It's Officially Crazy Week

The iPad arrives int he hands of users in just a few short days, and it has officially become crazy week. Yes, I have tried to convince myself to run out and try to grab one on Saturday (for review purposes, natch), but honestly, I am waiting until the WiFi+3G version comes out. And I really want to try to hold out for the second generation. So, you won’t be seeing a review on this site until anywhere from a few weeks to a year. That said, I will try to get hands on one to play with for a bit, and give my impressions as soon as I can.

But users aren’t the only ones preparing for the iPad. Our favorite fruit company has been issuing software to us all left and right for days. Aperture was recently updated with iPad compatibility (along with many other fixes in general for the program), Mac OS X 10.6.3 was released, and today iPhoto was given compatibility along with the latest version of iTunes, version 9.1.

Now, I’ve been saying for at least a year now that iTunes needs to be rewritten from the ground up. It’s just been feeling like it is getting more and more bloated. I also think it could benefit from being rewritten into Cocoa from Carbon. OS X has many technologies now that only Cocoa apps can utilize. The Finder, in my opinion, saw a great boost in stability and speed by transitioning to Cocoa in Snow Leopard. Also, there has to be a metric ton of legacy code that is just cruft waiting to be discarded.

I still hope that the next major version of iTunes (iTunes X sounds like a good name, doesn’t it?) will see at minimum a rewrite into Cocoa, and on the more extreme end of the spectrum, a reimagining of the user interface.

But let’s get our heads out of the clouds and discuss the present — iTunes 9.1. Maybe it’s just me and my lofty hopes, but it feels — dare I say — snappier. It’s still definitely a Carbon app, but it seems faster at just about everything. And it throws in some new features such as iPad support, finer control of Genius Mixes, support for ePub books and books purchased from the iBookstore, and a handy checkbox to allow you to compress the music that goes into your iPod or iPhone to 128 kbps on the fly instead of loading the full 256 kbps songs that you get from the iTunes Store. 

All-in-all, iTunes 9.1 is a modest feature update, but performance seems to be enhanced, and to me that is an unsung hero of the feature list.