On a Mac or pc, itunes is the software you use as a media manager and to access the iTunes Store. On your iPad, just like on an iPhone or iPod touch, the iTunes app is essentially a front-end to the iTunes Store, with the iPod and Videos apps handling music and video playback respectively. We rather like this separation of Functionality on the iPad. The desktop iTunes application, especially the Windows version, has a tendency to feel bloated as it has to do so much. By contrast, iTunes for iPad is a joy – sleek, efficient, and surprisingly tactile and a fun way to buy digital media.
There is, however, one odd quirk we’ve not noted elsewhere: in the ‘New and Noteworthy’ boxes, you might think you can access subsequent pages via a swipe, but you can’t – instead, you must tap the arrows to move the ‘carousel’ in the direction of your choosing.
The following guided tour shows what’s available in the iTunes app, and details how to search for, preview and download content. You will need an iTunes Store account for downloading to work.
If you don’t already have an account, you can create one in a Few minutes on your iPad by scrolling down to the bottom of any of the section pages, tapping ‘Sign In’, tapping ‘Create New Account’ in the pop-up dialog, and then adding the relevant info in the ‘New Account’ pop-up. It’s definitely worth the (extremely minor) effort.
An iTunes Store account
Time required: 10 mins
Account details Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the name and credit for the signed-in account. Switch accounts by tapping ‘Account’, signing out and signing in with other details.
Search for content You can browse iTunes by tapping on-screen content, but to quickly find something, use the search field (which provides matches that update as you type).
Preview music Tap an album to view its details, and tap tracks for previews. Below will be ratings and related recommendations. Tap outside the window to close it.
Check out recommendations Tap an ‘…Also Bought’ item and it pushes to the left what you were looking at, so you can preview the related item. Swipe it right to seethe original window.
Preview Videos Tap a video to see its details, and tap ‘preview’ to watch a snippet. Note: for TV series there may be a preview for each episode, as shown above. Tap a play icon to view.
Buy and download To buy something from iTunes, tap the relevant price button twice. A password dialog pop-up will appear. To go ahead, type in your password and tap ‘OK’.
Track downloads To check the progress of your downloads, tap ‘Downloads’ on the bottom toolbar. Downloads can be paused if you need bandwidth to access other content.
Play your Content For music the ‘Purchased’ toolbar button closes iTunes and opens the ‘Purchased’ playlist in the iPod app, giving easy access to your newly downloaded tunes.
iTunes for iPad is so elegant and inviting that it’s easy to get carried away and download a ton of content from the iTunes Store. But note that the iPad can play content from a number of sources (for example, digital music from the likes of Amazon and Play, and other vendors), so it certainly pays to shop around. You can also play music you’ve ripped from your CD collection using iTunes for Mac or Windows.