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Review: iTunes Wifi Store

itunes_logo.pngI just updated my iPhone with the latest firmware that adds the wi-fi store functionality. Its not often that I require the need to purchase a song on the spot but I can imagine several instances where it can be useful. For instance when I was on vacation last week, a friend of mine played a bunch of new music that I really liked. I didn’t bring my laptop with me and really wanted to get some of those tunes for the rest of my trip. The wifi store would have been a perfect solution.


Featured Releases and Charts
You access the store via a new icon on your main menu screen. The first page you see is Featured New Releases which shows a combination of small promotional banners in addition to selected albums. You can also access What’s Hot and Genre Features as well.

There is another tab for Top 10s where you can view the top albums and songs across the iTunes service. At the bottom of each list there is a link to view 10 more items. When you tap it, the iPhone loads the next 10 items below the previous 10 so you never need to use a back button - a very nice use of “progressive disclosure”.

Finding Music
You can search for songs by typing in what you are looking for. Like iTunes, the wifi store thankfully utilizes live search so as you type you are provided with matching keywords. The more you type, the more accurate the suggestions.

Viewing an artist will display 2 albums (with a link to view all albums) and 25 songs (with a link to view 25 more songs). Albums also show ratings as well as the number of reviews though you cant access reviews at this time. To listen to a song, simply tap the song name and you will hear a 30-second sample.

Purchase and Download
To purchase a song or album, you click the price and it changes to a buy now button. This is a nice feature because it greatly reduces the chance of accidentally purchasing a song. Click the buy now button and the item animates into the download tab in the bottom left. You are then asked to enter your account password. Songs download incredibly fast over a high speed connection.

While the full iTunes store offers much more in terms of exploring and discovering music, the wifi store is a very elegant and impressive implementation. Now the problem is how to control my purchasing impulses when waiting in (the ever expanding) places that have wifi access.

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