iTunes 11 is out for Windows, sucks way less

I generally don't mind using most Apple software. Heck, I quite like some of it. There is one glaring exception, though: iTunes for Windows. I only use iTunes to purchase music, and the experience is still atrocious every time—long load times, an unintuitive mess of an interface, and more rough edges than a pile of rocks.

Well, iTunes 11 came out late yesterday. Much to my surprise, the Windows version is actually a huge improvement over previous releases. The interface has gotten a makeover and is substantially more streamlined and elegant. Hiding the menu bar makes some features harder to access, but the leap in usability is sizable and very palpable nevertheless.

Not only that, but the thing actually loads quickly now. It opens as fast as any regular program, and jumping back and forth between the iTunes Store and the media library is quick and snappy. Before, doing those things would make my PC hang, even though I've got a quad-core processor and a reasonably fast solid-state drive playing host to my Windows installation and applications.

I'm still going to use Foobar2000 for music playback, since I'm too comfortable with the interface to switch. Still, I'm pleasantly surprised that Apple finally managed to make iTunes for Windows relatively painless to use. Kudos.

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