Apple Introduces iTunes 5

At a special event in San Francisco Wednesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the fifth generation iTunes client, which brings to the table a number of new features along with additions to the iTunes Music Store. Jobs also announced that Apple has surpassed 10 million iTunes accounts.

iTunes 5 closely resembles version 4 with minor adjustments to the user interface. Playlists can now be organized into folders and a new search bar can seek out specific types of content, such as podcasts or albums. The beefed up search bar has also been to the iTunes Music Store.

A Smart Shuffle feature was added to version 5 in response to feedback that iTunes' shuffle option was not random enough. "We've actually added Smart Shuffle to make it less random. But it seems more random," said Jobs.

Within the iTunes Music Store, Apple has added user reviews - a feature that has long made Amazon a staple for online buyers. In fact, Jobs noted that iTunes accounts purchase an average of 60 songs, making the company's music store "the second largest internet store behind only Amazon."

Parental controls are also now available in the iTunes Music Store, which prevent the purchase of explicit albums. The addition comes as Apple is making all 15 albums from Madonna available for download.

Harry Potter audio books can now be purchased from Apple as well, along with a special edition Harry Potter iPod that has the Hogwarts crest engraved on the back.

Outside of music, Apple has apparently made friends with its rivals up in Redmond. Contacts and calendars from Microsoft Outlook can now be synced to an iPod using iTunes.

iTunes 5 is available for download now for both Mac OS X and Windows.

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