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Apple finally launches iTunes 11

Update 2:15 p.m. EST: Yep, it’s here and available to download in the Mac App Store. From what we’re able to gather from our initial use, iTunes 11 is faster, the design is cleaner, and it’s easier to browse music. There’s also a new preview history feature that lets you view content you’ve previewed on one device, like your iPad for example, on another device, like your MacBook, before you buy it. Apple has also updated the MiniPlayer (mentioned below), and the iTunes Store now has a uniform design across all devices. Stay tuned as we delve more into the new iTunes.

Original story posted at 12 p.m. EST

During the iPhone 5 announcement back in September, Apple unveiled a plethora of new products. Most of them, like the new iPod touch, iPod nano, and iPhone 5, have been available for quite some time now. However, we’ve yet to see one of the most anticipated products: iTunes 11.

Though the company originally said the new version of iTunes would be available in October, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, Eddy Cue, told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that it had been delayed because of engineering issues that required the developers at Apple to rebuild parts of the program.

The iTunes page says the updated version is coming in November, and, since there are only two days left in the month, it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing iTunes 11 very soon. If you ask the Wall Street Journal, we’ll most likely see it today.

When iTunes 11 failed to launch in October, Apple spokesperson, Tom Neumayr, told AllThingsD that the new iTunes was taking longer than expected. “We wanted to take a little extra time to get it right,” Neumayr said. “We look forward to releasing this new version of iTunes with its dramatically simpler and cleaner interface and seamless integration with iCloud before the end of November.”

After the company’s last major software snafu with Maps, resulting in the termination of Apple’s Maps manager, the company is likely being more cautious about its next big software release. However, there may be another reason for the delay. Talk of a Pandora-like radio service is a foot. But Apple has reportedly faced some difficulties from the music industry over licensing fees, which might be the reason for the delay in the release date.

The iTunes app has changed very little over the past few years. Apple has tried changing iTunes before. Most recently, it introduced a social media feature called Ping, which allowed iTunes users to interact with each other, share music, and follow artists. The project was a complete disaster and was shut down earlier this year.

However, the new version of the iconic music player, iTunes 11, has many of the changes fans were hoping for. Besides being more aesthetically pleasing, the new version will feature an album grid to sort music, which opens a gorgeous drop down menu with all the songs on the album (like an iOS folder). Another welcomed addition is improved iCloud functionality. Now, your iTunes purchases  will be pushed onto your iOS device, and vice versa, keeping your mobile iTunes and the computer version in sync at all times. Lastly, one of the main new additions is an updated MiniPlayer. Right now, the iTunes mini-player is low on functionality and style. In iTunes 11, the MiniPlayer will be able to search for songs, which saves users a lot of time, and also looks amazing.

Whether iTunes 11 will be released today, tomorrow, or next year still remains to be seen, but stay tuned. We’ll be updating you with more iTunes 11 news as it comes in.