iTunes 11 – Updated Design & Commerce… but missing the Steve Job’s touch.

So I am an Apple fan. Took me a really long time to be convinced it was superior to others. The iPod started it and the iPhone finished it – both putting Apple on the map for Music and Mobile convergence and domination.

One of their secret weapons in their business is not just the device, but also the software. Unbeknownst to most, iTunes is likely to be the most profitable digital commerce store in the world. They currently generate something like $8 Billion in revenue from iTunes and are on track to generate $13 Billion next year.

Just this past week, Facebook announced they are going to sell iTunes Gift Cards off their platform – just to get a piece of that business.

So when Apple released their new update today, everyone judged it based on look and feel. Some noted that it’s darker. Bolder. Love how it color matches my album in the details view for the album. Yet it also seems to miss some of those special Steve Job touches. It appears they may have focused on key areas like how they we monetize iTunes in new ways… increase per-subscriber/customer revenue… sell more digital goods?

I think we can begin to see it in our playlists (store results showing us what we don’t have or own)… and other presentation techniques users are familiar with like coverflow within the store (like the App Store on the iPhone has today). But it’s still missing something. That will vary a little for each person, but nothing truely special about it. It just didn’t get my reaction when I went from Windows Media Player to using Zune and their store and player 4-5 years ago. Zune really made an impression. iTunes 11 – seems safe. Perhaps that’s how we can describe Apple from now on… safe!

I do have to say it looks more like my iPhone than the old iTunes. I am just left to wonder – what would Steve Jobs have done differently? I sure hope they keep asking those questions or I fear these small nuances that made Apple so special are not left out in an attempt to beat the old-apple.

Regardless, the new iTunes 11 pushes Apple forward. The question that remains is where it’s going. Time will tell where Tim Cook and the rest of the Apple team want to take us and if we’re all willing to follow.

Some new pictures of the look, feel and features.

Welcome to iTunes 11 by Apple.
New Album view in iTunes 11. Notice how it matches the main color of the album? Really Cool.
New iTunes 11 store – likely to drive new revenue as they tweak the store and optimize the results for each person.
iTunes 11 – new design and look and feel.