iTunes 11.0.3: New MiniPlayer Features

As TMO's Jeff Gamet pointed out yesterday, iTunes has been updated to version 11.0.3. In this article, we're going to go over what's new with the MiniPlayer (and what you may not have known you could do with it before!). If you haven't updated your version of iTunes yet, be sure to pop over to Software Update and do that to follow along with me here.

Have you updated? Great. To access the MiniPlayer, either click the toolbar icon in the upper-right corner of iTunes' window…

…or press Option-Command-M (Window > Switch to MiniPlayer) or Option-Command-3 (which will bring up the MiniPlayer as an additional window instead of replacing the default iTunes view).

Once you've got it open, you'll note it looks a little different from its previous version. Here's the way it used to look:

And here's how it looks in 11.0.3:

As before, if you hover over the top toolbar, you'll see your player controls, but now there's a song progress bar with a playhead that you can drag around.

Also new is the nifty album art view. To see it, click the album thumbnail in the upper-left corner.

(You'll dismiss the album art the same way—just click that same thumbnail.)

As you can see from my screenshot above, the player controls disappear when you're not hovering over the album art, but the name of each new song will appear briefly at the top anyway—a nice touch, I think.

One other thing that's different is the Airplay button. Instead of selecting a traditional Airplay icon, you'll now click on the volume button to bring up the controls.

And finally, here are a few things that are the same as before, but hey, you may not have known about them, and I love you guys and want you to be happy. First of all, clicking on the small square in the upper-left corner will take you back to the main iTunes window (#1 in my screenshot below).

Secondly, clicking the right-pointing arrow (#2 in the screenshot) will give you some Up Next options, the choice to visit the iTunes Store page for that item, the ability to add to a playlist, and more.

And lastly, you can use the three-lined icon (#3 in the screenshot) to show or hide the Up Next selections. If you collapse that drawer, then the album art shows up by itself, just floating on your desktop. Which I also think is pretty spiffy.

My album art is hanging out, waiting for me to hover over it to see my controls. You could do this art-only view in previous versions of the MiniPlayer by double-clicking on the album's thumbnail, but I always thought it looked kind of clunky and unfinished. Now it's pretty slick, and you get more options when you hover over it than you did before.

So what say you, Apple faithful? Do you like these changes? I'm kind of jazzed—I've always liked the MiniPlayer—but I'm still not fond of iTunes 11 in general. That is what is known on the Cupertino campus as a "character flaw," I'm sure.