Ars Technica takes a look at the history of iTunes

The first version of iTunes was released nearly 12 years ago in January of 2001. There was no iPod yet, or content store, it was merely pitched as awesome jukebox software with the tagline “Rip.Mix.Burn.”

Since then, iTunes has undergone a number of transformations. And with version 11 of the software due out any day now, Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng wanted to take a look at its many faces over the years…

The article takes a look at every major iTunes release, from version 1 to 10. The entire thing is worth the read, as it really gives you an idea of how much the software has changed. But here are a few notable points:

  • iTunes 2.0 was released alongside the original iPod in late 2001. It was still for Macs only, and synced with Apple’s new MP3 player over FireWire.
  • iTunes 4.0 was released in April of 2003, and was the first version to include the iTunes Music Store. At the time, people were either buying CDs or pirating music, so Apple selling individual songs for $0.99 was a big deal.
  • iTunes 7.0 debuted in September 2006, and brought with it CoverFlow and iTunes Movies. Originally, there were only about 75 titles available from Pixar, Disney, TouchTone and Miramax.

After iTunes 7, there really hasn’t been any significant changes in the software. iTunes 8 brought the Genius feature, 9 added Home Sharing, and 10 added Apple’s now-defunct social networking service known as Ping.

So what does iTunes 11 have in store for us? Well from Apple’s preview back in September, we know that its going to have a revamped UI, a redesigned Mini player, better iCloud integration and other new features.

The update was supposed to launch in October, but Apple pushed it back to November to make sure they “get it right.” According to recent reports, though, it could literally drop any day now. So stay tuned.

We’ll let you know as soon as it hits.

[Image credit: MacRumors Guides]