Apple adds Notification Center widget, enhances syncing performance in iTunes 12.1 update

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Apple on Thursday released iTunes 12.1, an update to its venerable media organization and synchronization app that brings a new OS X Notification Center control widget and fixes performance issues during syncing.

The new widget replicates some of the functionality of iTunes's MiniPlayer, including the ability to play, pause, scrub, and skip tracks. Users can also purchase songs directly from the widget —  clicking the button that displays that track's price will prompt the user to authenticate with iTunes.

Other MiniPlayer features, including volume adjustment, library search, or track listings are not available in the widget. The widget also does not show cover art.

The new iTunes Notification Center widget.

Apple also promises improved performance when syncing music or data to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. There is no word on whether those improvements apply to tethered or Wi-Fi syncing, or both.

iTunes 12.1 is available now as an update in the Mac App Store. The widget can be enabled following the update by opening Notification Center and clicking the Edit button at the bottom.