Apple has issued an update to iTunes, on the back of the new iPod shuffle launch, but the new software also offers improvements, as well as bug fixes.

The 65MB 8.1 update, that's available to download now, is said to be "faster and more responsive".

Apple promises users will see "noticeable improvements when working with large libraries, browsing the iTunes Store, preparing to sync with iPod or iPhone, and optimizing photos for syncing".

In addition, the update allows friends to request songs for iTunes DJ, adds Genius sidebar for movies and TV shows and provides AutoFill for manually managed iPods.

There's also said to be improved performance when downloading iTunes Plus songs and CDs can now be imported at the same sound quality as iTunes Plus.

Apple has also updated Front Row to provide improved iTunes 8.1 compatibility.