I noticed earlier in the week that José González has released a new album, but haven't had a chance to go check it out on iTunes or listen to samples. I'm glad I waited. Today's release of iPhone 1.1.1 gave me a chance to try out the new iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store (see "iPhone 1.1.1 Adds Features and Updates Security," 2007-09-07).
I'm happy to report that the store works as smooth and easy as you might expect; or rather, it probably exceeds some expectations because one normally doesn't expect something like this to work smoothly or easily.
The album did not appear on the Featured screen (despite being a new release), so I tapped Search, which brought up a blank page with an empty text field. Tapping on the field and typing J and O was all I needed to do: the application displayed a list of auto-completed options. I would love to see this type of Search added to the Contacts application in a future release.
Tapping a song loads a 30-second preview, with a clever icon that compactly indicates how much of the preview you've listened to so far and a button in the middle to stop playback. Ordering the album was intuitive: tap the price button, which turns into a Buy Now button, and then tap that. After supplying my iTunes account password, the songs began downloading. Better yet, the songs continued to download in the background even after the phone had put itself to sleep.
When I synced the iPhone to my Mac, iTunes created a new item under the Store heading, "Purchased on Jeff Carlson's iPhone." I'm now listening to the new album on my Mac, and I never swore during the process. Now I'll just have to wait for early October to roll around to convince me to check out the new Starbucks store that will automatically appear on the iPhone when I'm in one of the many many locations in Seattle. (But I'll get my espresso at Zoka, e.t.g., or the new Stumptown location, thank you very much.)