Yesterday afternoon, Apple released an update to iTunes on the Mac and PC, bringing the version number to 9.1. The primary reason for the update was to get iTunes ready for the iPad, but there are a few minor changes that iPhone owners will notice.
First, there are some cosmetic changes to the Summary tab that appears when you connect your iPhone to iTunes. Here is a comparison. The Summary tab in 9.0 had the different regions in either white or gray:
The new Summary tab in iTunes 9.1 now has gray boxes around each region:
A minor cosmetic change, but I suppose that someone at Apple though it looked better this way. The only new feature on the Summary tab is the addition of the option "Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC" for the iPhone (and iPod touch), an option that used to only work with the iPod nano and Shuffle. If you have songs in iTunes at a very high bit rate to give you super high quality, you can choose to instead sync a 128 kbps version of the song to your iPhone to save some space on your iPhone.
Another minor change is that the tab at the top of the iPhone section of iTunes that used to say Applications now simply says Apps. The new short name for the tab makes sense because everyone calls them apps anyway, but additionally the shortening of that tab gave Apple room to add an additional tab called Books. Before iTunes 9.1, audio books were handled under the Music tab. Now, both audio books and the new iBooks that Apple will be selling for the iPad are placed under the new Books tab.
I also noticed a very minor change on the Apps tab that might be cosmetic but has the potential to add functionality. Previously, you could sort items by name, category or date by pressing a button. Now, you have those same choices in a pop-up list. This change makes it easier to add other sort fields in the future. (For example, perhaps there will be different ways to sort iPad versus iPhone apps? We'll find out this Saturday.) Here is the old way (on the left) and the new way under iTunes 9.1 (on the right):
If you use Genius Mixes (I don't), iTunes 9.1 now lets you rename, rearrange or remove those mixes. Additionally, seven security flaws on the Windows version of iTunes and one security flaw on some of the Mac versions of iTunes have been addressed, which is always nice.