Revamped iTunes 11 arrives: Up Next, new MiniPlayer, deep iCloud integration, more

The Wall Street Journal, Apple’s unofficial mouthpiece, was right reporting yesterday that iTunes 11 would launch at some point today. Yes, the eleventh major version of the decade-old media jukebox software just went live on Apple’s servers. You can download it manually by heading over to Apple’s iTunes Download page (and reload if necessary). Alternatively, choose Software Update from the Mac’s Apple menu or run the Software Update app available in the Start menu in Windows…

By the way, don’t panic if iTunes 11 is not yet available for you – these things take time to propagate.

So, what’s new?

For starters, iTunes 11 sports a new icon.

With that off our backs, iTunes 11 is a major makeover so it’s easier on the eyes, bu that doesn’t mean Apple forgot improving user experience in other regards.

Specifically, the new iTunes sports tighter iCloud integration, redesigned artist pages with pictures and nice photo galleries, a new Mini player, overhauled library view, other expanded views, In the Store recommendations, the Up Next feature for queuing up songs, the Preview History button for a quick rundown of all the iTunes Store media sampled and more.

iTunes now features simplified views of exactly what you want. Looking for an album? Click Music and that’s all you’ll see. Do the same for movies, TV shows, apps — and everything else. It’s browsing made more intuitive.

As already mentioned, iTunes 11 is a major visual redesign with improved interface focused on larger graphics. This is how a view of your apps looks like (via MacStories).

Better iCloud integration lets you stream purchases to any of your devices. You can also start watching a movie or listening to a song on one device and pick up where you left off on another, thanks to iCloud.

John Paczkowski of AllThingsD shared a few nice screenshots.

Here’s your full changelog:

Introducing the new iTunes. With a dramatically simplified player, a completely redesigned Store, and iCloud features you’ll love—this is the best iTunes yet.

Completely Redesigned. iTunes makes it more fun to explore and enjoy your music, movies, and TV shows. You’ll love the beautiful edge-to-edge design, custom designs for each album, movie, or TV show in your library, and getting personal recommendations any time you click In the Store.

A New Store. The iTunes Store has been completely redesigned and now features a clean look that makes it simpler than ever to see what’s hot and discover new favorites.

Play purchases from iCloud. Your music, movie, and TV show purchases in iCloud now appear inside your library. Just sign-in with your Apple ID to see them. Double-click to play them directly from iCloud or download a copy you can sync to a device or play while offline.

Up Next. It’s now simple to see which songs are playing next, all from a single place. Just click the Up Next icon in the center display and they’ll instantly appear. You can even reorder, add, or skip songs whenever you like.

New MiniPlayer. You can now do a whole lot more with a lot less space. In addition to showing what’s playing, MiniPlayer now includes album art, adds Up Next, and makes it easy to search for something new to play—all from a smaller and more elegant design.

Improved search. It’s never been easier to find what you’re looking for in iTunes. Just type in the search field and you’ll instantly see results from across your entire library. Select any result and iTunes takes you right to it.

Playback syncing. iCloud now remembers your place in a movie or TV show for you. Whenever you play the same movie or episode from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV, it will continue right where you left off.

Let us know how you like iTunes 11 down in the comments and do report any bugs and little things you stumble upon.