October 17, 2011, 2:26 PM — You can set your iPod nano's clock-like interface by it: When Apple ships a major update to iOS, you can bet that an updated version of iTunes is also on the menu. Such is the case with iOS 5 and its companion, iTunes 10.5. (As is Apple's custom, you need the latest version of iTunes to use a new iOS update.)
The basic features of iTunes 10 ( Macworld rated 3.5 out of 5 mice ) haven't changed at all. Media is organized just as it was before, iTunes contains the same hodgepodge of media tools and features, and Ping remains a weak social networking effort. Rather, what's most exciting about iTunes 10.5 is that--thanks to iCloud and wireless syncing of iOS devices--you should have to sit down in front of the application far less frequently.
Syncing sans wires
One reason that you may see iTunes less often is wireless sync, a feature of iOS 5 that allows you to sync your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad with iTunes 10.5 without the aid of wires--at least after the first time you sync your device. For this to work your device must be using iOS 5 and your Mac need only be running Mac OS X 10.5 or later--Lion isn't required.
In order to enable wireless syncing, you must first plug your iOS device into the computer you wish to sync with. You then select the device in iTunes' Source list, click the Summary tab, and then within the Options area enable iTunes' Sync With This iPhone/iPod/iPad Over Wi-Fi option. Click Apply and iTunes will sync with the connected device.
You can now unplug your device from your computer. Its name will remain in iTunes' Source list as if it were physically connected to your Mac. To sync it later, just tap Sync Now in the Wi-Fi Sync setting screen or select the device in iTunes' Source list, make any changes you like, and click Apply. The new content will be synced to the device wirelessly.
With iTunes Wi-Fi sync enabled, the device will also automatically sync when you plug it into a powered cable, provided that iTunes is up and running on the computer you're syncing with. Regrettably, Wi-Fi Sync doesn't have the power to auto-launch iTunes when you initiate syncing. One additional regret: You can't make changes to the content you're syncing from your iOS device. For example, if you want to sync a particular album or movie that wasn't synced before, you must do this from within iTunes.