Bigger than an iPod nano

iTunes 5 for Windows looks quite different to iTunes 4. After the square “LCD display” and the lack of a wide window border, the third difference I noticed was the combined menu- and title-bar.

Immediately, this prompted a horrible flashback to Netscape 8's appearance and wondering why they'd done it. After a few seconds I realised they'd cleverly incorporated OS X's trademark menu bar, that sits right at the top of the screen in order to benefit from Fitts' law. When iTunes is maximised, its menu is right at the top of the screen - another covert demonstration to Windows users of Apple's user interface superiority.

Except that it isn't. There's a several-pixel gap between the top edge of the screen and the clickable areas of the menu items. And there's a similar gap between the window's Close button and the top-right corner of the screen. That's just stupid.

The LCD display has been improved over iTunes 4. It now affords two lines to display which song is playing - the top line is always the song's title, while the second alternates between the artist and album from which the song came. In iTunes 4, all three were shown in rotation, so the song's title wasn't always visible... which it really should be. The elapsed time is now displayed to the left of the progress meter, with the negative remaining time (or optionally the total track time) to its right. This is much more efficient than just showing one of these at once, along with a label, and taking up an entire line of the display.

Podcasts are now fully integrated with the music library, which was inevitable but meant some of my smart playlists needed augmenting to exclude them. I like the new search bar, although I'm not sure if I'll actually find it to be of any real use.

But: when in Party Shuffle, I still can't use the search box without first switching to Library view. It makes perfect sense to be able to search the Library from Party Shuffle, for example when searching for a song to add, so it's daft having the search box disabled.

And right-clicking on context menu items still doesn't work; neither does using the menu key to activate a context menu.

Insert your own summary.