That’s right, no new iTunes on Halloween for you! As you know, Apple promised to release iTunes 11, a major overhaul, by the end of October. Now it seems yesterday’s management re-shuffling has affected the release schedule a bit as the company said today that iTunes is “is taking longer than expected”.
The new release date is now being pegged at the end of November, a month from now, as Apple needs some more time to get the new iTunes right. That’s a repeat of last fall, when Apple similarly postponed the launch of iTunes Match.
And perhaps inadvertently, Apple may have silenced the critics, just like that: instead of shipping prematurely, which reportedly was one of Scott Forstall’s deadly sins (Maps, Siri), Apple is now taking its time to have such a critical piece of software in the perfectly solid shape before getting it out of the door…
Peter Kafka of AllThingsD has this statement from Apple’s spokesman Tom Neumayr:
The new iTunes is taking longer than expected and we wanted to take a little extra time to get it right. We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface, and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November.
Neumayr declined to answer whether this delay has anything to do with the departure of iOS chief Scott Forstall that Apple yesterday announced.
During the September 12 iPhone 5 keynote, Apple announced that iTunes 11 will be due by the end of this month, confirming a rumor first published by Bloomberg. Mentions of iCloud integration in iTunes 11 first appeared in reporting by 9to5Mac dating back to April.
In addition to a minimalistic, cleaned up interface, the new iTunes blurs the line between local and iCloud content. Specifically, it automatically puts all of your purchases into your local library, regardless of which device you used to make the purchase.
And by working in tandem with the cloud, the jukebox app now remembers where you are in your favorite movies or TV shows no matter which device you’re viewing on.
Apple even put out a press release to pre-announce the software, explaining some of the features:
The redesigned iTunes features a full-window interface on your Mac or PC that’s simpler and cleaner, always keeping your favorite content in front of you. The new library view makes it easier to view your music, TV shows and movies, allowing you to click on the category of content you want to browse and that’s all you will see.
The expandable album view allows you to see track listings for an individual album, while letting you continue to browse your music library. The new search feature searches across your entire iTunes library, including music, movies and TV shows.
The re-imagined MiniPlayer makes it easy to control your music with a small tool bar, you can skip to the next song or search for something new to play—all without having to open your library. Up Next is a fun new way to see what songs are coming up and queue songs or albums you want to hear next.
More on iTunes 11 is available on Apple’s web site, which at post time still listed the software as coming in October.
Look, some fallout was expected from yesterday’s staff shake ups at the top, especially with Federighi, Ive and Mansfield distributing among themselves Forstall’s role. If I wanted to be ironical, I’d say iTunes 11 is taking longer than expected because engineers working on it don’t want to get sacked.
It’s not the end of the world.
Look on it from the bright side – Apple will better serve you by releasing a feature-complete, fully-tested version of such a critical piece of software rather than ship just to meet deadlines, which is apparently what contributed to the iOS 6 Maps fiasco and Siri woes.
In other shocking news today, Disney snapped up Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion and announced Star Wars: Episode VII, VIII and IX.