OK. I admit it. I have a problem: I am an iTunes
junkie. It's always had its share of annoyances but not enough to keep me from using its clean and simple interface. Thanks to yesterday's release of iTunes 7, most of the minor problems are gone. A lot of the press is going to the new feature-length film and game support. But, in my opinion, its the little improvements that make this the best release yet.
One of the biggest irritations that I have had with iTunes is the fact that it would only download album art for items that I purchased from the iTunes Music Store -- not music ripped from my own CDs. Note that there is a free application (written in .NET!) that will download album art from Amazon and insert it into iTunes but this is a bit cumbersome to use and not an ideal solution. And, the fact that Windows Media Player downloads album art for ripped music has only enhanced my irritation. Fortunately, with iTunes 7, this problem is gone. iTunes will now download album art for ripped music.
Another issue that I've had with iTunes in the past is the slight gap that is present between songs if the cross fade feature isn't enabled. This is most obvious on live recordings where it causes a pause in the crowd noise. iTunes 7 corrects this problem by storing "gap information" for each song. You can still use the cross fade feature but, if you specify that an album is "gapless" cross fade won't work on it.
My final iTunes annoyance is only partially solved in iTunes 7: copying music from your iPod to a computer. Supporting this feature is fraught with copyright issues so iTunes 7 only allows you to copy music that was purchased from the iTunes Music Store to computers that are authorized to play media purchased on the same account. This isn't a perfect solution but a definite improvement.
iTunes 7 is definitely the best release so far. These "quality of life" improvements along with several other UI enhancements have renewed my fanatacism. Plus, I downloaded "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" last night.