iTunes 9: Performance improvements

Posted by Pierre Igot in: iTunes
September 10th, 2009 • 3:52 pm

Various new iTunes 9 features will be discussed at length by other outlets. But, as someone with a very large music collection (over 300 GB of files), I thought I should mention something that is not mentioned in the release notes and yet has a very significant impact on my daily use of the application: the performance is substantially snappier.

For example, in iTunes 8, when I selected a track, brought up the modal information dialog box and then pressed command-P (for “Previous”) or command-N (for “Next”) to jump from track to track without exiting the modal dialog box, there was always a very noticeable delay. iTunes had a decent buffer which meant that keystrokes effected during the delay were still registered and not lost altogether, but it was still rather painful to use.

Now in iTunes 9, things are significantly quicker. The jump from track to track is almost instantaneous on my three-year-old Mac Pro. It is not quite instantaneous, but it is much better. Other performance aspects are also improved throughout the application, which is much appreciated—although this will have to be confirmed through on-going use of the application for everyday tasks.

And all that, even though, as mentioned by John Gruber, iTunes 9 is still a 32-bit Carbon application. Here’s hoping that there will be even more performance improvements when Apple releases a 64-bit Cocoa version of the application (which will have to happen eventually).

I also quite like the addition of the option to display the “Artists” and “Albums” columns on the left rather than on top in the column browser mode. My “Artists” and “Albums” lists are so long that it is much better to be able to see more items at once, with less scrolling. (You can still revert to the previous “on top” display mode via the “View” menu if you like it better.)

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