iTunes Store adds 'buy now, download later' option for video and music

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In March, I wrote an article about how Apple should change the way iTunes Store purchases work. Namely, that there should be a way to buy content now, but download it later—especially in the case of large video files such as movies or TV show seasons.

Lo and behold, on Friday Apple did just that, adding new download options for a variety of content, including movies, individual TV show episodes, TV Season Passes, and completed seasons. You get the same options for movie bundles, music box sets, and for when you choose to complete a TV season or Season Pass.

When purchasing any of the above items using iTunes 11 on a Mac or Windows PC, or an iOS device running iOS 6 or later, you’re now presented with Later and Download (or Download All) buttons. Tap Later and the purchased items will be added to your iTunes account and accessible to stream or download in the future via Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud feature. It’s a handy feature if you, say, want to buy a movie on sale while you have a spotty data connection; you can make sure to get the cheaper price, then download the item when you get home—or even just play it from the cloud.

Note that the new option is available to those who live in countries or regions where Apple supports iTunes in the Cloud for video and audio. You can check Apple’s complete list to see if you qualify.

Gratified as I am that my idea is now a reality, I know better than to imagine that someone at Apple read my story—or listened to the podcast we did on iTunes Store improvements—and thought, “great idea, let’s get on that!” But clearly I’m not the first person to think that the option to download media later would be a welcome addition to iTunes. And hey, If I nudged the process along a tad, I’ll take that as a win.

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At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Refreshed interface
    • Up Next offer a new way to queue up music
    • Improved MiniPlayer, iTunes Store integration
    • Simplified playlist creation


    • Sort options limited in different views, many view options are hidden or inconsistent
    • Searching very slow with large libraries
    • No artwork window or option to change the size of album art in Albums view
    • No option to open multiple windows
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