I just upgraded to the latest version of iTunes (version 8.1) and I can’t really comment on whether it’s any faster as it wasn’t that slow for me in the first place.
Supposedly it improves the speed for people with large libraries (I have around 2500 songs, I think.)
Anywho…. onto the new feature with this version – Party Shuffle has been renamed to iTunes DJ and it seems more useful. Especially if you know people with iPhones or iPod touches.
The already brilliant Remote application for the iPod / iPhone has been upgraded so that guests and regular (enrolled users) can request songs and therefore change the playlist that is currently playing.
Think of it as a jukebox — people with iPhones or touches can request a song, or simply touch the heart symbol next to a song already on the playlist, indicating that they are voting for that song…
A song with 3 votes will be played before 2, for example. And songs are automatically selected if none are voted for (from a playlist you select or your whole library).
Enrolled users i.e. your iPhone / iPod can edit and rearrange the playlist completely — just as with any other playlist or if you were at your computer doing it, but guests can only suggest songs and vote, they can’t change which speakers it’s playing out (with Airport Express(es) / Apple TV) or change the volume.
As a guest there is one feature that seems unavailable to the enrolled users – You can touch the ‘i’ arrow in the top right and be shown songs that are similar based on iTunes Genius which you can then vote for, if you should so wish. Click the picture on the left to see.
It’s pretty cool. Especially when your music is playing out through multiple speakers using Airport Expresses.
I can’t say I’ve noticed anything else that is different, though genius now works for movies and tv shows, apparently.