iMix. iMix allows you to create playlists, both with your library, and songs you may not already have, but like, from the iTunes store. You can then display your iMix on your blog, social networking profile, or website just by clicking “Publish to the Web” on any iMix page. iTunes builds the code for you, and creates a feed of your iMix.

iTunes U

Download Free Educational Content

Find lectures, language lessons, audiobooks, and podcasts and download them for free. iTunes U is available to everyone, whether you’re a student or not.

Browse Distinguished Institutions

Explore over 75,000 educational audio and video files from top universities, famous museums, PBS stations, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn on the Go

iTunes U audio and video files are called tracks. Download tracks one at a time. Or subscribe to an ongoing course or series so your tracks download as soon as they’re available. iTunes creates a folder with the provider’s name and places your tracks inside. Connect your iPod or iPhone to sync your tracks for on-the-go education. Or watch video lectures on your TV with Apple TV.

About the Author

Ali Bajwa
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